When it comes to software project planning, there are numerous considerations to make and that list is continuing to increase as development becomes more complex. One of the most important aspects, however, is budgeting. Assigning the right amount of funds to each element from the beginning will be crucial to ensuring that initiatives don't go over available resources, but there must also be a little wiggle room for unforeseen circumstances. Quality assurance and test automation integration must also be well provisioned in order to thoroughly vet each project. Let's take a closer look at what percentage of your budget should be devoted to these needs:
Demand for Strong QA
In today's mobile world, users are no longer complacent when it comes to the quality of their applications. If an app is released with defects, rather than waiting for a new version to come out, people can simply download a different program from a competitor that better fits their needs. This kind of environment marks why businesses need to get their software right the first time, which puts increasing pressure on QA teams to deliver up to these expectations.
With all of this emphasis on strong QA and testing capabilities, it makes sense that budgets for these initiatives are steadily increasing and that a sizeable investment is required in having a robust software quality assurance solution in place. In fact, according to the World Quality Report 2015-16 — conducted by Capgemini, HP and Sogeti — 35 percent of IT budgets are being allocated to QA and testing. This marks a 9 percent increase over last year, and demonstrates just how critical app quality is becoming to business priorities. The spend of this area is expected to continue growing to 40 percent within the next three years, indicative of the weight QA has in project and company success.
Where Automation Fits in the Budget
As a part of QA and testing efforts, automation will be a critical asset to provide for, as it can significantly help streamline workflows and improve quality across the board. The World Quality Report noted that 39 percent of respondents found reliance on manual testing to be their biggest technical challenge - which leads to long lag time between development phases and overburdened developers. The good news is that automated test cases have grown from 28 percent to 45 percent. By increasing investment in automation, QA teams will be able to manage their testing operations more efficiently and better control overall spending for their development efforts. In addition, automation helps improve defect detection and reduces cycle time, making it a major benefit to any software project.
"Increased and instantaneous levels of test automation will be mandatory for coping with the growing demand for velocity," The World Quality Report stated. "The future of testing will be a maximized digital environment in which test services can be consumed, managed and reported."
How Much Should Be Provisioned?
Although automation is a major initiative for numerous organizations, overall investment numbers remain cloudy. For example, this year, maintenance received 52 percent of the QA budget, whereas transformational initiatives got 48 percent. As Capgemini reported in a release for 2014's World Quality Report, this trend was completely reversed. Last year, 52 percent of overall testing budgets were devoted to testing new applications while 35 percent was used for human resources. This shift shows that although teams are trying to adopt automation and other enterprise test management solutions, the journey to do so will require some work. Ultimately, your investment will depend on how many of your workloads can be automated and what elements will be more effective in this space. Increasing spending for automation will be a major boost to overall testing productivity and will significantly cut down time to complete tasks.
"At one level, this increase in spending is a positive trend in that it demonstrates the value now being afforded to QA and Testing and its acknowledged importance at a strategic level for assuring business outcomes," World Quality Report 2015-16 stated. "But it also suggests an urgent need to invest more in the efficiency of QA and Testing. Indeed, it is our belief that any level above 30 percent is an indicator that testing needs to become more efficient."