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Test Early, Test Often: Why You Feel Great When You Automate

There’s no question that the 3 Perils of Software Development—Defects, Delays, and Dollars—can sink your projects in an instant.  So how do you beat them?  You test early and you test often—by getting proactive with your testing and automating whatever you can. 

Test Early, Test Often: Why You Feel Great When You Automate

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Provided you’re willing pay up front, there’s no better way to increase your test coverage, accuracy, and speed than automation.  In the hands of your testers, regression testing is a monotonous and cumbersome chore,
but take the time to automate the bulk of those scripts and you can execute them with the click of a mouse

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times.  The 3 Perils of Software Development are a real pain in the butt.

No matter how good your development and testing teams are, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the detrimental effects of defects, delays, and dollars at least once or twice.  Whether it was a host of expensive rework wrought by a cache of late-stage defects or a delayed release caused by mounting quality-control problems, the 3 Perils don’t simply sink your software; they make your life a living hell.

But outside of vague platitudes like “find more defects”, how do you prevent those kinds of things from happening?

It’s simple, you test early, and you test often.

Don’t worry—it’s not lost on me how much of a cliché that sounds like.  But if you’re familiar with the “Shift Left” approach to testing, you likely know the first part of that maxim well.  It boils down to this: the earlier you get your testers involved in testing, the better.  Your requirements will be far more specific, debugging will be way easier (as defects will be found earlier in development), and you’ll spend a heckuva lot less on rework—drastically increasing your chances of making your release date without going over budget, to boot.

So that covers the “Test Early” part, but how about “Test Often”?  And if you’re getting testers involved earlier in the process, how do make sure that you’re not overspending on quality?

Well, my friend, that’s where test automation comes in.

Provided you’re willing pay up front, there’s no better way to increase your test coverage, accuracy, and speed than automation.  In the hands of your testers, regression testing is a monotonous and cumbersome chore that wastes their time and your budget.  But take the time to automate the bulk of those scripts and you can execute them with the click of a mouse—letting your computers do the heavy lifting during off hours while your testers review the results during their next shift.

Even the breakneck pace and ever-evolving nature of Agile projects is finding a home for test automation opportunities.  Like waterfall, regression testing plays a big role here—and it’s easy for testers to find themselves falling behind if they’re required to do all of those recurring test cases by hand.  Oftentimes, these are the first tests to be skipped—leaving the code exceptionally vulnerable as sprint after sprint occurs.  You computer won’t fall behind, though; so with automation, you can ensure those tests are never skipped.

And before you ask, don’t worry—provided you have enough test cases, you’ll see a return in next to no time.

So if you’re tired of copious rework, consistently delayed releases, and a budget that’s always in the red, remember these four words: test early, test often.  If that seems like a tall order (or you’re just in over your head), reach out to a company that does it and pick their brains a bit.  For what it’s worth, we’re awful good at this and we’re always down to talk—even if it’s just sharing some of the sage advice that we’ve picked up over the years.

No one ever said that beating the 3 Perils is easy, but no one ever said you have to suffer alone—or in vain—either.

Cheers,

Mike Hodge
Lighthouse Technologies, Inc
Software Testing | Quality Assurance Consulting | Oracle EBS Consulting

 
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