Software Testing in Startups
Before jumping into the main topic - software testing in startups, first let us look at what software testing is and why does anyone need it.
Software testing is a process which is used to evaluate software’s functionality. The main goal is to find that the software that an organization or an individual has developed meets the specific requirements and expectations or not.
Several bugs and defects are also identified using the software testing process so that the user will have a bug-free product and smooth experience with the software. There are many types of software testing that can be employed.
The type of software testing which needs to be incorporated depends mainly on the project that you are working on and the type of testing chosen will greatly affect the quality of the software or application.
In this article, we will discuss software testing in startups. Challenges and different strategies that are employed for Software Testing and Quality Assurance process in startups.
Why Startups Should Have a Testing Process Launch?
Whenever someone installs an app on their mobile phone or installs software on their personal computer the one thing they expect is that the app or the software should work properly and also it should run smoothly.
If an app or software loses data, crashes all the time, gives us the wrong answer or it runs too slowly, then the customer using the app becomes really frustrated, you might know the feeling because this kind of problem is common with many applications nowadays.
With the advancement of technology, any organization or individual can develop an app or software very easily and a user can download it very easily too. But there are very few apps which work smoothly and does not cause any type of problem. Even in the applications or software provided by the large organization have too many issues and bugs.
These bugs and defect software or application might turn out to be costly for both the developer and the client. And when we consider a startup there is so much on the line, they have wasted so many resources to develop an app or software and when it causes a problem then every effort and resource is just down the drain. That’s the main reason why a software startup or any other organization requires a testing process and a quality assurance process.
Financial Cost Of Software Bugs
The statistics that come from several studies also prove that the errors and the bugs in software cost so much of the resources. According to a study conducted in 2002 by the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the errors and the bugs in the software are so prevalent and detrimental that they cost up to $59.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy which is roughly 0.6% of the United States’ gross domestic product.
There is one more well-known incident that shows the catastrophic impact of these software failures.
In 2013, the website for healthcare exchange Healthcare.gov was said to be a disaster by the users and the main reason for this is a simple problem of a software problem. So, in order to build a better website, they have to spend around 292 million USD which is 3 times the initial estimate for building the website.
The common thinking here is that the organization invest so much money and effort on making the software so why not they test it and fix all the bugs. The thing is no one can build perfect error-free software.
Every form of software is prone to bug or errors due to various technical complexities which are mind-boggling. Most of the software and the apps are built with a package containing millions of lines of codes. And around 80% share of the development cost is being spent on debugging by most of the software development teams.
There are many factors which contribute to the quality issues of software some of these factors are decreasing the returns on debugging and testing together along with the limited liability provided by the software vendors.
With all the facts we can clearly say that software testing in startups is very important and crucial because it provides stakeholders, end-users, and developers with vital information regarding the performance and functionality of the software. The implementation of the testing process can be employed at any point of time in the development process, it also depends on the type of testing method which is chosen for testing.
Now the software testing in startups can be implemented in two ways, by manual testing or automated testing.
Manual testing as the name suggests is performed manually by human testers who check the correctness of the software, experience of the users, and then report bugs manually. On the other hand, automated testing is performed using various lightweight or open-source tools like Selenium, Sahi, or others.
A good testing process involves both types of testing because there are many things that are not detected by automated testing therefore in order to be more precise manual testing is also performed on top of the automated testing. In many expensive and large custom projects of software development, the requirements are complex and change very frequently. So, in order to deal with the changing requirements agile software testing is employed.
Startups and Agile Testing
The main feature of agile software testing in startups is that the software testing process should be an integral part and it should not be taken as a separate phase in the software development process. Agile development also employs more and more software testing.
In Agile development, the coding part and testing part is done incrementally and iteratively, working and creating on every feature of the software one by one until it seems reliable and provides a good amount of value in order to be released for production.
If a defect is found earlier in the software testing process, then it will be much easier and cheaper to fix that particular defect. After the development of the software, the process of fixing a bug or a defect will cost 100X than the cost which will be required to fix the bug if it is found early in the software testing process.
Every startup should spend at least 2–4 weeks of dedicated time on debugging. This is crucial in order to find some major bugs or defects and also to ask various what if question which will help them to ding any unforeseen error which might come up later on in the software.
There are many companies which will help you with these particular processes. Companies for software quality assurance and companies of software testing will assist you with accurate debugging and testing.
After the completion of testing and debugging any type of software or application can be converted into a consistent and strong product.
There are three main problems that every software startup faces in terms of testing, and they hope that these problems are addressed well by software quality assurance company. One is the issue of the time crunch. The second one is the lack of expertise in the development team which is fulfilled by the software quality assurance company. The third problem is that many startups don't know about the point from which they have to start attacking the quality problems of the software.
These software testing and software quality assurance companies are experts in analyzing the problems and implementing procedures for test automation. To evaluate the software so that the issues in the software can be detected and resolved to keep in mind the deadlines for the project. Their experience, specialized knowledge, and expertise of industrial tools ensure a reliable and smooth solution for startups.
Software Testing In Startups: The Biggest Challenges in Terms of the QA process
Startups face lots of challenges in their process of growing not only in terms of quality assurance and software testing but in every field. They have to keep up with the ever-changing technology, they have to manage their resources carefully and should monitor the progress of everything so that they can grow rapidly.
In terms of Quality assurance, there are certain challenges faced by startups, but there is a solution to everything so if those solutions are employed correctly then the path to success can be wide open.
Here are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to software testing in startups:
Achieving The Dream In One Step
Everyone wants to achieve success as quickly as possible. In startups also, you want to release everything at ones. In reality, this is not true.
You can’t release every single feature in just one version of the software due to so many obvious factors like budget and time constraints. Sometimes having an owner or leader who is indecisive can also prove to be an obstacle.
Everyone can think of a perfect schedule in which any type of work can be achieved in the desired amount of time but most of the times they forget that they have to put in a lot of work to follow their planned schedule.
They should plan carefully and give testers more than enough time to test the software or the application. Making an unrealistic schedule can be the biggest and worst problem and it will greatly affect the Quality Assurance of the software.
Plan the schedule well before starting testing and quality assurance.
Changing And Unclear Requirements
This is a very common challenge faced by startups and every other software organization because the requirements of the clients always change and many times the clients don’t know what they exactly want and layout unclear requirements to the company.
These unclear and changing requirements can cost so many resources and efforts to the company. This cannot be avoided as well because the requirements of the client will change the only thing startups can do is that they can adopt a methodology in which they can incorporate these changing requirements without changing the whole core of the software.
Utilization Of Automation Tools
This can be a point of advantage for startups but can also be proven as quite a big challenge to them in terms of Quality Assurance. Every company uses automation tools to optimize their testing and quality assurance process. But choosing a good automation tool requires some expert knowledge and one more thing to keep in mind is that the company should not 100% rely on automation tools.
Some manual quality assurance should also be employed to ensure that there is no unseen defect left in the software.
Lack Of Expertise And Resources
This type of challenge in most common in Startups as they are new in Business and they don’t have proper market growth so there is a chance that they can run out of resources.
The primary challenge here is however the lack of expertise in the area of Quality Assurance and software testing.
Most of the startup spent a lot of resources in developing the software while the phase of Quality Assurance is given a lot less attention. So trained resources and experience should be provided to these startups regarding Quality Assurance.
Startup is built on a dedicated and hardworking team but the team consists of human beings so there are very high chances of an unresolved issue between team members which will compromise the integrity and quality of the software.
Software Testing In Startups - Good Practices
These are a few of the major challenges faced by the startups in terms of Quality assurance, but these issues can be resolved easily if proper measures are taken.
First and foremost, communication within the team should be very good and smooth. Everyone should understand their role and respect every other team member. Communication proves handy in case of identifying and fixing bugs.
Another good measure is to take help from other companies that provide quality assurance, this will increase the speed of the work and the chances of errors will also decrease by a great factor.
Last and the most important thing every company should incorporate in their culture is reviewing its product as much as they can. This will help the companies move forward if they are stuck in a situation and it will also make their product close to perfect.
Every review will bring up more defects and bugs so every time the number of defects and bugs are getting fixed and decreasing.
When Should Startups Hire a QA team?
This is also a challenge faced by startups in terms of Quality Assurance. Deciding when to hire a Quality Assurance team seems like a simple decision but it affects so much for a startup.
If a company hires a Quality Assurance team too early, then there is a risk of spending the limited cash on Quality Assurance before it is necessary. If the Quality Assurance team is hired too late than the risk is even bigger because the software is at the later stages of development and a bug is identified later.
The cost of fixing might be much higher than the cost required to fix the bug in the early stages of the software development process. Before making this kind of decision which can affect the resources and quality of the product, the importance of hiring a Quality Assurance team and the value of hiring a Quality Assurance team at a particular stage should be kept in mind.
There are some products like a chat app or a social networking app which can survive only for a short period of time without a thorough and complete Quality Assurance process.
The software or applications which handle a very large amount of data containing sensitive user information needs a very thorough and complete Quality Assurance from the early stages of the Software development process.
So first and foremost, identify how important is the Quality Assurance to your software or product then only go ahead in making the decision.
Idea stage to the stage of Minimum Viability of your Product (MVP)
When your software or product is just in the idea stage the Quality Assurance is very likely to be a waste of resources and money. This is because the product is just an idea, and nothing has been developed yet so there will be absolutely no work for the Quality Assurance team hence there will be no point in hiring them.
Most of the startups have limited funds at the idea stage so they should put most of their resources in developing their product and taking the software from the idea stage to the MVP stage, focusing on Quality Assurance at this time will be waste of efforts and resources.
But you can apply Quality Assurance as broad strokes. At this stage, Quality Assurance will help you in realizing the best ways to do certain things and it will also help you in turning bad ideas into good ones.
If Quality Assurance is used moderately and smartly it will help you in developing your product and it will help you with moving in the right direction when your software is in the MVP stage and it can certainly help you realize a smoother and faster process to do such things.
But don’t give too much importance to Quality Assurance at this time rather use it to prove the feasibility of your product and also while discovering certain issues which might affect the development process so that you can take measures to avoid it and move forward with the software development process.
In the Alpha and Beta Stages of your Product
This is the stage at which the importance and need for Quality Assurance seem to grow higher. At these stages, you are giving your software to others to experience it and the software is no longer for internal use only and during this stage more focus in on creating a good functioning product for the investors of the company. Therefore, it is highly recommended to hire a Quality Assurance team at this stage so that most of the issues are fixed before handing the product to the investors and the community.
At this stage, Quality Assurance is about finding defects and bugs in your software or application’s structure and design. Here the testing is being done to uncover issues and bugs at the source code level which might be responsible for holding the progress of your software or the application as you move forward in the software development process.
Generally, at this time most of the startups showcase their product to the investors, so the Quality Assurance and testing become more prevalent to ensure that the software is ready for demonstration and there is no major defect which might cause the investors to back down.
When the investors see a defect-free product then there will be high chances of getting good capital from the investors for further development of your product. The main thing to achieve here is to show that your company is focused on creating a high-quality product.
When the product enters in the Beta stage the testing of the software will help you in identifying bugs and defects in your software so that it can be fixed before giving it to the earliest customers of the company.
This provides a lot of vital information to fix some major defects and bugs in the software or application so that it won’t affect the beta launch and initial post-launch of your software in a negative way.
Before and Shortly After launching your product
At this stage, the Quality Assurance testing is very important. The main focus of Quality Assurance testing process at this stage is on testing the complete application and verify whether the software or the application is ready for launch or not.
It is also beneficial in determining the risks that are associated with each defect and bug which will affect the software and also the potential costs related to those risks.
After launching the product, software testing in startups is used for finding defects and bugs and eventually performing thorough testing in order to make sure that the software runs smoothly and provides a user-friendly and bug-free experience. At this stage fixing bugs can have serious effects on your market reputation so everything should be done carefully.
These are the stages at which you should consider before hiring a Quality Assurance team. This also depends on the type of project which you are involved in but in most of the cases, the above arguments are true.
QA To Engineer Ratio - What Does It Mean
As the name suggests this is simply the ratio of the number of team members performing the Quality Assurance process to the number of engineers involved in the project.
These types of ration usually make sense only in larger companies and corporations where the people are seen as numbers but in the case of startups which are usually small in scale, there is no sense of this ratio.
The ratio depends on the project and all projects are different. In some projects, an engineer can be employed on the project which consists of performing full regression which runs on every platform which usually takes some days. While more than one engineer can be allocated to work in the animations which can be tested in just a few minutes.
Projecting the quality on the basis of some arbitrary ratios should never be utilized for measuring the quality of the product. It should be performed using sprint planning, grooming, or any other type of meeting where you can entail using only knowledge and not any arbitrary ratios.
In some startups, the cost of Quality Assurance testing using spring planning is calculated. Test cases are also written and added to the stories into the latest release version. Those test cases are added to the stories as well.
With the help of this, the company will get to know the added cost and they will be aware of what they are testing, and it is also done to ensure that they have a definite coverage.
Several startups review every test case which concerns major features. They also run a Quality Assurance triage while performing full regression every time when any feature goes into a phase of integration and everything else is included in the release. Startups are usually small, but the communication issues and the visibility should not be taken for granted if the main goal is to scale into a larger organization.
Testing Strategies For Startups
Every startup founder has a lot of things in his mind. There are many obstacles and roadblocks on the path towards success, but good decision makers will thrive their way to the top by overcoming every challenge that comes along the way.
Whether the product is in Alpha stage or in Beta stage which means whether customers can use it or not the software should be functional and smooth with the minimum number of bugs and defects.
Therefore, to make sure that their product is intact and have minimum bugs it is important for startups to make a testing strategy which will bend to their capabilities and work according to their application development requirement.
1. Use The MVP
In the beginning, make a small and simple version of your product (MVP). The team working on the software development process can easily understand the goal.
Building an MVP will cost much lesser money and the time taken to create. Working with MVP will have less risk associated with it in case of failure. If it is successful, then the company will already have a structure to build on and to create a new piece of code. The company will be sure to meet every user requirement.
The MVP stage should not be ignored by startups because this can cause a major setback at the later stages of the software development process.
2. Utilize Everyone For Testing
It is better to be one step ahead of everyone else so that one step is having dedicated testers and Quality Assurance team working in your startup. But there are many startups which do not have enough resources to afford a testing and Quality Assurance team.
To overcome such type of problem the startup can devote other team members like the members of the development team and business analyst too to contribute their efforts in testing.
Some of them can be used to assess the functionality of the software while some can be used to take the feedback on the performance of your software. The negative feedback can be taken into consideration and can be fixed by the developers by directly changing the code.
The most important thing in such cases is to prioritize the work and then proceed further because major issues need to be fixed urgently when compared to some smaller bugs.
3. Investing In Helpful Resources
While we can employ other team members to do the testing, providing them with the best assets and good technology for testing and other purposes will aid them in succeeding. One of the best assets a company can provide is investing in agile test management.
In the environment of agile software development collaboration and communication are highly valued and agile test management is capable of facilitating both of these practices. The test management tools scale parallel with your organization, the bigger the organization the better and bigger will be their test management tools.
Companies can also invest in better automation tools, but they should not fully neglect the benefits of manual testing. But investing in a good automation tool can optimize the work at a very greater level and can also result in the saving of some resources and efforts by optimizing the manual testing process.
4. Implementing a QA Process In Startups
The main goal of hiring or having a Software Tester in startups is that they can ensure that the product that is built met or not requirements and whether the development team involved in the project have a good understanding of the performance and the functionality of all the new features of the product or not.
One of the important things to keep in mind is that software testing in startups should not be treated as a separate phase, it should be considered as a part of the development process, it starts from the beginning of the software development process when the stories of users are written.
Development should be supported in the testing process, therefore, the activities involved in testing goes parallel with all the activities involved in the development process.
Not only that at each stage of the software development process you need to make sure that the code is completely and carefully tested. But before implementing a software testing in startups and Quality Assurance process make sure that you know the development methodology that is being used currently and the processes also and the various adjustments should be made for improving the process.
5. Software Testing Services For Startups
Startups can also invest in Software Testing Services to make things easier. Because in most of the startups the expertise and experience in the field of testing and Quality Assurance are not present therefore hiring companies which provide software testing services and quality assurance will make their way to success easier.
We have already discussed why the software testing services and quality assurance cannot be ignored by software startups and any other software company as it impacts their products
These Software Testing Services provide assistance and insight at every step of the software development process. They will also provide you more control over the whole process so that everything will be done according to your needs and requirements.
This will result in better and higher productivity for your team and organization. Most of the startup teams have expert developers and managers but they don’t have experienced QA Testers.
In that case, outsourcing the testing process to companies that provide good software testing services might be a good available given it is not a big investment and the value they offer is noticeable.
Read more => QA Testing Service Companies: How They Work
Software Testing In Startups - Conclusion
Any software startup should seriously consider the effects of performing software testing and quality assurance of their product as it will eventually decide their future success.
There are many challenges for a startup in terms of Quality Assurance but with proper measures, these challenges can be overcome so that the quality of the product should not be compromised.
The decision of when to hire a quality assurance team should also be discussed to a great extent because the resources are limited for a startup.
Moreover, the main aim is to provide a bug-free product which runs smoothly and fulfills every requirement of the customers.
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