Test Challenge: On the first software testing team…

Here is a testing challenge, that Eusebiu Blindu and Nathalie Rooseboom de Vries van Delft motivated today. Let me know what you would do.

Consider yourself to be on the first software testing team back in 1958 at the Project Mercury, NASA. No one ever did something like this, though the activities might be around. How would you test this? Please provide your testing strategy, and approach.

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One thought on “Test Challenge: On the first software testing team…”

  1. The Mercury program had three main objectives with guidelines for them and several detailed requirements for the spacecraft (http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/mercury/mercury-overview.htm#objective)

    Example Objective :”Recover the man and the spacecraft safely”
    Example Guideline: “A progressive and logical test program would be conducted”;”Existing technology and off-the-shelf equipment should be used wherever practical.”
    Example Requirement: “The spacecraft design must satisfy the requirements for a water landing.”

    From the actual testing point of view, back in 1958 there wasn’t probably too many “fancy” names (or descriptions) for testing activities like: Unit Testing, Regression testing, UAT, Beta Testing etc. However it doesn’t mean that people where not doing these activities

    Test Strategy and Approach
    On the beginning we need to realize what information are available for the regression (eg. the details of previous missions) , what additional requirements we are able to test (eg. spacecraft designed for water landing) and what is not testable and we need to use logic or “indirect testing” (eg. capability of manually controlling spacecraft attitude).

    Once we defined above and verified what we were able to verify (or in parallel) I would try to go outside the literal meaning of requirement and try to focus on risks, combination of requirements and information we have gathered in “verification” phase. We can constantly ask the questions and look for the answers in order the prepare more tests : “what can go wrong ?” , “what is the worst possible thing that may happen ?”, “where is the biggest life risk for the pilots ?” , “what if…. ?”

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