Software testing according to the Pareto principle

With test automation is the Main focus Software testing according to the Pareto principle

Tests of the bottle neck of the Software deployment form. Most outstaffing companies test either too much, too little, or not the Right, with expensive consequences. Target the Pareto should cover his principle: 20 percent of the effort of 80 percent of the business risks.


In Software Testing, there are still a lot of optimization potential, with 20 percent of the expense to 80 percent of the risk to be covered.

Efficient software testing are vital to the success of the business. Companies need to be able to bring new Services to market quickly. At the same time you may not make any mistakes, because no one can afford to have disgruntled customers.

In the application of development of the slope to the Übervorsicht, therefore, often Prefer to test too much, as one is likely to overlook an error. In order to relieve internal staff, have outsourced many companies are Testing to an external service provider. The Problem is: Most of the supplier will be paid according to how many Tests he defined and automated.

Often, companies get more Tests than they actually need, and pay for something that brings only limited business Use. Not much helps much if the Tests check always the same.

Too little is also not a solution

The inverse Problem is usually when there are Updates such as SAP or Salesforce. Here, companies are testing the little, before installing new Releases into production. To examine Changes in application packages caused high manual effort.

Often, a test phase, therefore, first, with the main users. But they already have a little bit of time and perceive the Test as a nuisance. Many of the check according to their own statements, therefore, only cases that are, in all likelihood.

SAP operations team, to take this in and, therefore, after the Go-Live of an update routine called Hyper care Phase. That is to say, the developers and project staff will be ready to fix any urgent problems immediately as they arise in the production.

The binds but valuable resources and is also time-consuming and expensive, because a Hyper care Phase can take up to three months. Nevertheless, more than 90 percent of the SAP-keep track of customer companies, this launch strategy. In the future, which is even more costly, because SAP has announced that Updates much more frequently than ever before to deliver.

The Pareto Principle

Too much to test too little, is at the end of expensive and does not cover the actual needs. The aim should rather be to focus at the right time exactly on the Right. So expenses can reduce and at the same time minimizing risks. Here, the Pareto principle applies, the so-called 80/20 rule.

In General, it should be understood that 20 percent of the effort to create 80 percent of the value. Transferred to the Software development 20 percent of the transactions, i.e. 80% of the business value. Consequently, Tests for 20 percent of the requirements can cover 80 percent of the business risk,

Tests on the risks to vote

For application development that means that Instead of as much as possible, and to test is always the same, should focus on the Tester to the most important business risks. In practice, this rarely succeeds. Since most of the Teams work intuitively, this is only a risk cover of 40 percent and to collect at the end of a bloated Suite, which has a high degree of redundancy.

On average, 67 percent of the Tests do not contribute to the risk cover, from brakes, but the Performance of the test Suite and make it difficult for their maintenance. To make Testing faster, more efficient and more effective, must Tester to know the relationships between application functionality and business risks. As a result, what really needs to be tested.

Then, it comes to define, how you can test this as efficiently as possible. A single, strategically-designed Test can reach more and more to cover risks than ten intuitive, which were developed for the same request. Here is the “Test Case Design”methodology comes into play.

With an effective strategy, such as the linear Expansion Tester can examine the highest-risk requirements in the most efficient way. The strategy leads to the smallest possible number of Tests that are needed to the most important risks, and to ensure that the Team knows when a failed Test exactly which application has functionality to examine it.

The effects of Changes analyze

In the Test of SAP Updates the Pareto is principle also apply. As in the application development, the following applies: You have the Right test and as efficiently as possible. This is achieved by companies first identify automated, where the Code has changed, and then analyze what are the business and technical risks to bring the Changes.

So can focus the Tester on the main risks and target-oriented approach. You know exactly what Tests you need, and see which new or existing Tests should be frequently changing Hotspots and therefore, automated cover. Also, you know, what is the Code you need to test.

In the case of large application packages, it is possible, however, that Changes in a specific, Central component, have an impact on many objects. All of them are displayed in the analysis as “affected”. In order to reduce the test volume, it is recommended to focus on the most vulnerable objects.

In practice, it has been shown that companies that use an automated Change Impact analysis, were able to reduce the test cost by 85 per cent or more of the Test – and Hyper care phase to two-thirds shorten left.

Data-in don’t forget to Test

However, there is yet another site: companies also need to test the data, the applications are based. Because even if all of the components of a system functioning on the first glance, as expected, you are, without the right data worthless. A Software Update will, for example, a subtle Change in the data formats, so a 100,000 sets of data is not processed properly, it can cause significant interference.

Modern applications consume, integrate, and transform huge amounts of data. A way to test the integrity of the data in a standardized, automated “Quality Gates”. Check the data continuously, if you flow in the application and again. So companies can find and fix problems right away before they impact the business, and a massive effort of manual data verification and repair cause.


No one today has to give more something. Especially in times of shortage of skilled labour and globalisation, it is essential to keep well with the available resources. When Testing, there is still a lot of potential for optimization. To test, neither much nor too little, it is important Tests strategically to address and that is exactly the business risks. This applies to both in-house developments, as well as for Updates of SAP application packages.

If it is possible to test the Proper as efficiently as possible, the Pareto principle apply: You can reach 20 percent of the expense to 80 percent risk cover. Specialized provider of solutions for test automation can provide valuable assistance.

* Wolfgang space is Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Tricentis.


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