In order to be a successful in estimating, the software test project and proper execution are significant as the software development life cycle. Software testing estimation techniques play a very important role in making the good reputation with the client while bidding the project for testing.
Each developed software application is unique in its own domain, and it is inconceivable to estimate software accurately at first attempt. Even if the scope is understood and requirements are clear, it is still arduous to estimate a complex system that is going to be built with the finite requirements.
One of the most important factors while estimating testing efforts is the experience on varied projects for the software test life cycle. Apparently one cannot just put some number of days for any task or taking the old time formula of one third of the development effort. This is one of the most widely used estimation technique by the companies offering software testing services. It is merely due to the fact that this method is not based on any scientific principle or technique. Unfortunately the development versus testing effort method has given many failures in the software projects, thereby compromising the efforts on quality.
In the recent years there were many techniques that have been developed for estimating the software testing. These techniques are: 3-Point Software Testing Estimation Technique, Use-Case Point Method and Wide Band Delphi Method.
3-Point Software Testing Estimation Technique is based on statistical methods in which each testing task is broken down into sub tasks and then three types on estimation are done on each tasks.
The formula used by this technique is:
Test Estimate = P + (4*N) + E / 6
Standard deviation for the technique is calculated as,
Use-Case Point Method is based on the use cases where we calculate the unadjusted actor weights and unadjusted use case weights to determine the software testing estimation.
The formula used for this technique is:
In Wideband Delphi Method, work breakdown structure is decomposed for each task and is distributed to a team comprising of 3-7 members for re-estimating the task. The final estimate is the result of the summarized estimates based on the team consensus. This method speaks more on experience rather than any statistical formula. This method was popularized by Barry Boehm to emphasize on the group iteration to reach to a consensus where the team visualized on the different aspects of the problems while estimating the test effort.
For any software testing estimation technique, it is highly recommended that following factors should be taken into account:
However the techniques just provide the means for estimating but rely heavily on the team productivity variations, individual skills, complexity of the unknown factors like system environment and downtime.
Article author - M. Jha
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