Test Automation Tool Taxonomy for Agile Testing

Bogdan Bereza-Jarocinski takes a close look at test tool taxonomy with his in-depth analysis of the diverse options available to testers.

In  order to make the right choices among tools, you must be able to classify them. Otherwise, any choice would be at best haphazard. Without functioning classification, you would not be able to understand new tools fast, nor come up with ideas of using, or creating new tools.

Taxonomy is a systematic description of tool features and therefore requires proper understanding of those features. Chaotic taxonomy means you do not really grasp the technology, or usage of such tools.

Existing Taxonomies

Software testing lacks standards, and software test automation lacks them almost completely.

  • The section on testing tools in software testing chapter of Wikipedia1 is very confusing–to say the least.
  • ISO/IEC 29119 software testing standard2 is under development and far from complete.
  • Software process standards such as TMMi3 or TPI4 state their tool taxonomy only indirectly–by stating vaguely what types of test tools are required for various maturity levels.
  • Maturity Model for Automated Software Testing (MMAST)5 sounds promising, but is far from satisfactory, and almost totally unknown in software industry.

Last but not least, the most world-known de facto standard is ISTQB: International Software Testing Qualifications Board.6 Its syllabi do offer a relatively comprehensive test tools classification, but it is long from sufficient to be useful in practice.

The categories used there: test management, test execution, debugging and troubleshooting, fault seeding, simulation, static and dynamic analysis, keyword-driven test, performance testing and Web tools7 is more a mishmash of names belonging to different worlds (e.g. is keyword-driven tool something different than test execution tool?) rather than a useful taxonomy…

Read more in LogiGear Magazine

Bogdan Bereza-Jarocinski
A trainer, quality specialist and owner of VictO (2004), Bereza-Jarocinski co-founded Swedish SAST (1995), Polish SJSI (2003), and Polish SPIN (2006). He is also founder and secretary general of ADPQB (2008).
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