As a technology leader or product owner in your organization, you operate with the underlying assumption that your DevOps team’s activities should improve the organization’s bottom line. When it comes to development, it’s easy to identify the connection between building new features and improved revenues. With Ops teams as well, you can easily see that improving availability and performance has a positive impact on revenue.
However, with software testing, the correlation is not always so obvious. Software testing comes in many forms and can be achieved via a variety of methods. Given this variability, it can be hard to measure the relationship between software testing and your bottom line, let alone identify ways to optimize the cost benefits of software testing.
With that challenge in mind, let’s take a look at five “smart” software testing strategies that will help your organization achieve the greatest financial good through its quality assurance operations.
1. Automated testing
The single biggest benefit of automated testing over manual tests is speed. This means errors are caught faster, and this results in improved releases. If a bug is discovered and it needs to go back to the developer who wrote the code for fixing, once the fix is complete, it needs to be tested again. Rather than manually save the steps for the test, which can be prone to error, an automated test can be re-run at the click of a button. This speeds up testing by making it repeatable and predictable. Manual testing is known to delay many a release. And after release, bugs show up that were missed by human testers. Automated testing helps to release features faster, and enables catching bugs that may be missed by manual tests. This frees up the testing team to focus on last-minute usability checks without having to configure and run tests for every edge use case.
2. Parallel testing
With automated testing, the setup means a lot of upfront work, but later, it more than makes up for lost time. Primarily, being able to run tests repeatedly and in parallel brings great efficiency to testing. Let’s say you’re deploying a new feature that’s expected to pull in added revenues right from launch. You’ll want this feature to be highly available and performing right from the start. Manual tests are run in sequence, but with automated testing, you can identify numerous tests that don’t depend on other tests and can be run in parallel. This strategic approach to getting through tests faster helps you release features faster and see revenue gains faster. With parallel testing you can cover a larger percentage of the code base, resulting in a performant app that your users demand.
3. Headless testing
The more time your developers spend building new and innovative features, the better the chances of improving revenue for your organization. However, a lot of development time is wasted in the cycle of fixing errors that show up later in the pipeline. With testing shifting left, software testing can now occur much earlier in the pipeline and give developers immediate feedback on the code they write. The solution for this is headless testing.
Not requiring the overhead of a full browser, underlying OS, and VM to run it all, headless testing is a lightweight option that takes advantage of the power of containers and headless browsers. Developers can immediately run live tests on their code and fix errors without having to wait for feedback from QA.
When developers write better code right from the start, this saves on software testing costs later in the pipeline. Catching a bug during testing is much more expensive than during development. Headless testing is one of the biggest recent improvements in the field of software testing, and it should be employed by any DevOps team that is following the practice of continuous integration.
4. Mobile testing on real devices
In a mobile-first world, testing on mobile devices is a necessity. Yet, the costs to set up and maintain an in-house device lab are sky high. Instead, renting real mobile devices from a testing platform and running tests on these devices via the cloud is the cheaper and better alternative. As mobile devices keep changing every few months, you can run tests on exactly the kind of devices that your customers use — even if this list of devices changes every six months.
The maintenance of the devices is offloaded to the vendor platform, and after each test, the device is cleared of all test data, leaving you with a clean device for the next test, without having to do any maintenance.
5. Intangible cost savings
While all the previous steps can be quantified to find out how much cost savings they incur, there are other ways software testing can improve your organization’s bottom line that can’t be calculated as easily. For example, the improved brand reputation you enjoy when you’re known as the most reliable service, or when you have an app that is spiffy and finger-fast. (This isn’t just a matter of UI design, but of getting the underlying code quality up to the mark as well.) As your app store ratings soar, they help pull in a wave of new users that means more revenue for your organization.
There are many ways that software testing helps improve the bottom line of a business. It starts with employing automated testing, but doesn’t stop there. Newer methods like headless testing and real mobile device testing in the cloud should be employed as well. With all this done, you can be sure to reap the tangible and intangible rewards of improved revenue due to a world-class software testing operation.
Twain Taylor is a Fixate IO Contributor and began his career at Google, where, among other things, he was involved in technical support for the AdWords team. His work involved reviewing stack traces, and resolving issues affecting both customers and the Support team, and handling escalations. Later, he built branded social media applications, and automation scripts to help startups better manage their marketing operations. Today, as a technology journalist he helps IT magazines, and startups change the way teams build and ship applications.