Software Testing In Times Of Crisis. Quality Maintenance Strategies

I would like to direct my article to people who run startups and technology companies in which the process of building a product is still ongoing, however, as C-level people, they faced the problem of maintaining quality. 

They lack new hands to work, but in times of epidemics and impending economic slowdown, they are afraid to employ full-time new specialists in manual or automatic testing.

As the founder of Apphawks, a software testing company, I can offer several strategies. I think that we all currently need a more flexible approach to business.

I am familiar with the strategies I'm going to present because we use them in Apphawks. Many founders, technical leaders, are not aware of them. I note that these are not optimal approaches, but optimizing your budget.

Foot-in-the-door technique

Foot-in-the-door is considered one of the manipulative techniques, but I think it can be used as the name of the first testing strategy in times of crisis. What do I mean?

You can choose a half-measure. Start with two hours of normal test work per day. Two hours a day is 40 hours a month. It's more than nothing. If hiring new testers is out of the question, e.g. due to lack of stability - try to distribute your company's human resources in such a way that each project has a person responsible for quality.

Of course, two hours a day is not enough, especially if the product is complicated and would require automated testers. Nevertheless, someone would check your developers' work. Of course, you can transfer these two hours to an outside company like Apphawks. 

Strategy - audit, and diagnosis of the situation

I imagine a situation in which your startup or part of a technical team is working on a new product or a large module, but as a technical leader or a company founder, you would like to assess the actual quality of the product. If you have had some negative experiences after releasing other products, now you are really worried. 

Again, you don't want to take new people to your team during the epidemic, you think like everyone else - "let things calm down a bit," but you're still on the deadline.

At Apphawks, we do what we call a situation diagnosis. We check and even automate your product for 100 hours. It is as if a Tester was checking your product for one month.

Of course, it is also a half measure, because testing is not something that is done and finished at one time. Like product development, testing is a continuous process. 

Still, it is worth doing a product audit before an important "release". Such feedback - positive or negative, will allow you to fix glaring errors and minimize the risk of entering the market.

There is one condition, you can't wait until the last moment. As a team, we would need a month to get to know the product and to start testing it.

During this time, we work in close cooperation with your development team and report our comments, tickets, and requests every day. We share Jire, Gitlab and other tools together.<

Full-time testing services 

It is a similar offer as before, except that the scale of product operation and penetration in terms of quality is much larger. 

A normal employee who is looking for a full-time job expects stability. Stability is currently shaken. Flexible solutions are better.

If you didn't want it before, you had concerns - check how QA outsourcing works. Sign a contract for 3 months and decide what to do later. This is not a wedding, you only sign a fixed-term contract. You may not extend it. It doesn't hurt as much as firing an employee. 

What does a full-time service give you? First of all, the opportunity to work in accordance with agile, the possibility of applying DevOps practices, CI. That is these latest processes. 

If the testing agency writes automated tests, the code is yours. You have the copyright to it and require it in the contract. Also, require NDA if you care about data protection.

In terms of cost, it is similar to employing an employee, but with some reservation: the entire sum is intended for testing. The costs of preparing the workplace, infrastructure, covering the costs of sick leave, and insurance are gone.

There are no so-called hidden costs. Your budget is only for checking the quality of your product. This is a big plus in times of epidemic.

A few final words

I could describe a few other steps that can be found in times of crisis. 

What I mean, above all, is that you don't give up testing the software. Testers are an important part of the technical team. Let developers write unit tests, but this will not replace a testing specialist.

Choose a flexible approach. This is better than growing technological debt. You don't have to accept it!

If my arguments reach you and you find value in this short text, write to us, to me. We are happy to help and make new friends :)

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Grzegorz Kłos
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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