The Cost of Testing

Why should we calculate the costs of tests?

Tests, like live software, have costs associated with them. These costs are evident in a variety of factors:

  • development time, to author the test
  • development time, to maintain the test
  • hardware, to run the test

For example, let's look a test that takes 10 minutes of dev time to author, with an estimated 2 minutes / month to maintain, and requires roughly 10 seconds of cpu time a month to execute after every build. This would put a cost of:

  • (10 / 60) * $50 = $8.33 initial
  • (2 / 60) * $50 = $1.67 per month residual costs

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