A decision support framework for software test managers

  • Deane Robert Larkman

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Software is an indispensable part of our modern lifestyle. Users of software in business and society rely on software to support the tasks they need to, or want to achieve. Unfortunately, software fails, and the human and economic consequences can be devastating. High quality software can help minimise the consequences of software failures. Software testing is one way to improve software quality, and thereby provide high quality software. A comprehensive review of the literature has shown that, within the parameters of the boundary and focus of this research, support for test managers’ decision making in software testing is scarce. In particular, research addressing decision support for the software test manager is especially lacking in planning and risk management of successful software testing. This research investigates the need for a decision support framework for software test managers: with a focus on the planning and risk management done by software test managers for successful software testing. The research findings developed during this project are based on concepts, issues and ideas, grounded in evidence, reasons, and experience. The major contribution of this research is the development and application of a decision support framework. Software test managers can use the decision support framework in assisting them to plan and provide risk management for successful software testing. The research contribution falls into two parts. The first part is the design and development of a decision support framework, which is described and discussed. The components of the framework are detailed, and the topology of those components is illustrated graphically. The second part of the research contribution is the application of the decision support framework by software test managers, establishing a basis for risk management. Application of the decision support framework is a two-step procedure. The software test manager first assigns relevant input to the framework, and this input allows the test manager to use the framework to model their particular software testing situation, set in the context of their organisation. Next, the software test manager using one or more analytical techniques, developed from two different evaluation perspectives, evaluates the model built in the first application step. The analytical techniques are presented and their potential use by software test managers is illustrated. In summary, this research has produced a decision support framework, a practical and useful tool for the software test manager to plan for and manage the risk in successful software testing. It is envisaged that software test managers can apply the decision support framework to their specific organisational and software testing circumstances.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMasoud Mohammadian (Supervisor) & Muthukumar Balachandran (Supervisor)

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