Between the planning, development and deployment phases, there are countless risk factors that must be taken into consideration during the course of a software project. And, of course, all of these risks – whether associated with scheduling, technical issues or circumstances that lie outside the realm of control for key stakeholders or not – tie back to cost.
But what about the risks related to software testing? Assessing and mitigating these factors is critical to a successful project life cycle, yet far too many decision-makers overlook the importance of this stage. To help test leaders understand the high cost of problematic testing methods and point them in the right direction, here are a few common testing risk factors, and some useful solutions.
Begin with the bugs
The most obvious yet perilous risks in the software testing process are errors in code. The frequency and severity of these bugs are often directly attributed to testing methods, and depending on the scope of the issues at hand, an entire project can be quickly derailed. Of course, this comes with huge financial penalties, as the team will often have to restart the testing process or begin development from scratch.
Surprisingly, many teams fail to make the connection between poor testing capabilities and the huge costs incurred as a result of excessive bugs in the production process. While this should be a clear sign that testing methods require revision, some leaders point the finger at other stakeholders who are already performing to the best of their abilities. As an article from QualiTest noted, there are financial gains to be made when testing is improved first and foremost.
“It has been a proven fact in software testing that the earlier that bugs are discovered, the cheaper it is to fix them,” explained the source. “If your software that is in production contains bugs that have been in the code for a long time, you should consider not only investing more in testing, but also changing your testing methodology.”
Listen to the testers
Sometimes, bug reporting tools won’t tell the entire story, and only testers will be able to explain why so many bugs are exiting the testing environment unfixed. In this situation, test managers need to open their ears and directly address staff members to discover the limiting factor in the testing process. QualiTest noted that if testers are actively discouraging the release of a product, this should be a clear sign that testing methods deserve a second look, and perhaps a complete overhaul.
Unfortunately, many project leaders choose to ignore the warnings of the test team and release the product when it is still plagued with errors and performance issues. While prolonged testing and redevelopment is surely financially demanding, even greater costs are incurred when the software is shipped to market with error-laden code. Those who turn a blind eye to these problems in hopes of saving money will have to pay much greater sums in the long term.
Invest where necessary
Finally, test leaders need to be willing to make larger upfront investments to tackle risks proactively, rather than waiting until the software is beyond repair. As QualiTest noted, “If you discover that you are investing less in software testing than similar companies, you should probably consider investing more.”
It may take a bit of persuading to get upper-level decision-makers on board to procure a new set of enterprise software testing tools, but the financial rewards will be apparent within only a few project life cycles. With fewer required tests and a more reliable set of best practices, any development team can become far more immune to risk.
To learn more about how to make the case to your executive team about the importance of software quality, download our Executive Value Guide.