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Why Test? - The Importance of Software Testing

Posted by Phil Edwards on 25/02/2020
Phil Edwards
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So, the big question is ‘Why Test’? Let’s face it, we do take it for granted that things just work or at least should work all the time. But products, services and applications are generally all thoroughly tested before they reach you, giving you a great user experience. It’s very easy to take things for granted, like taking a flight; you simply book your flight online, print or download your tickets and you’re off… But in the background, there’s a million other things happening you probably don’t even realise. So let’s start with the basics, your plane will have been pre-scheduled and have a flight time allocated, but this is done months before you’ve booked your flight, so the number of passengers, meals, drinks, cabin crew, ground staff, the amount of aviation fuel required (based on plane weight incl. luggage etc.) the wind direction and general weather are all unknown until pretty much an hour or so before take-off. So, there’s a lot of variables that need to be monitored and taken account for before you jet off to sunnier climates.

why test

Additionally, and we haven’t even spoken about the actual plane you are taking and the rigorous testing and checks that it has been through to make air travel the safest form of travel. To put plane travel in comparison to driving, the odds of having a fatal crash are slim. Plane crashes make the news because they are generally so rare. An average of around 3000 people across the world die in car crashes every day but commercial passenger jets see just one fatal accident for every 16 million flights taken, in fact you have similar odds of being struck down by lightning.

Sticking with the flight theme, if you have ever been to Heathrow airport you’ll realise that it’s pretty busy all of the time. Heathrow has around half a million flights for arrivals or departures each year and it does operate at 99% every day, so nearly a quarter of a million passengers land or depart daily, and with a plane taking off or landing about one every 45 seconds, by the time you’ve read this article another two planes would have just took off or landed. Every year nearly 80 million passengers pass through the airport, to add perspective, the UK’s total population is just under 67 million.

So, when we ask ‘Why Test’ there’s a few reasons to do so, if you are working in IT and you are doing a release of new software or upgrading your systems, ask yourself this, if this were a plane, would I be prepared to take the first seat on the first flight it takes? If the answer is no or you hesitate even for a split second to answer, then you really need to reconsider if you have tested enough.

The testing of software, whether within planes, banks or retailers alike is such an important aspect of the software development process. Testing is used to ensure the quality of the products being developed. During the testing cycles, you systematically work through the code, from unit, system, integration through to user testing, during which you detect bugs, fix them and retest, ensuring you get rid of bugs before the software is released.

By investing in testing and ensuring good quality control can help you develop better software. With more efficient and effective procedures, software quality will improve throughout the whole life-cycle for the projects and will enable that the best possible product is deployed.

It is a common misconception that testing improvement is only the responsibility of the test team. It’s a team effort, from the writing of the requirements to implementing the product. Firstly, you need to understand the existing testing process and identify the necessary measures to improve it. As the world and technology changes, so should your processes and procedures to meet the new demands and challenges, reviewing all on a periodical basis is a must as nothing remains current forever.

Although IT organisations want more for less, the guiding principles of testing remain fully intact, find bugs, reduce risk and build confidence that the product works as expected.

Testing ensures that bugs are identified prior to the deployment and are fixed. There have been instances when minor flaws in software have resulted in both human and monetary loss. A massive amount of money is invested in IT and the products and services it provides. A defected application can have adverse impact on the reputation and credibility of a business, resulting in lost profits/business/customers, a potential regulatory fine and depending how bad, loss of company. So before delivering the software to the hands of the customer, a company needs to ensure its products are tested, but ensuring the whole team plays a part in the quality assurance process. This is the reason why software testing has become an integral part of the IT industry in today’s world.

Enjoy your flight whilst you sit back and enjoy the journey and please do take time to appreciate the testing that has been undertaken to make your trip as seamless as possible.

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Topics: Software Testing

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Welcome to the nFocus software testing blog. As thought leaders and technical innovators, we created this blog to distil our thoughts, ideas and musings on improving software quality.

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