Project Management

The Risk-based Testing Strategy

Patti Gilchrist, PMP, is a Senior Technical Manager with more than 20 years of IT experience. Visit her website at

“If you don’t like testing your product, most likely your customers won’t like to test it either.”
– Anonymous

In principle, companies tend to agree that testing is a critical aspect of successful project delivery to ensure a quality outcome, product or service. In reality, there is quite a different practice in effect. Testing is generally the first activity to get cut out of the project plan as schedules slip. How often has this been true on projects that you have managed in your organization?

Andy Jordan, President of Roffensian Consulting, Inc. and a fellow colleague and author on, recently deliberated on this recurring project dilemma in his article “Preventing the Squeeze.”

Project managers are often caught in the middle of the whirlwind as they try to satisfy organizational demands to deliver faster, cheaper, etc. But at what cost? As project managers, we must step back and advise management and other key stakeholders as to the best approach to balance speed to market with quality.

In assessing what/how much to test, one critical question that you must ask of the business and management stakeholders, “What is your appetite for risk”? Or what happens if something goes wrong? Who are the recipients of this change? Are consumers of this solution/product internal and/or external? What …

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"If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes and the quitting time."

- Chinese Proverb