A.14. Integrated Software

While not directly related to hardware testing, it bears mentioning that many components of your system will have integrated software, especially firmware or BIOS code that starts the system or guides its operation during use. This includes networking cards, video cards, modems, hard drives, CD-ROMs, and other items. I mention this because insufficient testing or unmanaged change in these software elements can seriously affect the reliability and functionality of the subsystem, which can ripple through to affect your system. It can also affect the interfaces that a subsystem presents to your system or other subsystems within your system. On one project, poor testing and a total lack of configuration management and change control practices resulted in the firmware on a modem causing all sorts of connection reliability issues for the system under test. When talking to hardware vendors about their testing, don't forget to ask about how they control the quality of their firmware. Even the most diligent and careful hardware engineers might not understand good software engineering practices, especially if the company is too small to have a dedicated software engineering team.

Get Managing the Testing Process: Practical Tools and Techniques for Managing Hardware and Software Testing now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.