A novel approach to model the system test phase of the software life cycle is presented. This approach is based on concepts and techniques from control theory and is useful in computing the effort required to reduce the number of errors and the schedule slippage under a changing process environment. Results from these computations are used, and possibly revised, at specific checkpoints in a feedback-control structure to meet the schedule and quality objectives. Two case studies were conducted to study the behavior of the proposed model. One study reported here uses data from a commercial project. The outcome from these two studies suggests that the proposed model might well be the first significant milestone along the road to a formal and practical theory of software process control.