Properties Of A Good Testing Taxonomy — Tentamen Software Testing Blog

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TL;DR

Now that we know who uses Taxonomies using this excellent paper: Bug Taxonomies: Use Them to Generate Better Tests [Vijayaraghavan, Kaner]. Let’s explore the properties of a good testing taxonomy. Many thanks to Marcel, who sublimed this great resource on his blog, That’s the buffet table.

Taxonomy Properties

Lough lists eighteen taxonomy properties:

Accepted

Taxonomy must be used by the software testing community.

Appropriateness

Aligned with the purpose. For example, a taxonomy for COVID contacts mobile application must be aligned with that application’s features

Based on the code, environment, or other technical details

Those are sources for test ideas.

Comprehensible

Written in such language that newbies in the Taxonomy domain could understand it.

Completeness

This is hard because of the infinitive number of inputs and outputs. Clearly state what taxonomy does not cover.

Determinism

All Taxonomy actions must have a cause

Exhaustive

In my opinion, this is redundant due to the completeness property

Internal versus external threats

Errors caused by application and application environment (hardware, software, other systems)

Mutually exclusive

Taxonomy categories must not overlap

Objectivity

Taxonomy must not be biased and must be clearly observable.

Primitive

Choices used to create Taxonomy categories must have simple yes/no answer.

Repeatable

Based on primitive choices, Taxonomy classification should be repeatable by another group

Similar errors classified similarly

Cluster similar errors in the same Taxonomy groups.

Specific

Should classify specific application domains, for example, Bluetooth protocol security

Terminology complying with established terminology

Well, in software testing, this is very hard. At least what you can do is to start with a paragraph that defines all used terminology.

Terms well defined

Still, some terms are well defined, so used those in your Taxonomy.

Unambiguous

Taxonomy items and categories must mean exactly one thing.

Useful

Create a taxonomy that has practical usage.

Remember

Taxonomy has properties that define its quality.

Originally published at https://blog.tentamen.eu on November 17, 2020.

Written by

Founder of Tentamen, software testing agency.

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