Anyone who touches product development knows all too well the importance of QA. But what about those at the executive level?
CIOs and CTOs might have different priorities than their product development teams, but at the end of the day they should care about testing just as much as everyone who touches the software. That’s because properly managed testing — meaning testing that’s consistent, repeatable and occurs early and often — can actually speed time to market and prevent buggy software. As a result, the right testing strategy can increase revenue, drive innovation and prevent costly mistakes.
With that in mind, how can you convince your CIO (or CTO) that they should care about testing? Start with these five points of interest:
Why Your CIO Should Care About Testing
1. Reduced Risk
If your business doesn’t test new software releases (or test them properly), that means your customers will do the testing for you. And if your customers find a problem, chances are they won’t be happy.
While there are several advocates for shift right testing, in which users test new releases in production, this approach can prove risky, particularly if your software handles any type of sensitive data. And a shift left approach is shown to be more effective for testing in DevOps. The bottom line? Properly testing software can reduce risk by decreasing the likelihood that your business brings to market a buggy app that leads to unsatisfied users, losses in revenue or, worst of all, serious data breaches.
2. Measure Return on Development Investment
Your CIO likely spends a significant amount of money on development. If you don’t pair that development with testing, it’s akin to pouring money into a project without ever stopping to look at the results.
CIOs want to make sure they get the proper return on all the money they spend on development and engineering, and the only way to do that (not to mention the only way to fully understand who’s doing good work) is to test what each team builds. Otherwise, your CIO will simply have to take your developers’ word that the team built what they were supposed to, built it well and fully delivered on the project plan.
3. Improved Timelines
Historically, testing occupies the last phase in a development plan. If that’s the case, testing has an immediate impact on factors like release date and overall time to market, which are critical to business success, especially when competition is high.
However, if your team lacks a well managed testing process that’s made consistent through automation, a lot can go wrong. For example, something as simple as a tester getting sick can throw off the entire end of the production schedule. Instead, CIOs should invest in making testing as repeatable as possible to avoid these types of unforeseen delays.
Taking this one step further, if your team embraces a shift left so that testing occurs earlier and more often throughout the development process, it can actually help speed time to market, leading to even more time savings.
4. Increased Efficiency
Your CIO should also care about more than just testing taking place at all — he or she should care about having dedicated testers. If you assume testing needs to be done regardless of whether you have good testers and repeatable processes, that means you may very well end up with developers who also handle testing. This doubling up might sound ideal in theory, but it can actually decrease efficiency.
Developers are expensive resources whose main responsibility is to write code, and making the switch from writing code to testing code requires an entirely different mindset. While having developers who can also test is a big benefit, asking these developers to switch context from writing code to testing code on a regular basis can decrease efficiency. Especially for large organizations that develop new software at scale, there are enormous efficiency gains that come from having dedicated testers.
5. Enhanced Feedback Loops
Along the same lines, investing in dedicated and experienced testers who can act as subject matter experts delivers numerous benefits by creating a real-time feedback loop. For example, these subject matter experts can provide feedback on areas of the software that might need extra attention or simply aren’t feasible, and they can do so early on in the development process. That timing makes it inexpensive in terms of time and money to make any changes as needed.
In contrast, if you don’t do any testing or have testing conducted by developers (who are typically unable to take on the perspective of end-users the same way that experienced testers can), you won’t have that feedback until the software gets into the hands of your end-users. And when that feedback does come, making changes can often be costly because you’ve already devoted time and money to building something that doesn’t properly meet users’ needs.
Help Your CIO Understand (and Improve) the Business Impact of Testing
From reduced risks and costs to increased efficiency, there are countless benefits that come from paying attention to and investing in testing. As a result, it’s important for everyone from the product development team to the c-suite to care about testing. And when they do, your entire organization can work together to create a well managed testing environment that has a positive impact on the business’ bottom line.