Testers – what value add we provide?

As a tester what value add we provide? To answer this we need to answer few questions like
What is a business value of testing?
What is cost of quality?

Running tests by itself has no value add. Testing has value when it connects with some other goals or objective of the organization.
Some of the goals are listed below:

  1. Finding must-fix defects before release. This will reduce long term defect related cost.
  2. Finding less critical defects which have workaround. These workaround can be documented and reduce tech support and helpdesk cost.
  3. Reduce risk by running tests and giving confidence to delivery manager in releasing it to customer. This will give an assurance that the software will also pass the test on customer environments and probability of failure is less.

To measure the quantitative value add and efficiency of testing we need to look into Cost of Quality.

Cost of quality can be understood as cost of poor quality. Cost of quality shows that cost of poor quality is more and that good quality saves money. Cost of quality can be classified as

  1. Cost of prevention – Cost incurred to prevent bugs from happening. Example: training to development team.
  2. Cost of detection – Expense incurred in finding bugs and would include even if we do not find bugs. Examples: Test planning, design and execution etc.
  3. Cost of internal defects/failures – Expense incurred in re-work / bug fixing and expense of re-testing.
  4. Cost of external failures – Expenses we incurred because we did not found and removed all defects before release and there are defect leakages.

Spending effort on external failures are less if we spend more effort in defect prevention, detection and internal failures. It increases confidence that probability of external failures is less.

So it’s very clear that cost of quality is high if there is no internal testing. To phrase it correctly, no proper internal testing as you may argue that developers do testing. By Proper I mean complete end to end testing and not just unit level testing.

We clearly see that there is a need of testers and some value that testers can provide.
Also as a testers we should move out of our comfort zone and think ourselves as an independent advisor to customer and provide trusted advice to customer in terms of quality and quality improvement process.
Feel free to provide your thoughts on this.

 

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