What is “back-to-back testing?”

Testing is an empirical school of thought. The term “back-to-back” testing is not just an interesting concept but a rigorous method for uncovering discrepancies in the implementation of software and systems.

Maintaining a healthy skepticism of your test cases may appear awkward. In an ISO 26262-compliant environment, it is crucial not to trust oneself blindly. Whether a test case is automated or manual, it can still deliver incorrect results. Errors in programming, compiler flaws due to aggressive optimization strategies, or human error can introduce critical risks. “Back-to-back testing” is a methodology designed to reduce these risks by employing different technologies to run the same test. For instance, one might use a regular test specification with a compiled test case for one iteration of testing. In another iteration, a simulation might verify the exact requirement—or set of requirements, or even a “feature.”

The exact origins of the term “back-to-back testing” are unknown. It emerged from the collective practices of the engineering community. Although the term might initially seem confusing, one can understand the concept through a simple analogy: imagine comparing the height of two persons to see if they are the same height. The picture in this article serves as a “visual” for this testing principle.

Now that you know what back-to-back testing is, the concept is fairly intuitive.

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I am a project manager (Project Manager Professional, PMP), a Project Coach, a management consultant, and a book author. I have worked in the software industry since 1992 and as a manager consultant since 1998. Please visit my United Mentors home page for more details. Contact me on LinkedIn for direct feedback on my articles.