The Importance of Software Testing
What is the Importance of Software Testing?
There are entire phases in the SDLC dedicated to software testing. Traditionally, this is done after the developer has finished building the software – it’s left to the test team to do the testing on it. This, in my opinion, is the most important part of the SDLC process.
The reason why this is so important is because it is a major factor in getting good quality software. Developing software that works and works well is the ultimate goal of a project, and the testing phase is where this is done.
The software testing phase can be broken down into several smaller stages, each of which has its own importance:
Unit Testing – testing each software component individually, to check if it is working properly separately.
System Testing – tests the entire system as a whole, ensuring all components work as expected.
Regression Testing – tests the entire system against a predefined test list, to ensure new changes don’t affect existing functionality. This is important for software upgrades and updates.
These are the main types of software testing and each is important. I believe there are three main reasons we do software testing.
Software Testing Results In Less Maintenance
The purpose of software testing is to ensure good software quality. Good quality software means it has fewer defects or problems, works well, and does what needs to be done. When you do software testing as part of a development project, you aim to pick up and find all problems in the system before they are released to end users.
In an ideal world, developers would build software that works the first time, and doesn’t have any issues. However, this doesn’t happen very often – bugs appear in the system and there is a software testing phase to work around them. If found before release, that’s great. If found after release, that means it will take time to find a fix and do more testing against it – all while the end user is using the software.
The time required to fix defects after the software is released is significantly more than during the testing phase. This is because the fix requires further testing, and needs to be aligned with a maintenance release or other schedule that the organization has set up. Getting it right the first time when you release it is almost always the preferred approach.
Good Software Testing Results In Enhancing User Morale
As mentioned above, fixing bugs in the system before release is preferable. Another benefit of doing this is that it increases user morale and trust in the software. What happened?
Let’s say Project A has been completed but software testing is not done well. Software works, but not very well, but still released to users. They started using it, and while it does some things well, there are still unresolved issues that are keeping some parts from working as expected.
This causes users to become frustrated with the tool – which is not a good thing for the organization or project team. The flaw could eventually be fixed, but the reduced user morale would take some time to recover.
Or, Project B has been completed. They have spent more time on software testing and when it was released, it had far fewer defects. It will take longer to produce, due to the increased focus on testing, but once users have it, it will work correctly and they will be happy with the software.
Testing efforts and decisions may be influenced by the organization you work for, and other factors, but the benefits to user morale are high.
Software Testing Matching Products To Requirements
The final reason why software testing is important is because it is used to match software to requirements.
The software is built based on user requirements gathered during the project analysis phase. The analysis phase defines what the software should do. The developer aims to build on these requirements, but it is the testing phase that checks whether these requirements have been met.
Testing is done against functional requirements – such as expected behavior and what needs to be done. It checks that the software is doing what it’s supposed to do, and that nothing was done right or left out. It also checks for non-functional requirements – things like load time and other performance measures.
What If We Don’t Do Software Testing?
One question one might wonder, is what if we don’t do software testing? What if the developer just created the software and released it? That’s one option – but I don’t think it’s a great choice.
That would depend on the developer actually making the low-defect software – which is highly unlikely. All developers (myself included) think that their software is bug free, but in fact, problems are always found.
Releasing the software without testing means there is a high risk of problems being found, and the software not actually working. It would waste a lot of user time and effort when using it. This can actually lead to more serious problems, such as security breaches, data loss, and corruption.
In short, the importance of software testing can be attributed to three areas – less maintenance, increased user morale, and compliance with requirements. This results in high-quality software – which should be the goal of all of us.