by Jacquie Webber
Test Manager, KFA Connect
Why Bother to Test?
So, you’re just about to board a plane to go on holiday to somewhere hot and sunny that you have worked all year for and are looking forward to relaxing.
You overhear a conversation between the pilots that the plane has a new engine and they hope it works ok as this is its maiden flight and it hasn’t been tested.
Still feel excited to be going on holiday? Really? I suspect not.
Now we may not be in the market for testing plane engines but the principle is the same.
All the reasons why you would want an engine on a plane to be tested, is the same irrespective of what is being tested, although of course there are far more devastating consequences to an aeroplane engine not working than say for a ballpoint pen that keeps breaking.
So why do we test?
Well, of course, the obvious answer is to ensure something works. But software testing is so much more than that. It can be the difference between being profitable in business and going bust.
If a plane has multiple issues and flights keep being cancelled or redirected, customer’s will quickly lose confidence and will stop flying with the airline and it won’t survive.
Business reputations can take years to build up again and for many smaller businesses this just takes too long and they will have no choice other than to go bankrupt. Causing hardship for customers and the staff that work for them.
So how can we avoid these pitfalls? Testing!
Testing is a vital requirement to any business. Even a change to a working practice that doesn’t involve any engineering or computer systems, needs to be tested. Everything on paper can look so straightforward but it is not until you actually walk through the steps of a process can you determine whether or not it works. And then you might be happy with it and then someone comes along and says ‘that’s not going to work for ‘us’ because…..’
So how do we ensure that what is being tested will suit the needs of ‘everyone’. Simply by gathering what everyone does and documenting it. These requirements are sent to all interested parties and each party is required to sign off these, ‘before’ any changes are made.
When the work comes into a Testing Department the testers will ensure that tests are planned to meet each of the requirements. But good testers rarely just settle for proving the requirements provided. They think above and beyond what is expected, after all, our mission is always to try and ‘break’ things and we know from experience that for business users, where there’s a will there’s a way.
And that brings me onto what makes a good software tester and…
Can just anyone test?
Well, that could be answered with ‘yes’ in that physically it is not beyond most people’s capabilities to follow a process. But testing is much more than just that. It is a very specialised area for which testers take exams and courses to learn new testing techniques.
- It requires an inquisitive mind, an ability to pay attention to detail and the confidence to challenge and stand by your own convictions.
- It requires the tester to follow processes and document consistently, the test approach followed.
- It requires with the help sometimes of the business, to determine which processes are high risk and therefore vital to be tested and which are a low risk that might or might not be tested depending on time constraints.
- It is not possible to test absolutely everything; the end would never be reached so a tester needs to be able to assess the most important areas of testing.
- It requires a calm approach as testing is always the area that gets squeezed at the end of a project where the deadline is fast approaching.
So why bother to test?
Testing is necessary whenever any change is proposed, to ensure that the process or equipment continue to work once the change has been made and the processes around it continue to work as they did before the changes are made. In a market where customers are vital for survival, it is imperative that organisations invest time and money in their testing services.
At KFA we are proud of the testing service we provide. We are committed to providing the best service to our customers and work with them to improve their business processes.