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Business value of testing

While most organizations consider testing valuable in

some sense, few managers, including Test Managers, can

quantify, describe, or articulate that value.

Many test managers, test leads or testers focus on the

tactical details of testing (aspects specific to the task or

test level) while ignoring the larger strategic (higher level)

issues related to testing that other project participants  care

about.

The Test Manager must work to optimize

testing so that good business value is delivered:

Testing excessively does not deliver good

business value, because the testing will

impose unreasonable delays and cost

more than it saves.

Testing too little does not deliver good business value

because too many defects will be delivered to users

The optimum lies between those two extremes and the

Test Manager must help testing stakeholders understand

this and the value delivered by testing.

Testing delivers value to the organization, project, and/or

operation in both quantitative and qualitative ways:


Qualitative values such as:

improved reputation for quality

smoother and more-predictable releases

increased confidence, protection from liability

reducing risk of loss of whole missions or lives

Quantitative values such as:

include finding defects that are prevented or fixed

prior to release

finding defects that are known prior to release (not

fixed but documented, with workarounds)

reducing risk by running tests

delivering information on project, process, and

product status

The Test Manager  should understand which of these

values apply for their organization, project, and/or

operation, and be able to communicate about testing in

terms of these values.

A well-established method for measuring the

quantitative value and efficiency of testing is called cost

of quality (or, sometimes, cost of poor quality).

It involves classifying project and operational costs into

four categories related to product defect costs:

Costs of prevention training developers to write more

maintainable or secure code

Costs of detection writing test cases, configuring test

environments, and reviewing requirements


Costs of internal failure fixing defects detected during

testing or reviews, prior to delivery

Costs of external failure support costs associated with

defective software delivered to customers

Distributed, outsourced or
insourced testing

Some or perhaps even all of the test effort is done by

people in different locations, employed by different

companies, or separated from the project team.

Distributed = test effort occurs at multiple locations

Outsourced = test effort is carried out at one or more

locations by people who are not employees of the

company and who are not co-located with the project team

Insourced = test effort is carried out by people who are

co-located with the project team but who are not fellow

employees