Multidimensional Testing: A proven method to reduce the size of compatibility testing

Multidimensional Testing (MDT) provides an efficient, systematic approach for detecting a product’s hardware and software incompatibilities. Multi-dimensional Testing can reduce both product development times and test escapes. Potential software-application customers can apply the pass-fail testing concepts of MDT to determine if an application software package that they are considering purchasing will later have compatibility issues in their work environment.


Why use Multidimensional Testing?

Organizations often discover incompatibilities and failures in self-developed software and new hardware introductions. During development and pilot testing, a product might perform satisfactory; however, design problems might initially not be detected until the device experiences a variety of customer-usage situations. These problems can occur even though the development test organization meticulously followed their design test plan.

Businesses often recognize that there is a need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their software and hardware development process so that they can do more in less time and have fewer of the above described development-test-problem escapes. To address this need, development test teams would like to be able to identify all system incompatibilities so that any identified issues can be timely resolved before product-customer distribution. Product test organizations would need to assess the acceptability of this product-design-logic pass/fail response in addition to other product requirements; e.g., speed-of-performance measurement.

When following standard compatibility testing, organizations might list all the potential incompatibilities and then test each one against the new software or hardware. This is called one-at-a-time testing. This testing approach might look good in theory, but can miss the evaluation of compatibility situations that later cause significant customer issues.

With computer software and hardware testing, often combinational issues of factor levels cause logic pass/fail failures. For example, one state of a factor may not work when exercised in unison with particular state conditions of two other factors; e.g., a certain state level of three factors causes a software failure.


Example of how it is used

Smarter Solutions’ Multidimensional Testing (MDT) provides a methodology that can significantly reduce or even eliminate compatibility escapes from a product-development process. This tool blends traditional statistical design of experiments techniques with unique aspects of compatibility testing. The compatibility testing results are called "logic pass-fail" data. For this form of testing, hardware and software setting combinations are evaluated to determine if their function is satisfactory.

  • Example 1: Evaluating a new mobile phone handset
  • Example 2: Evaluating a new pc for compatibility with current hardware and networks



Multidimensional testing can be used to create test designs for any number of factors and levels considerations or assesses the test-coverage effectiveness of current test-case plans. The generated test cases can have a scripting so that those familiar with the product can readily understand or execute each test case scenario.

Multi-dimensional testing provides a platform for not only building upon team knowledge for test design creation but also offers a hierarchical testing methodology so that software/hardware problems can be detected and resolved early in the overall development cycle, as opposed to early-development-cycle-time issues being first detected in the product’s final verification test. Inputs and outputs are in a form that is easy for developers to understand.


Additional Resources

Additional information about MDT and its application is available through the following:

  • "Pass/Fail Functional Testing and Associated Test Coverage", Forrest W. Breyfogle III, Quality Engineering, October 1991.
  • Implementing Six Sigma, 2nd edition, Forrest W. Breyfogle III, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, 2003.
  • Free Multi-dimensional testing webinar for viewing


Obtaining and use of MDT

MDT is made available as part of a one-day workshop on the subject. The application instruction for this individual-perpetual-licensed software can be held on-site or remote. Along with a user guide, the training instruction for a class size of 10-20 will address specific application situations. Two post-workshop coaching sessions are included in the investment cost of $700 per individual.


Schedule a demo today!

An on-line meeting can be set up to demonstrate if Multi-dimensional Testing is a good fit to address specific organizational needs.