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Software Testing: Cost or Product?

This article was developed from concepts in the book Global Software Test Automation: Discussion of Software Testing for Executives.

Introduction

Many look upon software testing as a cost. While it is true that software testing does cost money, in many cases significant amounts of money, it is also an activity that helps an organization to avoid costly failures further on in the development process. Most understand this relationship; software testing is spending money to save money. What many do not also realize is that software testing also produces valuable assets for the organization. This article will discuss those assets of software testing.

The Products of Software Testing

Just as software development is a process that results in products, namely software products, software testing is a process that results in products. These include the following:

  1. The test design process produces a series of test cases.
  2. The test execution process produces a list of software anomalies.
  3. The problem identification process produces bug reports.

Corresponding with the three products of the software testing process, three main activities define software testing. These include the following:

  1. Designing the software tests.
  2. Running these tests.
  3. Identifying problems that come to light through the test execution.

All three of these activities carry a heavy responsibility of communication with the product development team, as well as company executives, to establish confidence in the product. Effective and meaningful communication back to these teams can often be problematic for test teams that do not have or follow defined company processes or standards, are continually pressed to cut the test time, or are working with development groups that do not have a full appreciation of the testing, do not understand its purpose, or feel that testing is a roadblock to release.


By thinking of testing as producing products, and considering these products as assets, an organization’s approach to testing can be significantly enhanced.


Usually, organizations think of testing as an activity as opposed to a product. It is seen in terms of costs and savings, as the activity costs money but finding bugs early saves money. By thinking of testing as producing products, and considering these products as assets, an organization’s approach to testing can be significantly enhanced. Consider the following points that come out of this way of thinking:

  • Test cases have a definite value and can depreciate over time as the underlying application changes.
  • Well-written test cases consolidate the intellectual property of your team members and retain that knowledge in the company as staff members may come and go.
  • Well-automated tests can be re-used over and over again, becoming assets that produce profits for the company.

Conclusion

By taking into consideration the products of software testing, the expenses incurred for software testing can be looked upon in a different light. While it is an expense to avoid later costs, it also produces reusable assets that should be considered as both helping to offset the costs of software testing while strengthening the organization by codifying its intellectual property.

Hung Nguyen

Hung Nguyen co-founded LogiGear in 1994, and is responsible for the company’s strategic direction and executive business management. His passion and relentless focus on execution and results has been the driver for the company’s innovative approach to software testing, test automation, testing tool solutions and testing education programs.

Hung is co-author of the top-selling book in the software testing field, “Testing Computer Software,” (Wiley, 2nd ed. 1993) and other publications including, “Testing Applications on the Web,” (Wiley, 1st ed. 2001, 2nd ed. 2003), and “Global Software Test Automation,” (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). His experience prior to LogiGear includes leadership roles in software development, quality, product and business management at Spinnaker, PowerUp, Electronic Arts and Palm Computing.

Hung holds a Bachelor of Science in Quality Assurance from Cogswell Polytechnical College, and completed a Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program.

Rob Pirozzi

Over 20 years of sales, marketing, management, and technology experience in high technology with exposure to industries including financial services, healthcare, higher education, government, and manufacturing; demonstrating a strong track record of success. Proven ability to build and maintain strong relationships, contribute to target organization success, and deliver results. Website: http://www.robpirozzi.com/

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Hung Q. Nguyen
Hung Nguyen co-founded LogiGear in 1994, and is responsible for the company’s strategic direction and executive business management. His passion and relentless focus on execution and results has been the driver for the company’s innovative approach to software testing, test automation, testing tool solutions and testing education programs.
Hung is co-author of the top-selling book in the software testing field, “Testing Computer Software,” (Wiley, 2nd ed. 1993) and other publications including, “Testing Applications on the Web,” (Wiley, 1st ed. 2001, 2nd ed. 2003), and “Global Software Test Automation,” (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). His experience prior to LogiGear includes leadership roles in software development, quality, product and business management at Spinnaker, PowerUp, Electronic Arts and Palm Computing.
Hung holds a Bachelor of Science in Quality Assurance from Cogswell Polytechnical College, and completed a Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program.
Hung Q. Nguyen on Linkedin
Rob Pirozzi
Over 20 years of sales, marketing, management, and technology experience in high technology with exposure to industries including financial services, healthcare, higher education, government, and manufacturing; demonstrating a strong track record of success.

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