An inadequate approach to software testing puts businesses at risk

Software failures are usually caused by a problem in the code that causes a program to crash or produce false results. While some application failures can be quickly resolved, many can cost businesses significant time, lost revenue, and reputational damage. Take the Facebook outage in October 2021 – the worst the company has suffered in the past decade. This resulted in a 5% drop in the stock price and a loss of billions in its market capitalization value.

But as companies accelerate their digital transformation strategies to gain competitive advantage, the pace of software development continues to increase at a breakneck pace. This puts enormous pressure on IT teams to quickly develop and release software, often with limited resources. However, a critical step in releasing new software is to deploy the right testing capabilities to find and fix errors in advance. But, despite this, risks are taken and corners are cut.

According to a recent study by Leapwork, around 85% of UK CEOs find it acceptable to release software that has not been properly tested until it is fixed later. Additionally, 79% of testers say that up to 40% of software is released without sufficient testing. This indicates what appears to be a careless attitude towards software testing, which could have lasting negative consequences.

Software Testing Challenges

Software testing is essential to identify defects and bugs in the code and allow you to check whether the program meets the expected requirements in terms of functionality, compatibility and design. Historically, software testing was done manually, with testers playing the role of an end user and using application features to ensure correct behavior. But as software development gets faster and more complex, manual testing can no longer keep up. Companies are trying to move to automated testing to handle the most sophisticated requirements.

However, the vast majority of tools on the market are complex and code-heavy, meaning they have to rely on developer skills to work and are difficult to maintain. Along with a major global shortage of development skills, this is creating severe bottlenecks, increasing costs, and delaying project delivery times as development teams attempt to hone hand testers, hire new talent, and to rely on their existing developers for help. At the same time, companies must meet tight deadlines to deliver quality quickly and meet new customer demands. It all culminates in a disappointing 15% of software testing is successfully automated today, despite the rapid pace of digital transformation.

Lack of testing is an impending disaster

Although almost all testers are concerned that insufficiently tested software developed by their company will be released, 75% of CEOs say they are convinced that their software is tested regularly. This shows a huge disconnect between CEOs and testers regarding the adequacy of software testing, with challenges going unnoticed and not compounded until it’s too late.

When it comes to the impact of a failure, more than half (54%) of CEOs and 31% of testers say software failures have damaged their company’s reputation over the past five years, indicating that they understand the consequences of releasing software that has not been properly tested. But an alarming number of CEOs still think it’s okay to release it and prefer to rely on patch testing to fix any issues afterwards.

Reasons Why Software Is Not Tested Properly

While most business leaders understand the importance of software testing, 40% of CEOs whose company uses or develops in-house software that goes to market say that “reliance on manual testing” is the top reason why their software is not tested properly before being released. . However, 50% of testers say they always use an automation element.

The “lack of qualified developers” is another reason, according to just over a third of CEOs (34%) and testers (36%). This indicates that the digital skills gap is still a big problem, with companies struggling to find the right skills to handle test automation.

More than a third of CEOs (36%) and testers (35%) cite “underinvestment in testing staff, including continuing professional development” as the main reason, implying that companies are not focusing enough their efforts on the development of the testers.

An automated future

As more companies move from manual testing to automation to meet increasingly complex software testing requirements, they struggle to scale their chosen solutions and take advantage of existing skills in quality assurance services. Why? Because many solutions on the market rely on low code to handle the process. Combine that with the pressure to meet digital transformation goals, and companies are taking shortcuts and taking risks.

On the current trajectory, more and more businesses will be plagued with outages and outages that could cost them dearly in terms of financial and reputational damage. Companies should strengthen their software testing practices by considering a different approach and adopting solutions such as no-code test automation systems that do not require coding skills. This opens the barrier to entry for software testing and ensures companies can access a wider range of talent to manage the process. Only then can the testing process be improved, challenges overcome and attitudes changed.

Image credit: alpha spirit / Shutterstock

Christian Brink Frederiksen is co-founder and CEO of leapwork.