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What is Pairwise Testing?

Pairwise testing is a practice where two team members are sitting together to test the software application on the same machine. The team members for pair testing can be a tester- developer, tester-tester, tester-business analyst.

The output of pair testing includes

  • Bug Reports
  • Test Strategies
  • Project Status

Pairwise Testing

Why Pairwise Testing

  • Errors are identified upfront and helps to reduce the software maintenance cost
  • A tester working alone may jump to incorrect conclusions
  • Reduces the number of tests to be performed
  • To test specific area of functionality
  • To execute technical tests such as data quality tests, performance test, etc.

Tips to perform pair testing

  • Focus on your testing areas like track down an elusive bug
  • At the end of an iteration test the new functionality
  • Prepare a "test-mission" by determining focus, scope and delimitations of the test
  • Decide the session length

Challenges in pair testing

  • Not easy to show management exactly what proportion of the tests have been performed
  • You can write bug reports only when the session is over, which usually become a tedious task

When pairwise testing fails

  • When you don't select the right values to test with
  • When highly probable combinations get too little attention
  • When you don't know the interdependencies between variables
  • When input values to the system under test are not discrete
  • To generate test ideas, especially between testers and developers, also to track down elusive defects
  • To reduce the duplication of effort in testing
  • A pair of experienced exploratory testers can detect important bugs more quickly


Pairwise testing reduces the number of tests to be performed and at the same time improves the quality of the software product.


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