Despite what many project managers think, testing isn’t just a tick-box exercise. If it’s not done properly, you're flying blind, you’ve no way of assessing your solution. When testing fails it can devastate your business.
Does it all work properly? Only testing can tell you - Testers are your eyes and ears, your window into software quality.
Most Crashes are The Result of a Testing Failure
Software crashes, outages and breaches are increasingly visible in mainstream media. That’s because the stakes are so much higher nowadays; software is everywhere, and everyone can access it. I’m sure you remember a few of these recent software failures.
Generally, these issues are the result of a testing failure. In other words, with proper and thorough testing the defects could have been identified and mitigated.
There are many reasons why testing can fail; perhaps testing hasn’t been taken seriously, it’s been rushed or deprioritised, maybe your testers haven’t been listened to, or been able to communicate effectively.
No matter the root cause, when testing fails, there’s a good chance your solution won't be fit-for-purpose. Releasing this poor quality software kicks off a chain of consequences that can devastate your business...
1. Your Reputation is Destroyed
Picture the scene; it’s launch day and you’ve made sure everyone is watching. You’ve let customers know in advance, built up their anticipation. Marketing have ramped up their efforts and the word is out. People are talking about your new offering; you can feel the buzz. Excitement, eagerness, everything you hoped for…
You’ve reached peak excitement, you go live, the world is watching… and something goes wrong. Click, snip, post – the first you hear of it is when it is posted on social media and people start responding to it.
That mark stays with you forever. People won’t ever forget.
Sounds dramatic, but that is the reality of a software failure. Think about your own experiences, I bet you've ditched a website, store, bank, service or product because of a software failure - because of a testing failure.
2. Your Projects Take Longer, Cost More
As they say… Once bitten, twice shy. Your stakeholders invested in the solution and it backfired. In future, they’ll need more reassurance, more documentation and more reporting.
Testing will be under close scrutiny, with no more risk-based approaches. I’ve seen this happen first hand; you lose agility. Testing becomes a huge bottleneck; Everything takes longer, all project development slows down and your release frequency plummets.
As a result, your cost of change spirals upwards; there’s more project management time, more developer time, more DBA time. Can you afford to throw budget away?
3. You Can’t Innovate, You Fall Further Behind
By the time you're live, everything is knitted together, defects are hard to pinpoint and even harder to correct. Your project teams switch to firefighting, developers focused on endless cycles of fixes.
Your entire project pipeline stalls. Your projects drift, lose all focus. Your business plans are in ruins, you’re just trying to stay afloat. You lose the ability to innovate, you are told to fix the basics before doing anything new, so your competitors pull ahead.
The Easy Way to Avoid Testing Fails
Testing failures can devastate your business. They can destroy your reputation, slow down your projects and increase costs, and can grind your innovation to a halt. To make matters worse, once testing has failed it can be difficult to correct any of these problems.
It's better to avoid failures altogether, but how?
The simple first step is to make sure everyone can see, and understand your test results. For this, you need complete test visibility.
Tools like ALM/Quality Center and Octane provide accessible, user-friendly, easy to set up, online dashboards that your whole project can view. This is infinitely more useful than test results stored on a testers laptop.
Test dashboards are the best way to view project status. They provide real-time information; the cold hard facts you need. They allow you to flex resource and focus as required. This clarity allows the whole team to work together to fix software quality asap - and hit your project deadlines.
Find out more about test visibility in Avoid Testing Fails: Increase Visibility.
It might sound simple, but often testing fails because of an assumption that something is in scope when it isn’t, or that something has passed when it hasn’t. With full test visibility, everyone has access to the right information. All parties can assess risks, quality and coverage.
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