The Importance of Software Testing & why we need it
By Tomomi Uchida Molin.
The importance of software testing cannot be overstated. 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. There are 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. It can also be due to new features being introduced to improve quality – this is the lifecycle of any software. During development, continuous testing is often seen as unnecessary and therefore an extra cost. The results of software testing are not as tangible as the software itself. This makes it 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. It determines whether it fulfils the requirements and how well it works before it is installed in a live operation.
5 reasons behind the importance of software testing
Testing and quality go hand in hand. Quality can be measured by the number of defects identified during testing. These will then be fixed within a software development lifecycle. This will continue throughout the development phase. Continuous testing enables the quality of the software to be improved.
Testing enables you to see what the software does and how well it does it. This allows the business to measure the quality of the software before it goes live.
We all make mistakes
There is no such thing as a defect-free system, and we all make mistakes. This is especially true when developing a system that is complex. Developing software without testing is just a guessing game. When code is written and functionality is developed, it is important to verify that the system works as expected. Testing will also check that it works according to requirements.
Defects must be sought out and either fixed or removed from the final product. This is 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. This is because it affects the end user. Continuous testing is therefore very important. It helps to mitigate the risks and ensure that the software is ready for live operation.
Nobody wants a project to overrun, but it often feels as though the budget will run out sooner than anticipated. Sometimes it seems that the expenses are higher towards the end of the project.
Questions at this point can relate to why the project go-live is being pushed. They can also query the amount of money being spent in fixing system issues. Project delay is not only due to poor software quality though this is certainly one of the more common reasons. It is often more time consuming and difficult to fix a defect when it is discovered at a later stage. When a large amount of the system has already been built, fixes can drive expenses up.
Testing should be done early and continuously. This will enable the system to be stronger. It will also give the project manager 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. In a worst case scenario, it can reduce costs once the system is in live operation.
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. This therefore leads to an increase in confidence within the customer once released into a live environment.
Testing is so much more than just pressing buttons or ‘trying a system out’. I have included some reasons why the importance of software testing is so vast. There are many more!
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. I’ll aim to address those in the next article.
About the author
Tomomi is one of the Application Specialists and a real test enthusiast for theICEway. She ensures that cruise system implementation projects meet with client expectations from beginning to end.