Every piece of software ships with some defects in it, but major gaps in your testing coverage can be disastrous, and they can occur for a variety of reasons. Part of the problem with a typical root-cause analysis is that it comes after the fact. Perhaps the customer has complained, there’s been a big outage, or the software quality simply isn’t where it should be. But reactive firefighting like this isn’t the most effective use of your resources.

What if you could identify those gaps earlier in the testing process and dynamically shift strategy to close them before they cause major issues?

The best possible start
Lack of domain knowledge and an incomplete understanding of the purpose and intent of a piece of software is enemy No. 1. There are two ways you might consider mitigating this risk in order to get a good start:

Automated testing: Identify critical core functions and automate mundane repetitive tests in order to free up your testers to leverage their experience and domain knowledge to break the system.

Exploratory testing: Context-driven testing encourages critical thinking and collaboration. Testers have to understand what the application is trying to do, learn about the intent, and direct their efforts at the most important areas.

Making sure you build a solid foundation, understand the software, and define your scope at the outset can take time, but it will be time well spent.

Communication and assessment
The traditional approach with gap analysis is to start with a problem and trace it back. In theory, you should learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future, but it doesn’t always work that way. It’s also a great deal more time-consuming and expensive to identify and fix problems when they’re already released. There’s no reason you can’t apply the same logic from root-cause analysis earlier in the process.

(Related: Testing needs to catch up to agile)