What Is the Value of Software Testing?

I am often asked what I do for a living. As a trainer and consultant in the field of software testing, I have to explain the field and practice of software testing in some creative ways, such as:

I help people find bugs in software before it goes out to you.

I am a “test pilot” for software.

I am like a software bug exterminator.

I can also point to recent news, such as the failure of the Obamacare website and say, “I try to help companies avoid this kind of problem.”

Here is the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) definition: “The process consisting of all life cycle activities, both static and dynamic, concerned with planning, preparation and evaluation of software products and related work products to determine that they satisfy specified requirements, to demonstrate that they are fit for purpose and to detect defects.”

In actuality, software testing is also system testing, since you need hardware to test software.

The interesting thing to me about the ISTQB definition is that it describes a process that occurs throughout a software project. However, as a customer of software, you can test the software you want to buy before you buy it.

For example, if you want to buy a personal finance application, you can download trial versions of various products and see which one meets your needs best. This is what is meant by being “fit for purpose.” Perhaps all the applications you try are functionally correct, but some may be too complex or too simple.

Some people see software testing as the process of finding defects (or bugs).

However, I suggest that the greatest value of software testing is to provide information about software, such as defects, performance, usability, security, and other areas.

Another way to see software testing is “quality control” for software. Like in manufacturing where the QC people look for defects in products, software testers look for defects in a software product.

Unfortunately, too few companies and organizations see the value to software quality, so they release buggy software to their customers. These defects cost time, money and result in a lot of frustration. Just think of the last time you experienced a software problem. Perhaps your word processing software crashed while you were writing something and you lost the last 15 minutes of writing. That is frustrating.

In business, software defects have caused people to die, and for huge amounts of money to be lost. In the Facebook IPO, Nasdaq has had to pay over $80 million to date in fines and restitution to investors. That was due to one software defect (not a glitch), that caused an endless loop condition.

It is impossible to test every condition, but my advice is to at least test the high-risk functions and keep building a set of repeatable tests for the future.

Randy Rice is a thought-leading author, speaker, trainer and consultant in the field of software testing and software quality. He has worked with organizations worldwide to improve the quality of their information systems and optimize their testing processes.
Randy has worked as a full-time IT software professional for over 35 years, with the last 25 devoted to the profession of software testing and quality assurance. He is passionate about helping people build better software so their customers will love their products. Randy is a mentor to many testers and test managers so they can build deep knowledge about software testing and have fulfilling careers.

Software Testing: How Important It Is

A flawed software application can have a huge impact on the developer’s revenue, credibility and reputation in the longer run. So before delivering the software to the client, each company needs to ensure that it is working flawlessly and meeting all requirements or specification of the client. There are many instances when minor flaws in software have resulted in both human and monetary loss. That is why; software testing has already becomes an integral and significant part of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The agile software development principles further do not consider software development and software testing as two separate processes. The agile methodology emphasizes on the programmers and testers working as a single team, and work together to improve the quality of the software. As an integral part of SDLC, software testing process aims to assess the completeness, correctness and quality of the software before its delivery. At the same time, the test results help businesses to check if the software meets all requirements or specifications of the client.

Why Software Testing is Important for Modern Businesses?

A number of studies have indicated that the cost of fixing bugs in the software increases, if they are not identified and fixed early. When the defects or bugs in the software are detected early, it becomes easier for programmers to eliminate them. That is why; most companies nowadays introduce testing in early phases of SDLC. They further deploy independent QA professionals to assess the software during various stages of development.

Nowadays, IT companies to develop custom and mission-critical software applications. A minor bug in the mission-critical software application can result in both financial and human losses. For instance, a minor flaw in the software used by an aircraft can result in irreparable losses. That is why; the IT company must perform a variety of tests to identify and eliminate all defects, bugs or flaws in the application before it is delivered to the client.

Each modern user has option to choose from thousands of identical software applications. So to keep the users interested and engaged, each enterprise must deliver high quality software. When the software is tested thoroughly and repeatedly, its quality can be assesses more effectively. Based on the test result, the company can launch a high quality product that will stay in the market in the longer run.

Software testing further becomes essential for businesses due to the differences between the development and production environments. While developing the product, programmers focus mainly on its features and functionality. But the features and functionality will have different effect on individual users. When the application is assessed in the testing environment, it becomes easier for QA professionals to assess the user experience accurately. As testing environment and production environment are identical, the performance of the software can be assessed more accurately.

Often clients require developers to include new features in the software during different phases of development. Each time a new feature or functionality is added to the application, the code needs to be tested thoroughly. The QA professionals perform regression testing to ensure that both legacy and new features are working flawlessly. The tests will further help the business to assess the quality of the updated product before it goes live.

The modern websites and web applications must be compatible with multiple operating systems, devices and web browsers. So the enterprises must assess the web application’s performance on various devices, platforms and browsers. The seasoned testers use advanced tools to assess the website’s compatibility across multiple platforms and devices. The test results further help developers to make changes to the code to enhance the website’s compatibility and accessibility.

Many businesses deploy independentĀ QA professionalsĀ to protect their goodwill in the competitive market. The online forums and social networks have made it easier for modern users to highlight the defects or flaws in a particular software application. So the enterprise needs to ensure that the end user detects no bugs of flaws. When the software is tested thoroughly, the chances of bugs detected by users are eliminated. Thus, software testing will help developers to impress users and stay in the business over a longer period of time.

With more and more businesses adopting agile development methodologies, software development and testing have now become inseparable processes. Each business has to invest in comprehensive software testing to get higher returns, enhance its reputation, and retain clients.