Methods for risk-based testing

Methods for risk-based testing

Risk-based testing is a method that prioritizes the testing of software functions based on the risk of their failure and the impact of such failure on the user or system. By focusing on the riskiest areas, limited resources and time can be used efficiently.

In this post we share some common ways to conduct risk-based testing and some useful templates you can download.


Identification of risks: The first step is to identify the potential risks of the software. This can include bugs that are most likely to occur, areas of high complexity, new features, and features that have had many problems in the past. The risk may also include external factors such as integration with third-party systems.


  • Brainstorming – Bring together a cross-functional team, including developers, testers, business analysts, and users to brainstorm potential risks.
  • Checklists – Use predefined checklists based on previous projects, known failure types and industry standards to identify risks.
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) – Use this technique to analyze the causes of potential failures within the system.

Here’s a checklist to identify risks in software project and can be used as a starting point for risk assessments at the beginning of a project as well as for regular updating throughout the project life cycle.


Download checklist for risk identification in software testing


If you want all the templates mentioned in this article, you can fill in the form at the end and we will send the whole package to you.


Assessment and prioritization of risks: After the risks have been identified, they must be assessed and prioritized. This is usually done by assessing the probability of each risk occurring and the potential impact if the risk were to materialize. Common methods for this include the use of risk matrices where you cross-reference probability against impact.

  • Risk matrix – Create a risk matrix where you cross-reference the probability of each risk against its potential impact. This helps to visually prioritize the risks.
  • Pareto chart – Use this tool to identify and focus on the risks that will have the greatest impact on the project, often referred to as “the important few”.

We’ve prepared a Risk Matrix template, accessible via the form. By using a risk matrix, you can effectively visualize and manage risks in your project, which contributes to better decision-making and increased project success.


Download Template Risk Matrix


Test case creation: Test cases are developed to specifically target the highest priority risks. This ensures that the parts of the system that are most critical are thoroughly tested.

  • Usage scenarios: Develop test cases based on realistic usage scenarios that are likely to be affected by identified risks.
  • Risk-based test scripts: Write detailed test scripts that focus on exploring and verifying the areas where the highest risks exist.

We have two more templates that you can use. One with an example of what a detailed test script might look like and the other for writing user scenarios, also followed by a concrete example.


Download Template User Scenarios


Download Template Test Scripts


Test execution and follow-up: Once the tests are designed and prepared, they are carried out according to the priority set. During the testing phase, it is important to carefully document and track the results of the tests, especially when errors are found. This helps assess the level of risk during the course of the project.

  • Test management tools – Use tools like JIRA, TestRail or Zephyr to manage test cases, monitor execution and document results.
  • Automated testing tools – Use automation where appropriate, especially for testing high-risk areas and for regression testing.

Reassessment of risks: Risks should be reassessed regularly throughout the project life cycle. If new risks emerge or if changes to the project affect the original risk assessments, this may require a revision of the test plan and test priorities.

  • Regular review meetings – Have regular meetings to reassess and update risk assessments based on the test results and other project updates.
  • Feedback loops – Establish a mechanism for rapid feedback from testers to the project team to address and reassess risks continuously.

Reporting and decision-making: Finally, it is important to communicate the results of the testing and the remaining risks to all stakeholders. This allows management to make informed decisions about the software’s release, based on an acceptable level of risk.

  • Dashboards – Use dashboards to provide an overview of test status and remaining risks.
  • Detailed reports – Create detailed reports highlighting test results, identified risks and recommendations for next steps.

And yes, you guessed it, we have a template for you: a test report one. This will help you create a detailed report for test results, identified risks and recommendations. And make stakeholders quickly understand the status of the project and what actions should be taken. 


Download Template Detailed Test Report


Leveraging these methods and tools can significantly improve the quality and efficiency of risk-based testing, ensuring that resources are used where they have the greatest impact on reducing risk in your project and the greatest potential impact on project success and quality.



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