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Risk Based Testing in Agile: What You Need to Know

5 Apr
5 Min
Software Testing

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    While testing a software, accessing risk is an important way for evaluating critical business requirements being fulfilled as intended. Risk based testing plays a key role as an organizational principle to test features and functions on a priority basis.

    These functions are tested on the basis of importance for their likelihood of failure or their impact on some other function that could potentially fail based on the previously tested function or feature.

    Risk based testing is usually conducted across all phases of testing such as while planning tests, implementing those specific tests, executing tests , and while evaluating tests. It aims to find the areas which may have defects.

    This blog will help you understand how risk-based testing is unique and impactful in enhancing your Quality Assurance (QA) process. From the testing approach to tools and strategies, this complete guide will help you learn about Risk-based testing.

    Table of Content
    1. What is Risk Based Testing?
    2. Advantages of Conducting Risk Based Testing in Agile
    3. 9 Steps to Risk-Based Testing
    4. QAble’s Suggestion on Selecting the Best Tools for Testing
    5. FAQs

    What is Risk Based Testing?

    Software testing involves testing every aspect and feature of a product. However, it is not the same when it comes to the risk-based testing approach.

    The task of risk testing is mainly based on the risk probability. It means, testing those functions and features which may have a severe impact or are more likely to have defects that may lead to risks and issues in security and performance.

    • It starts at the beginning of the testing cycle to guide the future steps of testing specification, planning, and execution.
    • It involves measuring the testing impact in identifying and removing errors and bugs in critical areas.
    • This approach optimizes the utilization of testing resources to concentrate on high-risk areas.

    Also Read: How to Optimize Game Performance for Mobile Devices?

    Advantages of Conducting Risk Based Testing in Agile

    Performing risk-based testing in agile has significant advantages. Let’s have a look at them.

    • Structured Testing- It provides the structure needed to organize test approaches in every development project. Organization of tests based on the frequency of the defects can very well help to identify focus areas and prioritize them accordingly.
    • Better Adaptability- It allows the testing team to quickly adapt to the changes by adjusting their testing efforts to the evolving risks.
    • Focus on User Satisfaction- Risk-based testing emphasizes finding higher risks having a direct impact on users. It improves business performance and helps gain positive feedback.
    • Business Alignment- Risk-based testing when conducted using organization principle helps aligning and meeting the business goals. It makes sure that the critical areas are tested well.
    • Continuous Improvement- Identifying weak points in the early stages enables teams to make continuous product improvements and also learn from each iteration.

    9 Steps to Risk-Based Testing

    The task of risk based testing with agile methodology involves implementing a well-structured and systematic approach. Here are the steps that will set you on the right path.


    Step #1 Risk Identification

    The first step is to assess and understand the risks in the software. Carefully analyze the test requirements, test design, and its impact on the users.

    • Risk register is a great way that can be utilized to lay out the information of potential risks and the related details in a spreadsheet. It acts as a central place containing relevant information in an organized format.
    • The areas that are most likely at risk when broken down in smaller parts can help identify the areas that are inclined most toward risks. This leads to a better risk-evaluation.
    • Also consider external factors such as regulatory requirements, technological changes, and market conditions.

    Step #2 Risk Analysis

    Evaluate the identified risks based on their occurrence probability and impact on the software. Let’s look at the essential tips for risk analysis.

    • Accounting for various factors like schedule, quality, and costs is very important while analyzing the potential outcomes of every risk.
    • Proper planning of the response steps is important to cover different risk scenarios
    • The acceptable risks levels should be properly identified without affecting the key project objectives.
    • Document every aspect including risk assessment, risk register, and risks management approach.

    Step #3 Testing Objectives

    Define clear testing objectives aligned with the prioritized risks. It is essential to determine which aspects of the software require extensive testing to identify risks efficiently.

    • Clearly define the specific objectives and goals for testing projects.
    • Make use of quality metrices that can be measured and tracked for better evaluation of the success of the testing process.
    • Include testing objectives related to software testing such as access controls and data protection.
    • If the software has undergone any changes, define the objectives for regression testing to ensure that existing functionality remains intact.

    Step #4 Test Strategy

    Outline the approach for risk-based testing including its scope, goals, and intended audience.

    • Select the testing types you will perform, including non-functional testing, functional testing, regression testing, security testing, and usability testing.
    • Define clear guidelines for initiating and terminating the testing (entry and exit criteria).
    • Develop a testing schedule with timeframes and major milestones for each phase.
    • Pick the testing frameworks and tools you will employ for performance testing, automation testing, and other techniques.
    • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the improvement in risk-based testing.

    Step #5 Test Planning

    Define the testing scope and ensure that the test plan is aligned with the project goals and requirements.

    • Set the testing scope and verify that the test plan is in line with the project goals and demands.
    • The resources that may be required while performing risk-based testing much be properly selected. These includes the testing tools, expert testers to handle these specific tests, and the testing scenarios to be considered or covered.
    • Carefully plan out the deliverables such as test reports, test data, and test scripts.
    • The steps for executing tests much also be planned out well as per the phases of execution.
    • Recap the lessons learned from the testing actions which must be stored for process advancement.

    Step #6 Test Execution

    Text execution is a crucial step in risk-based testing to verify that the test environment is properly configured and ready for testing.

    • It’s very important to include extreme situations and test edge values to make sure that the software behaves as expected at the edge of its defined scope.
    • Also, record the complete testing processes in detail like steps, any changes or differences from the expected results, and actual outputs that we are getting.
    • The key test metrics are also equally important to analyze. Some of them include test coverage, defect density, and defect duration. This helps to keep a check on the testing quality.

    Step #7 Managing Defects

    Document the defects found during testing. Prioritize the defects based on the impact on the software and address high-priority defects.

    • The defects must be organized on the basis of priority and severity to conduct risk-based testing.
    • Project management and defect tracking tools like JIRA and Confluence or similar ones should be used to assign and resolve defects throughout the SDLC.
    • The defects, once resolved should be verified and the status for the defects or issues should be updated with comments for better clarity.
    • Once the defects are fixed, they must be checked thoroughly to make sure that the testing was performed in the suitable way and the defects are managed as intended.

    Also Read: Why is Documentation important in QA? Creating Clear and Comprehensive Test Plans

    Step #8 Test Control and Monitoring

    Make crucial adjustments by continuously monitoring test progress and evaluating the effectiveness of the risk-based testing approach.

    • Follow the test execution status, including the number of tests finished, passed, failed, or pending.
    • Quality gates must be properly defined or set to determine if the software is ready to move into the next phase of the SDLC. It helps to maintain the quality of software and make sure that the issues or defects are not propagated to next phases of the development lifecycle.
    • The stakeholders or the product owners must be kept in the loop and relevant data should be made available to them. This helps the stakeholders to make important decisions to meet their business goals properly.

    Step #9 Test Improvement

    Gather the crucial insights and feedback from testing activities to learn from failures and successes for test improvement.

    • Examine the testing process to spot the testing areas for advancement and optimization.
    • Find ways to automate your tests to enhance testing scope and pace.
    • Merge risk-based testing to focus testing efforts on important areas.
    • Develop a continuous feedback loop with stakeholders to confirm alignment with business objectives and expectations.


    Utilizing the above steps to perform risk-based testing can make the testing process more elaborate and can help ensuring a quality product while developing and testing products with agile methodology.

    The integration of risk-based testing covers the potential risk areas and their prompt solutions through proper testing can prove very beneficial for both the product owners and the end users.

    QAble’s Suggestion on Selecting the Best Tools for Testing

    One of the key aspects of risk-based testing is early engagement. That’s why QAble’s testing experts are involved from the beginning of the Software Development Life Cycle.

    Thus, we at QAble go beyond the traditional approach. We are the leading software testing company in India and our focus is to make a positive impact on your software quality and performance through our QA testing services.

    Therefore, we have listed some essential tools to conduct risk-based testing in agile development.

    • PractiTest- It is a user-friendly test management tool offering integration with various development and testing tools.
    • TestRail- TestRail is a test management tool to organize test cases based on risk and priority with easy customization.
    • JIRA- It is a popular project tracking tool that allows seamless customization to manage risks and defects.
    • TestLink- It is an open-source test management tool that allows QA professionals to prioritize and execute test cases based on risk factors.
    • qTest- It is a test management platform that allows efficient planning of risk-based testing.

    Also Read: How to Ace QA Testing for New Projects: Best Practices

    However, before selecting a particular tool, we always consider the needs, integration requirements, and budget for every software test. QAble stands by your side guiding you through the intricate landscape of risk-based testing and achieving incredible testing excellence.

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    Written by Nishil Patel

    CEO & Founder

    Nishil is a successful serial entrepreneur. He has more than a decade of experience in the software industry. He advocates for a culture of excellence in every software product.


    What are the key benefits of risk-based testing?

    Risk-based testing helps in providing a structural way of testing, better adaptability, enhancing user satisfaction, better alignment of unique business requirements, and continuous improvement, thereby ensuring a quality product.

    Why is risk-based testing important?

    Risk based testing helps to make sure that the most vulnerable risk areas of an ongoing project are a top priority. By mitigating these risks at the earliest, the project can be enhanced to deliver a quality and performant end product.

    Is risk-based testing suitable for every software project?

    Risk based testing can be applied to most of the software products. The size of the project does not matter while applying it since it can be adapted easily to any project or product.

    How to determine risk priorities in risk-based testing?

    Risk priorities are determined by assessing the probability of occurrence and potential impact of risks on the software.

    What is risk based approach in testing?

    Risk-based testing (RBT) prioritizes testing based on potential risks. Imagine focusing on the most vulnerable crops in a field, not weeding them all equally. RBT involves identifying risks, assessing their impact, and prioritizing tests on areas with the highest risk score. This helps you allocate resources efficiently, focus on critical features, and reduce the risk of product defects, ultimately delivering a more reliable software.

    What is the risk based approach in agile?

    The risk-based approach in agile is like constantly checking the weather (risks) while on a journey and adapting your route (mitigation) based on the latest forecast (changing priorities). It involves identifying risks early, re-assessing them throughout the project, and adapting mitigation strategies accordingly. This ensures efficient resource allocation, faster feedback, and ultimately, a higher quality software product.

    What is the primary purpose of risk-based testing?

    The core purpose of risk-based testing is to optimize testing, prioritizing areas with the highest potential for issues. Like focusing on preventing major fires, it helps reduce unnecessary testing, identify and mitigate problems early, and ultimately deliver a more robust and reliable product by maximizing the efficiency of your testing efforts.

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