Should Company Size Change Your Software Testing Process?

by Josiah Renaudin

There isn’t one perfect testing formula that works for each and every team. You need to understand your personnel, the type of application you’re putting together, your budget, and a medley of other factors when you’re deciding how you want to assure quality.

However, one aspect that gets a lot of play — but actually isn’t as critical as you might expect — is the size of your testing team. Whether you’re working at a major corporation with a massive testing team or a start-up that’s just looking to release a small financial app, the size of your company shouldn’t radically alter your testing strategy.

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Melissa Benua, a senior technical lead at mParticle and senior backend software engineer at PlayFab, recently spoke to StickyMinds about how testing has changed over the years. As a former employee at Bing, Microsoft’s major search engine, Benua surprisingly reported that their huge testing team was actually the most agile of any she’s ever worked with.

“Which is surprising to hear, but they deploy that software constantly, many times a day,” she explains. “It goes out to all kinds of machines, it’s super stable, and it’s all automated. They actually have a deployment pipeline that is to be envied by most smaller companies who should theoretically be more agile.”

It sounds almost too crazy to be true, right? However, it’s important to note that some things will have to change when you’re looking at dozens (or hundreds) of testers versus just a couple at a start-up. The principles and practices might be the same, but some of the responsibilities have to be altered.

“Really, the only thing that changes with company size is responsibilities of the individual inside the company,” Benua continues. “When you’re a company of, say, fifty, your testers are going to have a lot more responsibility or area of responsibility than they will if you have 500 or 5,000 people in your company all working on software.”

To a certain degree, that should be comforting to testers. The skill set you acquire when you’re working at a small company can transfer over if you make a bit move to a Fortune 500 organization — and vice versa.

Certain details in how you test software are going to change depending on your surroundings, but it’s critical to keep your fundamentals sound — no matter the number of people working alongside you.

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