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Software Testing for Startups: Speed-Quality Balance

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Software Testing for Startups: Speed-Quality Balance

We’re exploring the importance of software testing in software startups and looking for a way to balance product quality with a fast time-to-market.

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When working on a software project launch, a lot of things don’t go as planned. What seemed technically perfect and game-changing on a paper might turn out to be an iceberg for your company’s Titanic. This is especially true for software startups ― probably the most fast-paced, stressful, and, at times, dramatic sector of the IT industry. Startup owners usually have very tight budgets all while having to impress their ROI-driven investors with fast, frequent, and high-performing releases. This frequently forces young entrepreneurs to neglect important parts of software development that might seem inessential at first glance. Unfortunately (for them) this can include software testing

In this post, we’re exploring the importance of software testing in software startups and looking for a way to balance product quality with a fast time-to-market.

Thorough Startup Software Testing: What If You Skip It?

Regardless of how many hours you decided to spend on testing your application, the aim behind it remains the same ― to check if your digital product works as expected. Thus, the main benefit of thorough testing is bug-free code that forms a seamlessly functioning software. As for whether the risks of surface-level quality assurance outweigh the benefits, the debate is still ongoing. 

Some lucky entrepreneurs, who in fact just lack professional background for now, argue that software testing is overrated. According to them, they personally did not spend much time testing their applications and the consequences weren’t as serious. And it’s not like we are trying to deny the existence of such experiences. The question is, are you ready to blind-bet your the future of your startup? Because that’s what is going to happen if you won’t take software testing for startups seriously. 

We strongly recommend that you always have software testing among your top priorities when it comes to software development, and here are just a few arguments to support our advice:

Recovering From a Bad Reputation Is Hard

Startup culture is a stand-alone thing in the world of information technology. Many entrepreneurs who tried to grow a startup have first-hand experience of going from rags to riches and back to rags again, sometimes in a matter of days. While being full of self-motivated and ambitious people, this industry still has shockingly high failure rates. If you don’t want to add your name to this list, make sure you put it on something worthy and reputable, as your first try might be your only try. 

Your Users Are Not Your Beta Testers

Putting out an application-to-be instead of a fully-functioning polished app means offering your customers a blind buy that “is supposed to be working”, but you can’t guarantee that. Frankly speaking, that’s simply disrespectful to your potential clients, as well as risky for your business reputation. If you want your product to be beta tested, then rethink the launch strategy and either put out a free beta version or hire a focus group to run tests and document the results.

There’s a big difference between prototyping and releasing a Minimum Viable Product, make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Bugs Can Have Fatal Consequences

We don’t mean to scare you, but would like to kindly remind you that people rely on software not only to post selfies and count likes, but also to run their lives and businesses. For example, US prisons use automation software to calculate the sentences in correlation with prisoners’ behavior. Due to a technical error found in this program, from 2002 to 2015 more than 3,000 prisoners were released earlier than they were supposed to. And don’t even get us started on airport management programs that were seen canceling active flights while registering passengers for non-existing ones. Still think buggy software should be tolerated? We don’t either.

Urgent Debugging Costs More Than Early Testing

Startup software testing is a complex process that requires skillful human resources, hours of manual work, as well as accurate reporting and documenting. Just imagine how much money it would take you to pull this off at an urgent request. And even if budget is not an issue, which is a rare case for startups but still, finding a reputable team that’s completely free at the moment and ready to take your project right away is barely achievable. If you think through the testing procedure beforehand, then you won’t struggle maintaining the time-to-market and funds balance, in any other case, prepare yourself for unscheduled splurges. 

Software Testing Does Not Take Ages to Perform

With modern approaches to QA, like unit testing or test driven development, the testing process does not wait for its turn to come after the product is ready, but takes place in parallel with the programming. In fact, if the project is well planned and quality assurance was added to the scope at an early stage, it won’t delay the development process even for a little. Vice versa, Agile software testing can even accelerate project’s creation while keeping the team stress-free about potential code pitfalls. Trust our experience, releasing an error-free product that does its intended job seamlessly feels incomparably better than a rushed launch that you can only pray to not become a failure. 

Is Quality Testing on a Budget Even Possible?

To put it briefly, yes. Today’s state of IT service market allows even the smallest of startups to afford professional software testing, mostly through outsourcing. IT outsourcing became popular as a tool to save money on software development services without compromising the quality of an end product. Due to the effectiveness of this strategy, it quickly expanded from programming only to web design, digital marketing, and, of course, quality assurance. In fact, QA occurred to be the easiest process to delegate to a third party, as sharing your product to someone who doesn’t know all the history behind it, therefore is totally unbiased, makes testing even more transparent and productive. 

As a startup owner, you might think that if you can’t afford a full-time Quality Assurance department, then your product is condemned to bad testing. It is simply not true, as the IT market offers a great variety of testing surfaces that can fit even in the tightest budget. QA outsourcing allows startups to get their products tested as fast as possible while saving a lot of money. This is because project-based cooperation with an outsourcing provider costs way less than a full-house team of QA engineers that you’d need to hire, onboard, and maintain in the long term. 

With software testing outsourcing, human resources and professional equipment are not your problems to manage. You can delegate the process and keep yourself focused on strategically important directions of your startup. All you need to do is introduce your project to the remote team and sketch your requirements, the rest is up to your provider. You get to collaborate with a team of experts that were hired and equipped with everything they need to effectively work on your project without your involvement.

Also, QA outsourcing is very flexible, most companies agree to customize everything from the team size to payment plan up to your preferences. The process of finding a relevant team and signing it up is also very simple these days, just browse a few websites like Clutch or UpFirms and read the reviews on QA outsourcing providers to pick one to your preference. 

Summing Up

There are many techniques you can use to speed up the development process, but not paying enough attention to software testing is probably the worst one. Moreover, in the days when the IT service market is so diverse and customer-oriented, you literally have no reason to deprive your startup of an in-depth quality check before the release. We strongly believe that today’s state of technology allows startups to successfully combine thorough testing with a short time-to-market period, namely by applying the QA outsourcing strategy.

Topics:
outsource qa services, performance, qa, qa and testing, startups

Published at DZone with permission of Andrew Smith . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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