4 reasons companies neglect software testing

Deploying a new product is a risk for any company. The success or failure of a project or product depends on many variables. Some factors are simply not under the company’s control. One thing your company does have control over is building a quality product.

Very few companies (particularly small businesses and startups) pay attention to quality. Here are 4 common reasons why companies claim to not test their software:

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#1: “We don’t have time to test”

Many small companies are consumed by a sense of urgency. The reason is clear: survival comes first; perfection is secondary. And they’re right to feel this way because time is money, but most of them forget that their products should not only meet scheduled timeframes, but also be of high quality.

It may be fine if the first version of your product has some bugs. Your first customers may forgive it. However, if you look forward and want to grow your business and develop your product, then you should improve its quality as well. Otherwise, your next customer most likely won’t ignore the bugs and won’t want to buy your product.

#2: “We don’t have enough manpower”

There is never enough manpower! The same is true with time and money.

But what’s better? Finding and fixing a system-crushing bug at the very beginning, or apologizing to angry customers? I really don’t believe customers can be pacified with an explanation that your company doesn’t have enough human resources. In many instances, it’s cheaper to hire a test specialist than to lose a customer.

#3: “Why do we need to test?”

It’s a common enough question that is usually countered with the assertion, “Developers can test their own code.”

So, why test?

Looking more deeply, software testing is intended to validate and verify that a computer program, application, or product works as expected, meets requirements, and satisfies the needs of the stakeholders.

Skipping software testing is one of the main reasons for poor software quality. Unfortunately, there are plenty of tragic historical examples:

  • In the 1980s, a bug in the code controlling of a radiation therapy machine was directly responsible for patients’ deaths because it administered excessive quantities of X-ray radiation.
  • In 2011, a bug in an Australian bank’s cash machine benefited customers by giving them large sums of money from 40 cash machines across the city.
  • In 2013, Healthcare.gov, a U.S. government website, failed at launch simply because most people were unable to sign into the website.

The list goes on. Companies that neglect software testing can lose their customers, money, and reputation.

#4: “Developers can test their own code”

Firstly, a developer treats his code as if it were his baby. That doesn’t mean that this baby is perfect in the eyes of others.

Secondly, a developer’s primary role is to create. As a side effect of this role, a developer has a positive way of thinking. Software testers think more critically. And their task is, at a minimum, to confirm that the application or product works as expected, or better yet, break it and prove that it doesn’t work.

Thirdly, working with their own code day in and day out makes developers lose their objectivity. They can’t see the small things in the big picture. A good tester is able to find the problem easily.

So, can developers test?

Of course developers can test their own code. But, it should be limited. For the most part, the quality assurance should be entrusted to test specialists.

The aforementioned reasons sound like a set of excuses from those who find it easier to ignore software testing than to perform it. Whether or not to test is a company’s choice and responsibility. Just remember that building a quality product is the key to success!

Written by Veronika Olshevskaya, QA Manager at QA Globo Consulting

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Comments

  1. Diego Hidalgo says:

    I think the same, however I think basically the problem is in the process of project management from where estimates of the projects, these plans should have testing time.

  2. jmckeating says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, Diego!

    Are you interested in contributing to Test Talk? We’d be happy to feature your thoughts.

  3. Great article! We need to talk more about critical need of proper software quality assurance in the industry.

    We are at ZAPTEST are developing tools for QAs to catch up with rapid updates of modern software development.

    Let’s make QA profession great again!

  4. Running a small business can be pretty stressful. Like you mentioned, many small companies don’t have too much manpower when it comes to software development. However, it’s important that the product be stable enough that it can meet customer’s needs and not cause too many headaches. Being able to establish trust and confidence with customers will help make things smoother down the road.

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