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Software Testing Industry Benchmarks

There is a bit of a discussion on “industry norms” on the yahoo based software testing group run by James Bach and Cem Kaner. It’s about the problems with trying to compare your company’s software testing against industry norms.
One of the comments made by James Bach was:

“But, nobody is studying industry norms except grad students in CS who
use badly designed surveys to poll non-randomly selected people who
then either make stuff up or simply don’t know the answers to the
questions on the survey. I’ve been polled that way four or five times.”

One Australian company that is trying to make some sort of benchmark is K J Ross & Associates. They’re asking for industry participation into a survey on software testing.

My thoughts on this are, that whilst it’s something to be applauded, in the end, people tend to use data to justify a decision than to be drive a decision. So what exactly is the benefit of such a survey?  I’d like to hear K J Ross’s  thoughts on this!

Do “industry norms”  have a place in business?  I’ve worked in enough large and bureaucratic organisations to know that some things just don’t get done without some data to backup a decision. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with this, I just use it to my benefit.

Perhaps this is just me, I’m not an evangelistic software tester, I don’t have a new way to software test, or a new technique to revolutionise the testing industry.

My goals a more basic, and perhaps I lack the vision and drive to see something like this change. I work with what I have, not with what I want to have.

I think that’s “good enough”.

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How low do you go?

A survey* sponsored by the Australian Computer Society, found the following percentage allocation for software testing:
5% allocate more than 40% of the initial development budget to testing

25% allocate between 10 -19% of the initial development budget to testing

25% allocate between 20 – 29% of the initial development budget to testing

14% allocate between 30 – 39% of the initial development budget to testing

12% allocate less than 10% of the initial development budget to testing

I’ll leave you to make up your own mind about these stats.

*A preliminary survey on software testing practices in Australia by S.P Ng, T. Murnane, K. Reed, D. Grant and T.Y Chen