If your goal or the goal you give to a web testing company is “go fast and break things” then you should skip this.
But, if your goal is to build websites and web apps that delight your clients and that propels your company to achieve its goals, then there is something for you to learn in this post.
We’re occasionally asked to “just test this for us” and we’re happy to do that. After all, we’re a software and web testing company. It would be silly not to.
But, if you knew a little more about what is possible with software testing and quality assurance, would it influence your decision about which web testing company you choose and what you asked them to do?
OK, then, here’s what’s possible that you might be missing when you ask a web testing company to “just test” your software.
You want it tested to find the defects that will cause your software or web application to ABEND (any old JCL/Cobol programmers out there?), crash or disrupt your customer from achieving their goal.
You want defects!
But Wait, Just Defects?
Yes and no.
Yes, you want as many defects as your web testing company can find for you. After all, it’s better that we find them than your customers and prospects, right?
And, all software has defects, right? It just goes with the territory and that’s why all software needs to be test.
But, what if you could also reduce the number of defects your team produces and figure out how to build software faster?
Would it help you, your team and your company if merely by having your software tested, you also found out how to measurably improve your software production speed and reduce your software development costs?
The Hidden Secret of Effective Website and Web App Testing
Here’s a secret that few people take advantage of – your web testing company should also have a QA Manager that can help you pinpoint broken places in your software development process where you are building your web software inefficiently or ineffectively. The QA Manager should help you see where you’re either doing it poorly or doing it wrong.
And yet, most people never take advantage of this hidden gem for one of two reasons.
- You just don’t ask your web testing company how they could help you build better software. In most cases, this is because most web testing companies simply sell you a tester. When you have a Test Engineer on your project, you’ll have the confidence and opportunity to ask where they think your process could be improved.
- Your web testing company doesn’t provide an experienced QA Manger on every project. An experienced QA Manager has seen and successfully completed hundreds of software testing projects. They’ve seen it all! An experienced QA Manager has an enormous toolbox just packed full of QA and Testing methods, processes, tools, tips and tricks that they’d love to share with you. And, you’re hearing from your web testing team every day (you do get daily status reports, right?) and these are the perfect opportunity to get advice and feedback from your web testing company’s QA Manager on how you might improve your software production process.
You should expect more from your web testing company. More than just defects or bugs. You should get help to improve your process so you spend less time and money in the future.
Give Your Web Testing Company Clear Goals If You Want Clear Outcomes
You will almost always need more testing than you can afford. It’s just the nature of software and the art/science of software engineering. You already know this. I’m sorry that it is this way and hope you’ll find some hope and relief in this article.
Since there is more testing work than you can afford, your web testing company will need to decide what to test and how to test it.
Clear goals prevent wasted time and money chasing the wrong thing.
Clear goals for your software testing company will ensure that you are satisfied with the outcomes and value they produce for you.
Clear goals are the #1 factor leading to effectively achieving your goals.
Crystal Clear Constraints Equal On Time Results
You can only afford so much. Budgets are budgets and we all have to make do with less sometimes. Sometimes, even your patience and available time are a constraint – you hired a web testing company to help – why are they asking all these questions?
That’s fine and expected. But, you still need to get the testing coverage you need in the timeline you’ve got so you can achieve your business goals.
Clear constraints (money, time, talent, patience, etc) will help your web testing company make accurate promises, plans, and estimates.
Clear constraints help us further understand your goals and how we can help you.
Lack of clear constraints is the #1 reason most projects end abruptly without completion.[av_button label='Read a true story about how TESTCo worked miracles by knowing the goals and constraints before testing even started.' link='manually,http://testco.com/blog/web-application-testing-case-study/' link_target='' size='medium' position='center' icon_select='yes' icon='ue82d' font='entypo-fontello' color='theme-color' custom_bg='#444444' custom_font='#ffffff' admin_preview_bg='' av_uid='av-9ertm']
Clear Strategy Equals Repeatable and Sustainable Results
For TESTCo, Strategy is the process of assembling a set of assets with advantages and actions relative to achieving the goal. A solid Testing Strategy will help us achieve your goals within your constraints.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat or test your software.
“Just test it” is a strategy but it ignores almost everything you need to be successful.
What is a Software Testing Strategy and How do We Use It to Help You?
Very simply, a strategy is a collection of assets that have a specific advantage that can be put into action to help you achieve your goal within your constraints.
A strategy helps you fill the “How will we do this?” gap that sits in between your goal and your constraints.
Most goals are aimed at Zero or very minimal defects when the software is deployed. Most constraints are time and budget – it needs to be done by a certain date and within a certain budget.
Once you know the goal and the constraints, you can begin to find and organize your “assets” to work (within the constraints) to achieve your goal.
There are three challenges in this approach that you’ll need to be prepared for.
- Which software testing strategies are relevant and effective to your goal and constraints?
- Of those relevant strategies, which will give you the biggest outcome for the least cost and risk?
- Do you have all the “assets” you need to pursue your strategy?
If you’re a seasoned QA Manager, you probably already have a list of “go-to” software testing strategies. If you’re not a seasoned QA Manager, your web testing company should have a QA Manager that can walk you through this easily.
At TESTCo, we typically evaluate two or three strategies before selecting and recommending the best for our clients to achieve their goals within their constraints.
“Testers” Usually Don’t Have a Strategy
“Test Engineers” and “QA Managers” have a library of different testing and QA Strategies they can employ to achieve your goals. That’s why TESTCo only employs test engineers. That’s why a QA Manager is assigned to every project. Your web testing company should provide these for you!
“Just Test It and Hope For the Best” is also a strategy, it’s just not a very good one. That’s one reason you want to be careful about hiring a company to test your software, website and apps.
Lack of a strategy is the #1 reason for looking foolish to your boss or customers.
Goals, Constraints and Strategy Equal Value and Delight
You know you need testing for your software, website, or web application and you also know you have a limited budget.
Sure, you can get it “tested”.
If you’ll share your Goals and Constraints with us, we’ll show you that you can have more.
Your boss and customers will appreciate it.