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I am wondering what phrases that would have the most impact when approaching a business, to inform them why they should test their software.

Obviously you have easy ones; reduce costs/risk, improves stability/reliability/usability. But these are just words, how would you wrap them into something concrete that even people living in their own world, could see the potential benefit of software testing. I'm looking for shared experience. And how would you as a developer like to be approached by a software tester?

PS: Help! I'm not sure how to ask this question properly!

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what do you mean by 'certified' software testing? –  Mark Irvine Mar 28 '11 at 15:00
    
@Mark Irvine As software developers, we can test software to our knowledge and abilities from experience gained through development. By certified I mean like istqb.org –  CS01 Mar 29 '11 at 11:49
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And what benefit does that certification give the customer - does ISTQB promise to indemnify your customer against your (potential) incompetence? Do they promise to decertify you if a customer provides evidence that you have behaved improperly? Or is it just intended as a marketing aid? –  testerab Apr 3 '11 at 19:12
    
Be sure to throw in "cloud" somewhere, regardless of what you're doing. –  BlackJack Aug 22 '11 at 15:30
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2 Answers

You have the power of ten cost of fixing an error:

  • If the developer finds it and fixes it it takes hours. Typical cost $1000.
  • If system testers finds it it takes days. Typical cost $10000.
  • If it goes all the way to production the typical cost is $100000 (with a HUGE spread).

Examples of some expensive bugs: 1999: Mars Orbiter software bug (unit conversion - should have been caught in integration test). Cost: $125 million


2011: ATM software bug allows unlimited withdrawals (should have been caught in system or acceptance test). 40 branches of a big Australian bank affected. Cost: unknown

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I think your "typical costs" are just guesses and don't add anything to the answer. –  Bryan Oakley Aug 22 '11 at 14:32
    
@Bryan Oakley: The administration of software testing methodologies, and the marketing of software testing methodologies, often consists of some wild guesses of costs. The further away from the actual bug counts / functional test points / the people doing it, the less confidence we have in estimates. –  rwong Aug 22 '11 at 19:29
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Bugs that disrupt the line-of-business can easily rake in million-dollar losses per downtime day.

Bugs that compromise data integrity can cause irreparable damage to business goodwill.

Bugs that compromise security can allow targeted individuals to commandeer certain corporate assets. They could also choose to compromise data integrity along the way.

But most of the bugs are just nuisance, like flies. They just slow down users a tiny little bit. One thousandth of their time - which accumulates.

For each bug that cause massive disruption, there are 10x more bugs each can cause minor disruptions.

For each bug that cause minor disruptions, there are 10x more bugs that lose data silently for months.

For each bug that lose data silently, there are 10x more bugs each annoying users and slowing down things a little bit.

(The effects on this list are, as you have guessed, accumulative.)

If you have ever been impacted by a show-stopper bug one day, take note.


Not that I approve of the quoted text.

High-impact bugs are like freak accidents. Thousands of hours of manual testing will reveal and fix lots of little UI bugs, but it has to be combined with careful coding and code-level testing etc. to reduce the occurence of rare but high-impact freak accidents.

Can a certified software tester ensure that sufficient resources are devoted to each and every level of testing? Can a certified software tester deeply understands every level of testing (despite passing the certification exam) and able to spot out glaring inadequacies in test implementation (administration) - not of the paperwork kind? Can a certified software tester withstand managerial pressure to "make a trade-off" between release date and testing?

If you have a track record of success, it will speak for you. kudos.


This is not a rant against certificates. In fact, it is a great communication tool between the test lead and the manager, if they are both certified. This basically eliminates miscommunications mishaps.

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in my experience the only thing a certified anyone can provide (based solely on the certification, not actual experience in the field) is an attitude of haugtiness and a checklist to see if everything is done exactly according to the requirements for certification set out in the "certification study guide". Way too many "certified professionals" just rush through some "certification cheat sheet" without ever learning the trade, then call themselves experts and blame failure on others not blindly following whatever they proclaim. –  jwenting Aug 22 '11 at 5:39
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