When the software industry was in its nascent stage, much importance was not laid on testing the software. It was often seen that there was a quick check carried out on the software and the software was handed over to the client. Testing the application was looked upon as waste of time and resources. It was simply done so that the item in the checklist of software development could be ticked. However, with passage of time software testing and software development have the same importance. There are various reasons for this shift in attitude. We will not get into the details of the same here. We will rather focus on finding out why is software testing important.
What is the Importance of Software Testing?
Error Free Software: If an error free software has to be delivered to the client, software testing has to be carried out in detail. Even a small mistake in the software can have disastrous effects for the client. If a bank software has a mistake and gives out the wrong balance, it can cause trouble either for the bank or for the customer of the bank. For example, if the account details say 0 balance in the account, the customer will suffer. On the other hand, if an extra 0 gets added to the account balance, the bank will have to pay the customer the said amount. Therefore, it is of prime importance that there are no bugs in the software.
Variance from the Requirement: If the software is not built in accordance with the needs of the client, then the software becomes redundant, as the client will have no use for the software. This will cause a lot of trouble for the company as well, because the requirements of the client are not well understood. Making changes to an existing software will no doubt cause the budget to go overboard and the software development company will go in loss. This is where the verification and validation processes comes into picture. It is with these processes, that answers to the questions, "Am I building the product right" and "Am I building the right product" are sought for. If any of the answers is negative, it simply means that the product has a variance from the requirements of the client and the necessary changes will have to be made.
Identify Defect and Prevent their Migration: It is often seen, that if a defect is identified in the requirement analysis stage, then rectifying it is far more cheaper as well as easier. If the defect is not identified and the defect gets carried over, then it becomes very difficult to fix the defects. Hence, it is recommended that the software testing process be started with the start of the software development process.
Identify Undiscovered Error: If the software testing is done only superficially, then there are chances that some of the errors will not be identified. Using different software testing methodologies help in unearthing the hidden errors. This is when the testing methodology like exploratory testing proves to be useful. The tester uses his gut feeling and randomly tests the software and is able to find the error.
Use the Software in Real Time Environment: When the developer only tests the software, he does so in development environment, but there is a huge difference between the development environment and the real time environment. There are chances that the software will fail miserably in the real time environment.
Do Away with Developer Bias: When a designated tester tests the software, the element of bias is removed. Since the software is the 'baby' of the developer, he is naturally going to be biased towards the software and will not be able to unearth problems in the software.
Provide Confidence in the Software: Software testing is used for establishing confidence in the software. When the software has been used over and over again by the testing team, they will be able to establish the degree of quality of the software. It will also help to prove that the software is not only usable but also operable.
After reading the importance of software testing, we can say that the phase of testing cannot be forgotten, when a software is being developed. Like I have previously mentioned, it is best that the software testing process is started, when the development cycle starts. It will save a lot of work and trouble that can be caused, if the problems were to be found after the software is ready. One cannot forget that if a defect is found and fixed, it may give rise to other problems as well. Hence, it is said earlier the better.