The need for a software testing in large companies to protect security, functionality, and other components that can make or break their customers’ trust is obvious. Oftentimes, the focus is so large on testing that enterprises have entire teams of testers employed at different skill levels and specializing in different areas.
But for startups that have a minimal budget for development, nonetheless testing, why should budding businessmen invest in software testers? It may seem like a step that could be skipped without causing much impact, however, entrepreneurs that have been in similar situations know the truth isn’t that simple.
Why does software testing matter to a startup? With so many other expenses being extended in sales, marketing, and day-to-day operations at a time where you’re probably just trying to break even, spending limited finances on another department may not seem very strategic at first.
However, there’s a big reason you’ll want a tester on your team, and that reason is quality.
While a few bugs early on in your software’s first years in the public eye might not seem like a huge deal, software defects are known to be costly when they make it past product release. In fact, it’s about 30 times more expensive to fix a bug after release than in design.
Debugging after a user has already noticed a problem is not just expensive, but it’ll cost you in productivity, reputation, and consumer trust as well, which is not something you can afford to lose with so few customers who are closely evaluating what your product has to offer them.
Instead, focusing on releasing high-quality software will create brand loyalty and help you stand out against competitors, making earning and retaining new customers much more attainable.
Hiring Software Testers
You may be asking that if you have a developer who clearly knows how to code and debug software, why do you need to hire a dedicated software tester? Why can’t your developer just test the software?
The biggest reason why having a developer test their own software is problematic is that they’re already so familiar with the application that it’s hard for them to act as an end-user and handle it in a way that it’s not made for.
On the other hand, the job of the tester is to test the limits of an application the way a user might. For example, since the developer built the application, they know how the checkout process is supposed to work and might not think to enter an invalid email like a tester would.
Since testers also have the technical knowledge and know the in’s and out’s of software development, their insight provides a highly accurate approach to the quality of software before it’s released. Developers and testers have two different skill sets, and each should be utilized for the job they’re best at in order to create a seamless software development life cycle.
Also, since developers obviously spend a lot of their time actually coding, it doesn’t provide them much time to be testing, too — or at least not as much as they should be. At the very least, there should always be one tester working alongside the developer to make sure appropriate testing can be done on the software at different stages of development and at every integration.
Additionally, if you’ve been hearing a lot about automated testing and think it may be a resource to replace actually hiring a human tester, you’d be sadly mistaken. Automated tests are great for following commands and pre-written tests, but won’t be able to find problems in unexplored regions of the software. This means that in order to do any testing, manual or automated, you’ll have to have a human that knows how to write tests.
The Tests Your Startup Should Be Doing
Below are the few of the different testing methods you’ll want to be doing, even at a startup:
For a new application, exploratory testing is extremely important for laying a groundwork of quality. Exploratory testing is an ad-hoc process where the tester manually goes through the software in an attempt to find bugs.
Again, not just anyone can properly execute effective exploratory testing as there is usually a strict process and specific guidelines to follow. Exploratory testing is largely used to define and evaluate the usability of the app as a customer would experience it, and having an expert manually test the app is the best way to evaluate components like functionality and usability.
Testing is not a one-off process — you can’t just run one test and be able to release new iterations whenever you want from then on. In fact, every time a change is made to the code, you’re going to want to run a regression test to make sure it hasn’t broken previously functioning features.
This is a great example of where you might have to utilize both manual and automated testing. Doing the same test over and over will take up a big chunk of time, so automation is usually a preferred way to compliment manual efforts. On the other hand, manually creating a test script and running it is necessary before automating regression tests. Either way, regression tests are important to make sure a bug doesn’t pop up after adding a new feature.
When thinking about quality, fast performance is one of the best ways to establish a loyal user, but bad performance will just as quickly turn potential users away. When a 2-second delay in load time during a transaction results in abandonment rates of up to 87 percent, those are losses that you can’t afford.
You want to make sure your application loads quickly and can handle expected traffic. This is the best way to avoid frustrating your users and prevent them from leaving your website before they make it to check out.
One of the most crucial details that can easily go un-examined without having a software tester that knows what to look for is the idea of responsive design.
Your website will most likely be accessed from an array of different devices and browsers — desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones on Chrome, Safari, or even the looming Internet Explorer. Gone untested, the user experience may be drastically different on each of these configurations, which isn’t a good thing.
One of the worst things you can do is go without optimizing your application for mobile devices — the web page simply won’t survive. Finding a tester who knows the importance of cross-browser testing and knows how to find inconsistencies in responsive design will be one of the most valuable assets your startup could invest in.
It’s pretty simple — when you’re a new player in the game, quality is what’s going to set your apart. Don’t make the mistake of skimping out of testing your product to save money because, in the end, it’ll probably cost you customers.
Hiring testers will ensure that someone is monitoring potential issues and catching bugs before release. While it’s nearly impossible to prevent every bug, having a testing strategy in place creates a safeguard to affect better software and happier customers.