Updating and replacing software is essential to business these days. In a world where technology is more accessible than ever, it is a part of our life, with regular updates on mobile devices, system down time for website maintenance and more - the list goes on.
Why do we need regular software updates?
The reason can vary but generally, it is often because of bugs that need to be fixed or new features being introduced to improve quality; this is the lifecycle of any software. During the development process, the effort needed for continuous testing is often considered as an unnecessary activity and therefore an extra cost to the business. Seeing as the results of software testing are not as tangible as developing a piece of software, that is why it is difficult to justify.
Sometimes you hear people say, “I want a product that simply works”. Understandable perhaps, but how do we know that the system works the way it is supposed to? How can we measure that all the requirements are delivered, and that the quality meets with expectations?
This is where software testing comes into play. Software testing provides a way of measuring the quality of the software and determining whether it fulfils the requirements and how well it works before it is installed in a live operation.
Here are 5 reasons why software testing is so important:
1. Increase the quality
Testing and quality go hand in hand. Quality can be measured by the number of defects identified during testing and those will then be fixed within a software development lifecycle. This will continue throughout the development phase, and by testing continuously, it enables the quality of the software to be improved.
Testing enables you to see what the software does and how well it does it so that the business can measure the quality of the software before it goes live.
2. We all make mistakes
There is no such thing as a defect-free system, and we all make mistakes especially developing a system that is complex. Developing software without testing is just a guessing game. When code is written and a set or piece of functionality is developed, it is important to test and verify that the system works as expected according to requirements.
3. Reduce risks
Defects must be sought out and either fixed or removed from the final product to ensure that the system can run as expected during live operation. When a critical defect is discovered in a live environment the impact and severity are both high because it affects the end user, so continuous testing is very important in order to mitigate the risks and ensure that the software is ready for live operation.
4. Cost Effective
Nobody wants a project to overrun, but it often feels as though the budget will run out sooner than anticipated, or that the expenses are higher towards the end of the project.
Why is project go-live being pushed? Why is a lot of money being spent in fixing system issues?
Project delay does not happen only because of poor software quality, although it is one of the more common reasons why a project go-live date is pushed back when working with system development or on implementation. It is often more time consuming and difficult to fix a defect, hence more expensive, when a defect is discovered at a later stage and a large amount of the system has already been built.
Testing early and continuously not only enables the system to be better, but it also allows the project manager to have better control over the budget (time and money). Discovering defects and fixing them at an earlier stage can reduce unexpected costs at the end of the project, or in a worst case scenario, after the system is in live operation.
5. Gain customer confidence
Last but by no means least, all the above leads to a happy customer! System stability is what we all want as customers. Testing throughout the development lifecycle provides visibility as to how well and stable the software has been developed, therefore increasing confidence in the customer once released into a live environment.
Testing is so much more than just pressing buttons or ‘trying a system out’, and these are just a few of the reasons why it is so important to include testing as part of the software development lifecycle.
My next blog post will address the relationship between testing and psychology. If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please post them in the comments and I’ll address those in the next article.