One thing all brands have in common is the need to keep their customers happy. If you’re reading this, you likely rely on releasing high quality software to keep your customers, well…happy. While creating a great release relies on great development, insufficient testing could lead your organization down a dangerous path. One plagued by wasted time, money, and effort. Organizations without an Enterprise-level Test Strategy (ETS) find they pay a steep long-term price for even minor strategical inefficiencies.
Software failures can be devastating to company value and reputation. In a recent report, Tricentis analyzed 606 software fails from 314 companies to better understand the business and financial impact of software failures. The report revealed that these software failures caused $1.7 trillion in financial losses and a cumulative total of 268 years of downtime in 2017 alone. Software failures can be devastating to company value and reputation.
An ETS lays the foundation for company and product consistency by addressing test management, tools or techniques used, and how the testing itself will be performed. A major issue in large organizations is that quality assurance and testing are often separate silos, rather than integrated into a comprehensive testing strategy. This piecemeal approach to testing can result in inconsistent releases, loss of revenue, and unhappy customers. In the same way organizations have a single financial or HR strategy, they need an enterprise-level test strategy.
Reasons Why Organizations Need an Enterprise Testing Strategy
Consider for a moment the challenges facing QA and development professionals who work in complex or rapidly expanding enterprises. Consider each department, operating unit, office location, or project team that has a hand in ensuring the software they build, or rely on, meets quality standards. Now, let me ask you three questions:
1. What do you think the chances are that quality assurance is consistently planned, implemented, and measured across the organization?
2. How confident would you feel that the approach to quality assurance is set on a path to adapt to changing technologies and evolving market conditions?
3. How devastating to the company’s brand (or stock price!) would it be to release software products that disappoint or alienate customers?
The good news is that by establishing and sustaining an enterprise testing strategy, your organization and your customers can realize very real benefits, including the following:
Benefits to your organization
- Reduced duplication of quality assurance efforts and related resources
- Software quality assurance goals that are uniformly rolled-out and monitored
- Increased ability to integrate new QA-related technologies
- Increased ability to anticipate, plan for, and control QA-related costs
- Enhanced reputation for building reliable and forward-looking products
Benefits to your customers
- Products that are stable and user-friendly
- Heightened satisfaction with your products
Why Organizations Struggle to Adopt Enterprise Testing Strategies
The truth is that large organizations struggle to develop, implement, and manage a well-thought-out testing strategy across an enterprise. Common reasons for this struggle include:
- Responsibility for ensuring quality is limited to one area, rather than throughout every department.
- Software test tools, like those for Agile environments, are up-front investments with difficult to define ROI — unless, of course, you consider the consequences of releasing buggy software.
- Testing resources are silo’d among departments, rather than cross-networked.
- Software testing is conducted late in the software development lifecycle, as in the traditional waterfall method, rather than throughout the development cycle.
Would Your Organization Benefit From an ETS?
The complex interplay of business goals, financial strategies, development environments, and current processes can make the decision to develop and implement an enterprise testing strategy a daunting one. However, there are key ‘red-flag’ issues that point to a current testing strategy that’s failing your company. They are:
- Defect volumes that are too high, growing, or unpredictable
- Consistently rising customer support or maintenance costs
- An inability to anticipate or address production defects
- Inconsistently applied processes for using testing resources (i.e. people and tools)
- Confusion over responsibility for SQA, due to poorly defined roles and responsibilities
If these red-flag issues are apparent, it’s likely your organization could be one of those whose profitability is affected by insufficient or inconsistent testing. Red-flag issues should be primary drivers in the decision to adopt an enterprise testing strategy. The decision to deploy always rests on testing results; make sure your decisions are supported by a solid enterprise-wide testing foundation.