How Do You Handle QA in the Development Process?
We’ve recently been creating an e-book here at TestArmy, and we thought we would give you a quick sneak peek at some one the things we’ve discovered while doing our research.
Software testing: it’s almost viewed as a necessary evil in the software development business. If a project is done correctly then testing should, in theory, take minimal time and minimal funds. However, as everyone knows, even the smallest projects can hit the biggest roadblocks.
How your company handles QA during the development process can determine how many of these ‘roadblocks’ each project contains. If your company has a strict QA process, you shouldn’t have much to worry about, however, usually QA is the first thing to get skipped over once a project falls behind or runs into budget problems.
Unresolved bugs in a large application can end up costing a software house an extra £2.2 million to fix[i], and this doesn’t include the damage done to the company’s reputation.
This is exactly why software companies are willing to invest in an airtight QA process. CTOs and CEOs of large software houses are willing to spend about 35% of a project’s budget on QA[ii].
The fact of the matter is a bad application or program can cost your company more than one project and once client. In the long run, a couple of poorly completed projects can end up killing your company’s reputation and profits.
Let’s take a look at one example which we described in a previous blog: “Sniper 3: Ghost Warrior”:
The creative force behind “Sniper 3” was completely caught off-guard by critics’ reviews after their game was released. Unfortunately for the software house, the game was incredibly flawed, resulting in some critics dubbing the game “Sniper Bug Warrior” and one other critic concluded that the game was “a marathon of errors, missteps and bad solutions[iii]”.
While the reviews were certainly harmful to the creator’s reputation, the game managed to become still find its way into the hearts of some users, which saved the franchise’s reputation in the long run.
This all could have been prevented if the software house responsible for the game had secured their QA process. But securing your QA processes isn’t just about protecting your company’s image.
When a QA survey was conducted, most companies said that protecting their corporate image was the number one factor behind their investment in QA. The second reason mentioned was to promote QA awareness within their internal departments. Surprisingly, the answer that came in 3rd place was the most obvious: user satisfaction[iv].
Upsetting customers and losing potential clients is not the goal of anyone in the software development industry. Why else is an airtight QA process important? Because only 16% of users will give an application or program a second chance if it fails the first time[v].
This alienates 84% of a project’s audience, and that is the difference between your application/software being a hit, or costing your company and clients millions in profit and bug fixes.
What are your options?
First, software houses can have in-house developers test a project and hope that they will present unbiased and quality feedback to the client and their co-workers. This option is usually seen as less favorable because of close relationships between co-workers or a potential clash of egos.
However, it’s important to remember that a developer’s time is extremely expensive which means that having developers test projects will actually add significant costs to your bottom line and drain more of a project’s budget.
The second option that software houses are presented with is to hire testers to work in their company. While this solves the problem of using highly paid developers to conduct testing, it doesn’t solve the problem of potential internal office problems.
Plus, hiring an internal team forces the software house to invest in training, salary and benefits for a new team of workers. Not to mention, if there is a gap in the company’s workflow, chances are high that the company will have to pay the testers to sit and wait for the next project to come through.
The third option is to outsource testing to an independent testing company. This has various advantages.
For instance, the partner firm can supplement in-house testers in their weakest area, it brings an unbiased opinion to the project, the software house only pays for the amount of time that the testers are working and they aren’t faced with any overhead costs in regards to the testers.
Add flexible working hours and you are presented with a favorable option that only has a few downsides.
If you’re still unsure about outsourcing testing to another firm, check out our blog where we evaluate the pro’s and con’s of each option here.
However, how you handle QA on each project depends on the project itself. Depending on the complexity of the project and its target audience, extensive testing may not be needed.
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