For us, hiring a software tester seems the most obvious thing to do when a company develops software. Many do so, but a surprising amount of them don't. Some of these companies do not believe in the added value of testing. Even though, they see the importance of having a quality product. In this blog you can read about the most common excuses we have heard for not hiring testers. Spoiler alert: they are wrong.
1. Lazy developers cause bugs
Ever heard arguments like these? “If we hire a software tester, developers will get sloppy and write buggy code.”, “They won’t unit test or peer review anymore.”, “If we don’t hire testers, we can force the developers to write correct code in the first place and focus on unit testing.”
Well, if you think this is true, you either have never written code, or you are strangely dishonest about what writing code is like. Bugs, by definition, leak out because developers didn’t see them in their own code.
Just think about the time when you’ve written an article, whitepaper or thesis and you had someone reviewing it. We bet they found a few spelling errors or missed commas, even though you’ve read it over and over again yourself.
2. Testers find too many bugs
If you think your testers are really reporting too many insignificant bugs, give them guidance. Don't ridicule their effort or disregard their bug reports. Explain the requirements you're trying to achieve and the known (and acceptable) limitations of the system.
3. Our developers can fix bugs in a second
OK, this is somewhat true. Bug fixes can be deployed much faster nowadays, but don’t underestimate the cost of fixing a bug.
Firstly, you might introduce even more bugs while fixing the first one. Secondly, all the time spent on fixing bugs, is time lost for developing new features. And finally, don’t forget about the bad impression you will make.
4. The users will test the software for us
Let’s see how this might go down as a ‘testing methodology’:
- When development is about halfway done or they say they are done, release the software without any testing
- Repeat this step 8-9 times
- Call one of these versions the ‘final version’
- Release .01, .02, .03 versions every time a bug is reported and/or going viral on Twitter
The only result you will get out of this is that users think the software is buggy and unreliable. The worst thing about this way of testing is the bad impression you will make. For the users it feels like nobody had even done a minimum amount of testing, to make sure the basics work. The low perceived quality of the product turns them off and maybe for good.
5. Good, qualified people don’t want to be a software tester
Painful as it is, it’s very hard to hire good testers. The only thing you can do about it, is to recognize it exists and deal with it. We have some suggestions to do so:
- Treat testing as a serious career step in your company. A move up from, for example, support or any other role they did before.
- Don’t treat testers as second grade developers who just weren’t good enough to be real developers. This will demotivate testers who really love to test software and are good at it.
- You need to offer testers a competitive salary. If you pay your testers way less than your developers, your testers will request a transfer to development or even leave your company.
- Allow testers to develop their careers and technical skills by following trainings and courses. Encourage them to develop automated test suites using programming tools and scripting languages, install and configure test environments, … Nowadays, a tester can’t really do without these skills anymore anyway. Everything needs to move faster every day.
- Hire experienced external testers. They come with recent knowledge about the latest testing trends, which enables them to work more efficiently. It’s interesting and inspiring for your internal testers.
6. Testing is expensive, I can’t afford a software tester
This argument is the easiest to refute. No matter how hard it is to find testers, sadly enough, they are still cheaper than developers.
If you don’t hire testers, you’re going to have developers, analysts or business doing all the extensive testing. And while they are testing, time and effort is lost on development, analysis, or finance for that matter.
In such cases, developers, analysts and business treat testing as a lesser priority. They rather do their own job and who can blame them? They are not actual testers so, lots of potential bugs remain in the software. The bugs who are found after the go-live or in the latest stages of the software development life cycle create a very high effort and cost. Besides that, they eat away time, effort and money from development, analysis, …
Finally, if you think it’s bad when a software tester leaves your company, wait until you see how hard and expensive it is to replace a star developer. They get sick of spending lots of time on extensive testing before the release and move to another more professional company with testers. Saving on testers is not saving your company any money or time.