Impact Analysis in Software Testing

Impact Analysis in Software Testing

What is Impact Analysis? 

In software testing, impact analysis is a process to determine the positive and negative effects of a software change or a new release. The goal of any testing activity is to have a better understanding of the product being tested and its potential impact. To do so, one can write test cases for evaluation before conducting any tests.

Impact analysis is the step in software testing which deals with examining and analyzing the impact of an internal or external change and its consequences on the rest of the software system and the business goals it supports. The objective of impact analysis is to determine what effects a change will have on other parts of the software, including operations procedures, documentation, quality assurance, training needs, etc. Impact analysis is closely related to equivalence class partitioning combined with boundary value analysis.

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Why is impact change analysis is done?

Change Impact Analysis is done to better understand the impact of change on Organizational Goals, Values, Processes, Products, and Services that are related to the change. One of the most important aspects of change impact analysis is that it helps you avoid making changes that will actually harm what you are trying to improve.  Some people seem to think that if they can show that a change will help, then it is a good idea. That is not true at all.

If the proposed change is not going to hurt anything else, it might be a good idea. But if you do not understand how it will affect other things in your organization and in your industry, and especially in the world outside, then it might do more harm than good, even if it will help something.

The best example of this is making improvements in your product or service or process or business model. It rarely happens that a proposed improvement will actually make things worse—usually, the problem is that it won’t make enough difference to matter. But there are plenty of things you could do that would make things worse, and they often happen when people don’t bother doing impact analysis.

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What are impact analysis documents?

The Impact Analysis document is part of the Project Management documents which are used to carry out the project effectively. The document comes under the strategic planning level of management. It also helps to identify the risks associated with the project so that the team can evaluate them and take corrective actions if any negative impacts are noticed.

The importance of the Impact Analysis document is that it helps to assess the value of the project by helping to analyze the factors which are important for its success.

The impact analysis documents should include

  • Who will be impacted?
  • Where will people be impacted?
  • What impact will the project have?

Money to be brought in, energy saved, lives saved, health improved, a new way of thinking, a new product or idea introduced.

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How to write an Impact Analysis?

 The first thing that you should do is to determine the purpose of your analysis. The analysis will help you to understand whether the project has a positive impact on your organization or not. 

  • Analyze all project activities and objectives
  • Identify stakeholder’s view about impact analysis
  • Examine conflicts between stakeholders about feasibility analysis

You need to know how different stakeholders will be affected by your analysis before you can make an impact assessment. The stakeholders include individuals, groups, departments, or even upper management who may be able to influence your project in one way or another. You may be required to seek their approval or involvement during the execution of your project.

How to present Impact Influence Level

Impact analysis is a technique for writing persuasively about an idea. It is usually used in business plans, but it works for proposals of all kinds. The key to impact analysis is the “influence level” graph. The influence level graph shows how much influence various stakeholders have, and therefore what kind of interest they will have in your proposal. It is a way of visualizing who your audience really is.

Here is how to read an influence level graph: The vertical axis represents the power over the project of each stakeholder. The two extremes are “the customer can fire me at any time” (low power) and “I can kill the project if I don’t like it” (high power). The horizontal axis represents how much interest this stakeholder will have in your proposal; that is, how much attention they will pay to it and how seriously they will take it.

The first thing you do when you see an influence level graph looks for the customer. Who has high power and high interest? This person will be your advocate inside the organization, pushing for your project to be approved and funded. If there isn’t anyone like that, you need to make more persuasive arguments or find another project to work on.

Questions to be Addressed

A project manager usually has to evaluate the impact of planned activities on various aspects of organizational performance. 

The key to identifying what is important is to define the indicators, which are also called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One may define indicators for all functional areas of an organization, or for one or more selected areas.

The impact analysis process comprises three main steps:

  • Identify the impacts
  • Assess the relative importance of impacts
  • Evaluate the impact of alternatives

To perform Impact Analysis, one needs to prepare a scorecard showing all the indicators under consideration along with their relative weights or priorities. The scorecard can be prepared by listing all the indicators, along with the corresponding weights under consideration, on a single sheet of paper, say A4 size. The weights can be represented as percentages or decimals.

Best Practices for Impact Analysis

  • Pick the right metric to measure.
  • Figure out what is feasible.
  • Know how long things take to change intentionally.
  • Never make changes without it.
  • Make trends visible for your team.

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