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Improving Productivity with Better Software Testing

Software testing is vital, and done right can improve productivity. Read on to find out how.

· Agile Zone

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Software testing is a necessity for any development effort — just about every executive agrees with that. From there, though, there's far less consensus.

One of the biggest issues that companies grapple with in this area is the question of when to upgrade to a new software testing solution. In many cases, decision-makers tend to resist such a change, assuming that implementing new testing tools will be too costly and disruptive. However, this argument overlooks one of the most important advantages that a better software testing tool can deliver... improved productivity. The right testing tool can dramatically reduce inefficiency and increase the overall effectiveness of the testing team. These operational improvements will more than justify the cost of investment.

Productivity Concerns

Productivity is a constant concern when it comes to software testing teams. As industry expert Bogdan Iulian Molecea pointed out on the Ness blog, the time — and costs — devoted to software testing will frequently wind up being just as significant as those associated with the actual development of the software. In some cases, testing will actually use up more resources.

This potential productivity drain is especially problematic as competition across industries continues to heat up. This is the same trend that frequently causes agile development processes to minimize the role of testing, seeing this stage as more of a roadblock than an essential and valuable element of the software development process. As our earlier blog made clear, though, it is entirely possible to balance speed with quality in agile development. Similarly, with the right tools, software testing's productivity can increase dramatically.

The right tools will lead to a productivity boost.

The Right Tools

That’s where better software testing tools enter the picture.

When an industry expert or business leader focuses on the "productivity problems" associated with software testing, they are not saying that testing has no value. Rather, the issue is that the testing process may be broken.

The right software testing tool can help dramatically improve the performance of the testing team in several different areas. For one thing, the new testing tool will enable testers to share test cases. This means that testers do not have to constantly start from scratch when the testing process begins. That alone can save a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Additionally, the better testing tools will capture every detail while the tester is exploring the application (screenshots, bugs, platform, environment information, etc.). The right tool can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need to create manual documentation. Tedious manual documentation is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons why testing is so frequently seen as inefficient, and it also serves as a constant source of frustration for testing team members themselves.

Integration is another major factor. A modern testing tool will have a real-time integration with application lifecycle management (ALM) tools, making it easier for users to work across the different applications and the keeping data up-to-date. An older testing tool will often not allow for this level of flexibility or fluidity.

Last but not least, there's the issue of reporting. Many testing teams continue to rely on Excel spreadsheets for their reporting, manually building out new KPI reports for each new project. But, there are always questions. Is the data up-to-date? Do I have the latest version? The modern software testing tools have robust reporting capabilities that make analytics reporting easy and accurate.

Together, these factors can have a massive, positive impact on the productivity of the software testing team. And yet, this only scratches the surface of the advantages that an upgrade to better testing tools has to offer.

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Published at DZone with permission of Kyle McMeekin, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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