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'Good' Organisational Reasons for 'Bad' Software Testing: An Ethnographic Study of Testing in a Small Software Company

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In this paper we report on an ethnographic study of a small software house to discuss the practical work of software testing. Through use of two rich descriptions, we discuss that 'rigour' in systems integration testing necessarily has to be organisationally defined. Getting requirements 'right', defining 'good' test scenarios and ensuring 'proper' test coverage are activities that need to be pragmatically achieved taking account of organisational realities and constraints such as: the dynamics of customer relationships; using limited effort in an effective way; timing software releases; and creating a market. We discuss how these organisational realities shape (1) requirements testing; (2) test coverage; (3) test automation; and (4) test scenario design.