In the software community, it’s well known that the cost to fix a bug increases exponentially the later it’s found in the software development process. For too many organizations, buggy software is a fact of life. It doesn’t need to be that way. Organizations have the opportunity to shift left on quality and security, mitigating the risk of faulty business logic, bugs, security issues, and data loss, enabling delivery of high-quality software products that meet and exceed users’ expectations.
Delivering software with predictable, stable releases is a challenge many organizations face. Undetected defects and security holes that make their way to production create issues ranging from escalating development costs to customer dissatisfaction to costly security breaches. If it’s common knowledge that testing is critically important, why do so many organizations come up short in the area of software testing?
Shortcomings of software testing
When it comes to software testing, many organizations assume developers can successfully test their own software. They often overlook the importance of a software quality team or believe the cost of software testing doesn’t fit in the budget. Failure to invest in software quality will prove costly. Not only can fixing a bug cost your organization money, but it can also result in delays.
The other critical aspect of software testing is when testing is performed. Organizations frequently put off software testing until the end of development. Doing so results in a rush to squash all the bugs, perform security tests, perform non-functional tests, and deliver the software as quickly as possible. This results in many organizations experiencing post-release bug discoveries because instead of releasing software with confidence, organizations find themselves in a position to decide if their software is good enough to release.
Plan for success
It’s no secret that software testing is important for the success of any project. Placing a focus on software quality and testing, as an organization, will increase user confidence, improve work processes and efficiency, and boost your company’s credibility.
How should we, as an organization, approach software testing?
It’s important to have a test plan and test process in place that you incorporate into your software development. 27Global has fully adopted and stays abreast of testing best practices, including full integration and implementation of the following testing processes and tools:
- Requirements and Acceptance Criteria Analysis
- Coding Standards
- Unit Test Coverage Analysis
- Static Code Inspection Tools
- API/Integration Testing
- UI, Web, Mobile Testing
- Code Review
- Functional Testing
- User Acceptance Testing
- Destructive Testing
- Load/Performance Testing
- Security/Penetration Testing
Performing tests when the software is “complete” isn’t good enough. As an organization, you should focus on shifting left in your testing practices. Testing should become part of your development process.
- Do your user stories have acceptance criteria and are they written to capture the requirements?
- Do you have coding standards that make sure your developers aren’t baking vulnerabilities into the code?
- Do you have unit test coverage?
As requirements and features evolve over the course of a project, test plans and test cases should be regularly reviewed to ensure requirements are met and issues can be flushed out.
Finding the right team
With all the new tools, technologies, and methodologies available the biggest challenge of today’s organization is finding the expertise to be able to effectively incorporate software testing best practices into the development cycle. Solving software testing problems demands a vast skill set you rarely find in a single individual and typically requires a multidisciplinary approach. You need a team with a combination of:
- Software Engineers and Architects with deep technical system design and test building experience;
- Site Reliability Engineers who have the ability to monitor, maintain and automate tests;
- Quality Assurance and Quality Control Engineers with knowledge of current testing tools and technologies, as well as mastery of testing techniques;
- Business Analysts who have a deep understanding of the business domain and challenges; and
- Scrum Masters and Project Managers with an understanding of current best practices for technology development and management.
At 27Global, building software is a large part of what we do and software testing best practices are ingrained into our approach. We take a holistic view of testing and focus on issue resolution, remediation, and prevention. This enables us to build high-quality software by shifting left on quality and security, using the industry’s best testing tools, and a relentless focus on testing from requirements through production support.
Justin Ford is a Senior Consultant in 27Global’s Kansas City office. Founded in 2008, 27Global designs, builds and operates technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. 27Global has the business acumen to understand your vision and the expertise to build your technology solution. To learn more, visit 27Global.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.