4.1 Giving and Getting: Opportunity Costs and Test Management
For every ten tests that we perform, we don't perform a thousand other tests. For everything we know, there is a lot more we don't know. Every choice we make to do something means choosing not to do others. These opportunity costs, the roads not taken, are everywhere in software. It's time to make those costs explicit.
4.2 What Is Opportunity Cost?
If a teenager decides to go to summer camp, and the camp costs a hundred dollars, that means the explicit cost is a hundred dollars. However, if he had the option of staying home and earning two hundred more, there is a hidden cost-an opportunity cost-of two hundred more dollars to attend the camp. In other words, the opportunity cost of something is the benefit we would have gotten if we'd chosen to do something else.
A testing example: We have a release in one day and a number of tests we'd like to run. We can choose only one of the following:
A. Run a small throughput test to confirm that performance hasn't degraded
B. Run a quick load test to see how many users we can handle before our system falls over ... Click here to continue.