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A Cost-Effective Approach to Testing
March/April 1991 (vol. 8 no. 2)
pp. 34-40

A method for assessing the differential risk of failure among a system's modules is proposed. The procedure has three components: external-risk assessment, module exposure, and module-failure likelihood. External-risk assessment is a consideration of the system's environment, almost independent of the software's details. To estimate module exposure, the model relates individual modules and their potential faults to the external-failure modes and their economic consequences by reverse-engineering the specifications and analyzing each module's expected use. To estimate failure likelihood, the method uses a reliability model. The method constitutes theoretical foundation for the cost-effective development of software that attempts to reduce the risk of failure. Managers can use the failure-risk estimates to better determine how much testing effort can be economically justified.

Index Terms:
differential risk; external-risk assessment; module exposure; module-failure likelihood; external-failure modes; economic consequences; reverse-engineering; specifications; reliability model; cost-effective development; failure-risk estimates; testing effort; program testing; system recovery; systems analysis
Citation:
Susan A. Sherer, "A Cost-Effective Approach to Testing," IEEE Software, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 34-40, March-April 1991, doi:10.1109/52.73747
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