11 Things that Testing Delivers

I like lists with a length of prime numbers. They just seem more professional.

This morning I started Seth Godin’s fantastic Udemy course on freelancing. One of the assignments was to write a blog about ten things that you deliver to the client… that are not the thing.

So, I came up with 11. Go figure.

Here is how my list turned out.

Testing delivers peace of mind. Every human has two stars to navigate by. At the same time, we gravitate towards pleasure and away from pain. All things that you deliver to your clients, colleagues, and bosses need to address either center of gravitation to feel valuable. To me, testing mostly focuses on the latter. Just like a surveillance system at home, testing produces peace of mind to allow the people you serve put their attention elsewhere.

Testing delivers potential to the upside. Amazon and Walmart among other online retailers have discovered a funny thing. For their average page loading times, each 100-millisecond improvement results in a 1% increase in revenue. Each step eliminated from the shopping cart check -out increases it even more. It’s no wonder, why Amazon has the one-click buy -feature on the store. What testing delivers in the equation is simple. You gain better conversion, revenue, and profit by finding and fixing the bottlenecks before the user needs to suffer them.

Testing delivers protection from the downside. I was just about to download the HBO Nordic app for myself to start the trial and the final season of Game of Thrones. Reading the first four reviews made me change my mind. Modern Internet exposes the truth of you and your business faster than ever. No amount of marketing and advertising money can cover up the pain of a bad product. What testing can deliver in this equation is simple. You don’t lose potential or present customers.

Testing delivers respect and fame. A software developer is the artist who creates something out of nothing. The development team performs to the best of their ability to provide outstanding products to the people they serve. Software testing is the ultimate roadie of the band, helping the magic unfold when the product ships. Testing builds the Vegas-like odds for the house always to win. And if done right, the development team gets to shine ever brighter.

Testing delivers truth. The Matrix -movie blew my mind in 1999. One of the most enchanting scenes was the moment when Cypher, the bald traitor had a meeting with agent Smith in a diner. He held a bloody-red piece of steak in his fork, put it in his mouth and sighed ”ignorance is bliss.” A harp arpeggio followed the line. Now, I agree that sometimes ignorance can be a bliss, but in professional software development, it hardly helps anybody. Testing is to dispell the illusions people hold about the software in development. Testing pulls people out of the Matrix to show their clients, colleagues, and bosses how the world truly stands.

Testing delivers accelerated learning. Can you remember how you learned your first foreign language? It was English for me. First, we build some vocabulary, and soon we moved on to our practice dialogue with a partner. The goal, of course, was to learn faster. The learning got accelerated significantly by getting feedback from our partner and the teacher. In a great development process, the feedback loop between developing and testing is fast enough to promote accelerated learning.

Testing delivers speed. Can you remember what you did two weeks ago at this exact time? I usually don’t, and that’s my point, neither does a developer. Hearing about a bug from a client forces the developer to go back on the timeline and try to remember what were the changes to the code all those weeks ago. Finding and fixing the root cause is always time-consuming and risky. With a well-timed testing, with the changes still fresh in the memory fixes come fast and cause fewer regression problems.

Testing delivers visibility. Sebastian Loeb has taken the WRC victory nine times, and he drives a racing car like no other. But how far would he have made in the world of racing if he hadn’t had the co-driver reading the map all the time? I bet he would already be dead. What testing delivers is visibility. With great testing, clients, colleagues, and bosses can know the road ahead.

Testing delivers focus. Think about a Metropol in a blackout, a completely darkened city. Trying to navigate your way around the landscape is not easy when it’s dark. To be able to travel safely and get to the destination, you’d need tools. Maybe a GPS and a flashlight to help you focus on what matters right now. Testing is just that set of tools. It shows the light of attention to the dark areas of the city.

Testing delivers time. Let’s face it; every bug steals time from someone. Usually, a bug steals the time times the number of clients who suffer it. On the other hand, fixing a bug only consumes the time of a single individual, the coder. What testing does in the equation is simple. Testing finds the bugs so that the team gets to decide whose time will be stolen, the clients or the coders?

Testing delivers happiness. Everybody’s just happier when software works. The more you’ve got users, the more you amplify happiness by testing and fixing the problems beforehand.

Can you come up with more things that testing delivers, that are not the direct outcome of it? Share your thoughts and join the ride of changing the testing culture!

Yours truly

Antti