Benefits of Software Testing

Looking at the benefits of software testing from a business perspective can be quite a challenge if your a blue-hat, IT type of person as I am. To sell testing effectively though, its helpful to view testing from the perspective of the person who ultimately gets to make the decisions.

So here goes! The way I see it, business is about Profit and Loss. I’ve split up business as follows ;
1) Business want make money through sales
2) Business want cost cutting to improve the profit margin

Business want to sell things

If business is about selling products or services, how in business terms can software testing help sell a product? I’ve come up with the following possibilities;
1) Software testing discovers if critical functionality works. This is helpful to know when your trying to sell something (I’m assuming!)
2) Software testing makes sure that your product doesn’t negatively affect interacting systems. I suspect this helps encourage repeat sales.
2) It provides tangible results which can be used to sell the product. For example, you can use your proven high performance as a selling point
3) It demonstrates delivery from a contractual perspective through acceptance testing
4) It gives confidence to those selling the product. There is added benefit in knowing the product your selling works.
5) Certification can provide business a selling point. If your system conforms to a technical standard, it may help your product to be perceived as reliable.

Business want to save money

How can testing help save a company money?
1) Early fault detection reduces the cost of fault detection. The earlier a defect is found, the less development rework and re-test is required, minimising its implementation cost. The Baziuk Study (1995) estimates the relative cost to repair a defect found in Operations to be between 470 – 880 times the amount found in the Requirements phase of the lifecycle*
2)It delivers efficiencies in the software development process through metrics such as root cause analysis . These detect possible areas of improvement for software development.
3) Software testing is the source of information such as defect reports, metrics and results that assist IT perform their roles efficiently. Project managers rely on metrics to report on progress, operations, on tangible results to extrapolate future hardware requirements and developers on defect reports to fix their code.

As is plainly obvious, I do not a heavy background in business, so I’d be most interested in comments from those who have! And testers, how have you helped your company save money through testing?

*National Institute of Standards and Technology, May 2002