August 2011 Monthly Meeting Summary

Cost Benefits Arguments for Automation and Coverage

The past decade has seen exciting changes in how we develop and test software. The need for reliability has grown enormously: The user base is expanding, technological advances put software into more mission-critical locations, software continues to grow in complexity, and software must be correct to be secure. These changes have led to massive investments by software companies in transitioning the test automation knowledge from research to practice. Test automation has made testing cheaper, but does not necessarily make testing more effective. The current wave of knowledge that is gaining momentum in moving from research to practice is the adoption of test criteria. Although test criteria to improve effectiveness have been known for decades, they have been lightly used in industry. Obstacles include technical complexity, lack of tool support, confusion about which criteria to use, and finally, concern about return on investment. Recent adoption of test criteria by several large companies have been very successful. Criteria not only makes testing more effective (finding more faults, earlier), but significantly cheaper because fewer tests are needed.

Presenter Bio:
Dr. Jeff Offutt is Professor at George Mason University, where he leads the graduate programs in Software Engineering, and visiting professor at the University of Skovde, Skovde Sweden and at Linkoping University, Linkoping Sweden. He has invented numerous test strategies, published over 130 refereed research papers, and is co-author of the textbook Introduction to Software Testing. He is editor-in-chief of Wiley's journal of Software Testing, Verification and Reliability and founded the IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification, and Validation. He has consulted with numerous companies on software testing, usability, and software intellectual property issues, and was a keynote speaker at the 2010 Google Test Automation Conference. Offutt is on the web at

Took place on: Wed. August 10 2011 6:30 PM

Attendance: 16

Meeting Notes:

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Northern Virginia Test Automation Interest Group