Don't get trapped by reuse

I'm a big fan of reusing previous testing artifacts. If you have a test bed ready and available, I'm interested in taking a look at it if it can help me shave time off my project. However, don't let past testing artifacts trap you or bias you. Not only can they have the wrong focus, but they run the potential of slowing you down instead of speeding you up. If you have a lot of rework to do, or if you need to spend a lot of time disambiguating coverage, you might spend more time reviewing than you would have spent just starting from scratch.

Here are some things I look at when trying to determine if an existing test bed is a time sink:

  • There's no clear summary of what's included in the test bed.

  • No one on the team was around when the test bed was originally used. It's coverage is hearsay.

  • A preliminary review of the test bed shows that several different types of updates are required to make them useful (data elements, screen shots, endpoints, etc...).

  • 100% of the original test bed development and execution was done by an external provider and the artifacts were "turned over" at the end of the project.