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Decision Making and Visualizations Based on Test Results


Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, 12th International Symposium on


Background: Testing is one of the main methods for quality assurance in the development of embedded software, as well as in software engineering in general. Consequently, test results (and how they are reported and visualized) may substantially influence business decisions in software-intensive organizations.Aims: This case study examines the role of test results from automated nightly software testing and the visualizations for decision making they enable at an embedded systems company in Sweden. In particular, we want to identify the use of the visualizations for supporting decisions from three aspects: in daily work, at feature branch merge, and at release time.Method: We conducted an embedded case study with multiple units of analysis by conducting interviews, questionnaires, using archival data and participant observations.Results: Several visualizations and reports built on top of the test results database are utilized in supporting daily work, merging a feature branch to the master and at release time. Some important visualizations are: lists of failing test cases, easy access to log files, and heatmap trend plots. The industrial practitioners perceived the visualizations and reporting as valuable, however they also mentioned several areas of improvement such as better ways of visualizing test coverage in a functional area as well as better navigation between different views.Conclusions: We conclude that visualizations of test results are a vital decision making tool for a variety of roles and tasks in embedded software development, however the visualizations need to be continuously improved to keep their value for its stakeholders.


author = {Per Erik Strandberg and Wasif Afzal and Daniel Sundmark},
title = {Decision Making and Visualizations Based on Test Results},
month = {October},
year = {2018},
booktitle = {Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, 12th International Symposium on},
url = {}