Why software testing is important
An average mobile app contains about 50,000 lines, Microsoft Windows operating system has about 50 million lines, while Google’s entire code base is estimated to contain 2 billion lines of code. If you take an average of 15–50 defects per KLOC (Kilo Lines of Code) that adds up to a lot of work for software testers before a product is released into the market.
So how does the software tester decide what to test? How to test? How much is enough and how much is too much? It is a tough decision even for experienced testers! Millions of lines of code can be overwhelming for any testing team and the software testing cost can be prohibitive.
Yet there is no way any software product can be released into the market without undergoing a thorough and comprehensive testing cycle. Software testing is a vital — probably the most vital — part of the SDLC (software development life cycle).
Some of the most important reasons why software testing is important are:
- It ensures the reliability and safety of the software. With software systems used in aircraft and vehicles, medical equipment and critical manufacturing setups, this can make the difference between life and death.
- It ensures high performance which is essential in systems that need to handle very large loads such as thousands of concurrent users or very high data transfer rates and other such situations.
It delivers customer satisfaction, which is essential for the success of any business or product.
Why it saves money
Software testing can prevent errors that can prove costly to fix, resulting in avoidable and exorbitant expenses later. We have all heard about companies that recalled thousands of cars or even aircraft due to “bugs” in their systems. Imagine the losses that can result just from lack of testing!
The simple rule is that the sooner you track a bug, the less expensive it is to fix.
That makes comprehensive testing all the more important in any business or project that relies on or uses software engineering. The longer a software defect goes undetected, the more the likelihood of it snowballing into bigger and more critical defects, that progressively get harder and harder to fix. There are instances where defects are detected so late that they are impossible to fix, jeopardizing the success of the entire application.
Technology companies that invest in testing early and testing often are far more likely to see rich dividends in the long term. This is because not only do software bugs result in costly fixes, they can also adversely impact the company’s reputation, resulting in downtime, poor user experiences and lost customers, further reducing revenues.
Without thorough regression testing, even fixing bugs can result in the creation of new bugs, which can be disastrous for any organization.
How you earn more by spending on software testing
It seems kind of paradoxical — software testing costs money and yet it actually saves you a lot more. It depends on how you look at it. Software testing should not be looked at as an expense, rather it should be considered as an investment in delivering software that is reliable, free of defects and high quality, resulting in a solid reputation in the market and attracting more loyal customers.
Many companies, unfortunately, tend to cut corners when it comes to testing, either due to the cost or the demanding delivery schedules. Actually rather than worrying about the disadvantages of testing, companies should focus on the disadvantages of not testing, which are far higher. Testing may make it seem like your time-to-market gets longer, but ultimately it is better to fix a bug before it gets into the hands of a paying customer. Right? After all, you may never get a second chance to win that customer again, if s/he finds that your software failed to deliver on their expected level of reliability, performance and quality.
The return on investment (ROI) of software testing is often intangible but invaluable — customer delight, brand image, company reputation and repeat business.
7 ways to optimize testing and the cost involved
Here are 7 steps to optimize the cost of software testing while maintaining the quality standards that the market demands.
First of all, even before actually starting the testing process, you need to conduct a Test Maturity Assessment to understand the drawbacks and capabilities of the testing processes and if possible, find ways to improve on them. Benchmarking against industry standards and best practices is also invaluable, and can go a long way in ensuring that you end up with a high quality product that meets customer expectations.
Without a comprehensive test plan in place, the chances of software testing going awry are just too high. Create an unambiguous roadmap on the testing methodology, set measurable objectives, identify the risks and also set clear milestones for the entire testing life cycle.
While reliability, performance, security and efficiency remain broad goals, you will need to go a step further and define clear metrics that you are going to use in your test cases such as the description, prerequisites, steps to be followed and the expected results, which you can validate against actual results.
With a plethora of testing tools available today, it simply makes better sense to automate whenever you can. Automation takes the workload off the testing team by handling all the mundane and labor-intensive tasks, leaving the team members to think and focus on test planning and test design.
Software engineering has come a long way from the traditional waterfall models, with Agile and DevOps taking more precedence in application development. There is no reason for testing to lag behind, and DevOps in testing is finding increasing adoption in the industry. Testing needs to be fully integrated into every phase of the SDLC and can help identify defects early on in the cycle, resulting in significantly higher quality products.
Successful testing involves teamwork and collaboration among members is vital. Define QA roles right at the start of the testing cycle, separate the manual and automated components, and ensure that members are equipped with the right business training or team-building exercises. Above all, maintain constant communication among different members and departments, by collocation of teams, face to face meetings when possible and keeping channels of communication open.
Testing is an important part of CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) models, so it follows that the testing cycle also needs to follow the loop of continuous refinement and improvement. “Rinse and repeat” is as much applicable to the world of testing as it is in other products!
Software testing is one of the most important phases in the software development life cycle. Many applications contain thousands if not millions of lines of code, and the price of software defects can prove too costly. Rather than focusing on software testing costs, companies should look at testing as an investment in building brands and meeting customers’ expectations. Comprehensive testing delivers great returns on investment by ensuring reliability, safety, performance and customer satisfaction. Optimizing software testing can greatly reduce the cost of testing while maintaining quality and reliability standards.