November 21, 2022

3 minutes

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Assurance & Testing

The value of quality in your testing capability

In many organisations, there are two key factors to a testing strategy. The first covers your testing capability software and the second focuses on your testing team to ensure they are engaged with Quality Assurance. 

1. Is your software testing capability fit for purpose?

If it isn’t working as well as it could, you might be wasting a considerable amount of time and money in other parts of your operation. 

Having worked with development teams of various types and sizes over the years one of the most dispiriting things is to find that we have to spend all or part of an upcoming development sprint on rework, fixing defects that were introduced in previous iterations. This always feels like a missed opportunity, where features that might have been expected are pushed back and developers revisit areas of the system that they thought they had left behind. Not only is it disappointing from a delivery point of view, but it’s also very expensive.  Even a small development team can cost in the region of £20k to operate through one sprint.  If all or part of that is dedicated to defect remediation, a healthy development budget can soon be whittled away.

2. Are your testing team engaged in Quality Assurance?

It’s a well-used adage, but remediating issues early in the software development process will give you the gains and efficiencies that organisations strive for, in reducing the costs of failure and re-work. Software testing should deliver benefits and value from the moment the work is initiated, ensuring well defined requirements and measurable outcomes of quality assessment. Effective measures and metrics will enable trends to be identified around issues and enable focus on these areas in terms of process improvement. The ability to take a step back and understand the causes of repeating problems from a testing perspective, will enable you to review your test strategy and ensure that the resources that are being used are delivering value and have the appropriate processes, tools and skills required.

Tried and tested

In a recent project, we found that as part of undertaking a review of testing capability, it shone a light on the quality of requirements that were being captured and highlighted the impacts that this was having across the delivery lifecycle, not just within the test process. The review became a trigger for the organisation to review its entire software delivery life cycle (SDLC).

Our experience has demonstrated a focus on testing and quality assurance is an investment that very rarely fails to provide excellent returns, but it is often hard for teams to step back and take a dispassionate view.  That’s why we start with a capability assessment, it’s an excellent way to take an objective measure of current practices and processes. It’s this approach that enables organisations to focus on the key testing challenges and the impacts felt within the wider software delivery lifecycle and to then move forwards with real purpose and precision.

To conclude

A relatively small investment in your testing strategy approach can lead to a return on investment of a factor of ten or more over a year, as you take the opportunity to review your approach to finding and remediating defects and eliminating the root causes of software bugs.  Even a high-performing team can find improvements leading to better job satisfaction for developers, the opportunity to work on value-added features and provide more time to dedicate to experimentation and innovation.  Where things aren’t going so well, a focus on delivery times and user experience in testing and deployment can have a transformative effect on confidence in the technology team.

Ian Knowles
Head of Assurance and Delivery, Jumar