When a software program is first released, users expect to find bugs and developers expect to spend countless hours fixing those bugs. Refining code is an ongoing process. However, software applications are being released at an increasing rate with severe flaws due to immense pressure on developers to get it done.
When developers are under pressure to deliver as fast as possible, the tendency is to skip testing protocols that would identify bugs early.
For instance, developers released buggy software for the F-35 stealth fighter jet and buggy 737 max jet software is suspected to have caused two fatal crashes. Those two examples are more serious than, say, a buggy project management application, but it’s a prime example of just how much pressure developers are under.
Demands are becoming increasingly hard to meet
Software development has never been simple, but it’s become increasingly complex in the last couple of decades. While a two-year development plan for a complex project was acceptable in the past, that’s not the case today. Clients want fast mobile app development and an even faster delivery to market despite the additional time required to make it cross-platform compatible.
Today, when a client explains their requirements, it feels like they’re saying, “I need an application that works on all mobile platforms, Windows, iOS, loads instantly, and outperforms every Microsoft product ever built. Oh, and I need it shipped by Monday.”
Although clients don’t usually make impossible demands, many demands are on the unreasonable side. Development teams don’t want to lose the gig, so they find ways to get the project done. Often, they compartmentalize the testing process and wait to run tests until they’ve built the first version. Demanding deadlines cause the software to be released before the tests are complete. Unfortunately, this approach puts buggy software on the market with flaws that could have easily been fixed if the project had been tested along the way.
Continuous testing reduces the potential for flawed early releases
Clients want results yesterday, but that doesn’t mean developers should place minimal importance on the testing process. Instead of an afterthought or a singular task, testing should be continuously performed throughout every stage of development.
Demands for an expedited delivery increases the obligation to embody continuous testing as part of the development process.
What does continuous testing look like?
ContinuousTesting.com outlines five crucial steps for a successful testing process that includes:
- Using a visual model-based approach to simplify requirements.
- Leveraging service virtualization to allow developers to work while testing takes place.
- Creating test data on-demand and storing it in a central location as a reusable asset, accessible to all team members.
- And more.
The goal of continuous testing is to create the tests that will be performed prior to writing any code. The testing environment needs to be set up ahead of time so that all tests can be run during each sprint, whether it’s a 2-week sprint or a 4-week sprint. If a developer is doing continuous delivery, every sprint should end with a fully tested release.
Is your development team under pressure to skip testing?
If you’re part of a software development team under pressure to ship applications before they’re ready, it’s only a matter of time before your clients or end users jump ship. Small bugs are understandable, but major flaws are inexcusable.
David Pogue from Scientific American says releasing buggy software is like forcing users to serve as unpaid beta testers. He also summarizes some of the most embarrassing software bugs in history, including the bug that took down AT&Ts long distance calling and Apple’s infamous buggy map app.
Test your software thoroughly before releasing it
If you think releasing software before it’s ready isn’t a big deal, think again. Users might be willing to tolerate flawed applications, but that doesn’t mean they will remain loyal to your company or even trust you in the future. Many people use software simply because they have no other choice, and given an alternative bug-free option, they’ll switch in a heartbeat.