What’s new in ISTQB 2012 Test Techniques?

07 March

It’s interesting to note that the section on specification-based test design techniques went from 2 pages in the 2007 ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst Syllabus to 9 pages in the 2012 Syllabus. The ISTQB have expanded on each of these techniques: Equivalence Partitioning (EP), Boundary Value Analysis (BVA), Decision Tables, Cause-Effect Graphing, State Transition Testing, Combinatorial Testing (pairwise testing, orthogonal array testing, classification trees), and Use Case Testing. There are more descriptions and explanations on what each technique is, what its limitations are, when to apply it, what coverage means and what kind of defects it would uncover in an easier-to-read format (at least, in my very humble opinion).

Moreover, the new-ish 2012 Syllabus explicitly mentions two additional specification-based techniques Domain Analysis and User Story Testing.

In my mind, I think of domain analysis as kind of like a multidimensional EP/BVA. There are many factors or variables that interact and one way to manage this combinatorial testing explosion is with the help of this technique. Combinatorial Testing Techniques such as pairwise testing or classification trees are good for factors which are not interacting or shouldn’t interact (and the bugs are in that they might) whereas domain analysis are for those where at least one factor will influence the options of another factor.

The syllabus mentions the terms ON/OFF values and IN/OUT values as domain test values. ON/OFF for on or off the domain boundary (which may be inside or outside the domain to make it more confusing) and IN/OUT for in or out of the domain. Boy, my head hurts thinking about all this!

On the other hand, User Story Testing provides tests based on user stories. A user story is often used in iterative or incremental development lifecycles (such as Agile) to describe a “high-level user or business requirement” in no more than a few sentences using “everyday or business language” (2012 ISTQB Glossary of Terms). As the user stories also contain acceptance criteria it is important to ensure each of these criteria are covered with the tests.

Similarly, the section on defect & experience-based test design techniques doubled from the 2007 Syllabus to the 2012 Syllabus for the Advanced Test Analyst. The techniques mentioned remain the same from one to another but their explanations have expanded to make for better understanding. I did notice, however, that there is no longer an explicit mention of software attacks in this section although it’s still much discussed in security testing for the Advanced Technical Test Analyst.


Posted by Donna Chin