How can you reduce risk when implementing agile development in your SDLC?
If you’re a software developer or part of the quality assurance team, you’re probably already carrying a heavy workload. Part of that load could be the task of testing your software for functionality and usability, among other things. Creating, managing, and executing these tests no doubt requires a lot of your time and resources. So, you’ve started looking for testing solutions. You could hire in-house testers who would obviously be at your beck and call to test the software. There are some problems with this approach, however. First, in-house testers might have a need to please or biases that could end up compromising their objectivity. Second, if you need to test a mobile app, for instance, it would be difficult to provide extensive device coverage to test your app thoroughly. The other option to testing then is to use a professional testing service.
If you’ve done any sort of research about professional testing services, then you probably know you have several options. There are automated testing services as well as manual testing services. These modern testing solutions are agile enough to help you test on-demand and provide results in a timely manner. Testing services do the heavy-lifting, so you can keep up with a demanding delivery schedule, and by removing the test management burden, you are able to focus on creating the best possible product. Testing services like test IO can be integrated into your workflow and rely on the power of crowdtesters, which can be beneficial because this allows real people to test your software without risk. That said, convincing your boss or stakeholders to spend the money to utilize an external testing service could be another matter. So, how do you convince them?
The simple answer is to sell them on the benefits of software testing as a service:
Another factor you have to consider in your case for utilizing a professional service is the return on investment (ROI). Leaders want to know they are getting their money’s worth when investing in a service. You should be able to estimate the time you save by using a service. You could also compare the cost of hiring in-house testers to the cost of the service. But in many ways, a testing service is an insurance of sorts; by using a testing service, you’re trying to prevent issues that could negatively impact your business' profit and image. Calculating the ROI on that isn’t as clearly defined. But if your software product focuses on e-commerce, then you could look at hypotheticals, such as what if you had an undetected bug that affected your average conversion for a week, day, or even hour? Most likely in these scenarios, you should be able to arrive at a clear ROI for your testing service.
However, it turns out there’s more to convincing someone than just presenting the benefits and ROI. According to Susan J. Ashford and James R. Detert in their article “Get the Boss to Buy In,” convincing leaders to invest in a testing tool or process requires not just the presentation of the facts but also the person trying to sell the idea to consider “the best ways, venues, and times to voice their ideas and concerns--using rhetorical skills, political sensitivity, and interpersonal connections to move the right leaders to action.” In their study, Ashford and Detert questioned which factors helped the participants succeed in generating buy-in for a variety of issues. While I recommend reading their article in its entirety, here’s a list of the seven factors they consider most integral to success:
As far as offering solutions goes, you definitely want to have done your research to find testing service companies that can meet your unique needs and have a proven track record. Many testing services, such as test IO, offer free product demonstrations. This is a no-risk way of seeing just how a particular testing service can help you implement thorough software testing into your particular product development life cycle.
There’s no shortage of statistics out there that suggest users will not have the patience for you to work out the kinks with your software. Why risk losing profits from missed sales opportunities due to bugs or usability issues? Why risk damaging your brand’s reputation and garnering negative reviews? It’s better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to software development, and a testing service can help you stay ahead of the competition. So, as you compile hard data, perhaps also consider adding anecdotal feedback about how a testing service can streamline and improve processes, all while safeguarding your business against negative user backlash or lost profits.
Chances are you aren’t a salesperson by nature, so attempting to persuade your boss on using a testing service might seem daunting. To increase your chances for success, just remember to find support from colleagues, gather data, and present your case thoughtfully when the timing feels right.