Are You Testing Early Enough Into The Development Life Cycle?

Posted in: Quality assurance testing, Web and software development by: Simon on:

Early testing

The earlier in development you can identify defects and design problems in your software, the easier, and potentially cheaper, it is to fix them. If something is going to fail, you want to know about it as soon as possible. That way you can find a new solution and not waste any more time going in the wrong direction.

When waterfall was the dominant methodology, testing always came towards the end of development. The vast majority of companies have now made the shift to agile. However, elements of testing are often left until late in development and seen as an individual activity. If you don’t start testing early, you are missing out on many potential benefits.

Leverage tester’s skills

If you really want to get the best value from QA, testers should be in the software development life cycle right from the start. Experienced testers will do their homework and try to understand what key stakeholders and end users expect to see in the finished product. An early presence will also foster a greater understanding of the aims of your software and how development is being conducted.

Tester input can be enormously useful in the early stages when the design is still fluid. They’ll typically have lots of experience using software and they’ll be honest about their impressions. Testers can provide an alternative view, working as advocates for the end user. They can also potentially safeguard against the echo chamber effect inside the development team.

Automated testing

You can set-up automated tests from day one. They offer many advantages for developers. A good test automation framework reduces the overhead and


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allows you to run tests frequently and get a good, real-time picture of your software’s health. It also helps you in calculating your ROI.

Since modern software is often built and deployed incrementally nowadays, automation is a great way to prevent manual testers from getting too busy with regression testing. It frees them from repetitive tasks which are bad for morale, and allows them to apply their skills where they can add the most value.

Test-driven development

You might consider going a step further and adopting test-driven development. Instead of writing your functional code, you write the test code first. Tests derive from concrete examples of desired functionality and they will fail until the developer implements the necessary feature. This approach can help keep the focus in the right place. It can also help to speed up development and enable a smoother process.

It makes sense to automate as much as possible. However, when it comes to assessing the overall quality and acceptance criteria for your release, you need manual insight. A well-thought out mix of the two will ensure you’re releasing software that is as defect-free as possible. Overall, you’re offering a high-quality user experience.

By incorporating testing early and building it into your development process at every stage, you can significantly boost development speed and efficiency, really leverage your tester’s skills and ultimately improve the quality of your software.



Simon is the founder of Crowdsourced Testing. After 10 years in interactive software development, he set his sights on building a world-class crowdsourcing platform to facilitate the software testing process for developers.