The Power of Independent Software Testing

Jamie Duffield

In 12 years of running a leading software testing consultancy firm in Australia, it still amazes me how many software development projects are challenged with quality issues that result in unsuccessful implementations.

Typically, quality issues are only discovered at the end of a project when the customer realises what was promised by the solutions vendor or systems integrator simply doesn’t work, or meet business requirements.

It‘s all a bit too late at this stage and a mad scramble ensues, where last minute testing highlights risks, issues and failures in functional and non-functional behaviour.

All too often, we hear of big project failures at organisations that hit the media and cause unwanted brand damage.

Most often, these quality issues are the result of poor vendor management and project governance. Quality testing is simply not built into vendor contracts, or managed and reported on independently. The vendor or systems integrator promises to deliver a shiny, fully-tested working solution, but in actual fact does the bare minimum of testing as they do not have dedicated testing professionals, see this as an area to cut costs, or even worse, expects the customer will do it upon final acceptance.

The primary purpose of testing is to ensure the solution works, behaves as expected and meets an organisation’s needs. Allowing the vendor or systems integrator to do the testing is like asking them to mark their own homework! It’s a conflict of interest and that is exactly why independent testing is critical to protect an investment.

There Are A Number Of Compelling Reasons Why Independent Testing Can Improve Project Success  Rates:

• A commercially unbiased vendor will meticulously search for software defects and design faults

• They are unimpeded by design and development bias, and are instead driven by customer outcomes

• It improves software production quality (aligned to business needs)

• It provides the ability to hold the software vendor or systems integrator accountable through deep inspection

• A testing partner’s whole focus is testing, which brings a deeper specialisation than a generalist systems integrator

• It provides greater confidence to the customer and mitigates the risk of project failure

If you’re a business owner, vendor manager, CIO or program manager, then you must consider independent testing in your next big software project or implementation. Keep testing the project separate from the vendor or systems integrator, and build quality KPIs and metrics into the commercial contracts.

Independent software testing helps to protect your investment, keeps vendors honest and mitigates the risk of unwanted brand damage.