We’ve all had experiences where something doesn’t work quite as it should. Websites that take us to a ‘404’ page, apps for our smartphones that keep crashing and products that aren’t really up to the job. For the user, this is frustrating. For the developer, this is result of poor or improper testing.
Projects are also susceptible to errors if testing is ignored, and a good project plan should build in regular and robust testing elements to avoid any costly mistakes later on. Here are some of the reasons testing matters to your project, and some ideas for how you can incorporate it.
1. Testing avoids costly mistakes
Handing in your deliverables on time and on budget is no good to anyone if they were fundamentally flawed in the first place. Testing these deliverables at the start, and throughout the implementation of the project gives you a chance to uncover bugs and errors before they become a major problem.
Take a structured approach to testing by testing the project itself before you even get started. Does the budget fit with the deliverables? Are the deliverables going to meet the client’s objectives? Then build in structured testing points along your timeline so that you can ensure you are staying on track as the project progresses.
2. Testing is just part of the routine
If you leave testing until the end, or for whatever reason do not build it into the routine of the project plan, then you will be faced with a long and arduous testing phase, where the sheer volume of things to be tested can result in some things being missed. For example, if you are building a website, you’ll want to make sure every link and navigation element is tested to ensure it works. If you have to do this every time someone changes something or adds more content, you’ll be forever testing and retesting instead of getting on with the job.
The alternative is to build testing in as a fundamental part of the project plan. Make a testing ‘checklist’ or quality control order to ensure every person is responsible for testing their part of the project as it is delivered. That way you’ll be able to ensure testing is just another routine that doesn’t tie up too much of any one person’s time.
3. Testing can show your clients what they are getting
When Microsoft release a new version of Windows or an Office product, they usually get users to download a ‘beta’ version for free. This appeals to the users because they get a first look at the future, and for Microsoft it results in lots of valuable feedback.
By involving stakeholders and customers in the testing phase of your product, you can ensure the people that matter decide if the product is fit for purpose. Often customers don’t know exactly what they want until they get to see an almost finished version, so get them involved in the latter stages of the project to avoid delivering something they didn’t want.
By Including testing as a routine part of every project you work on, you can ensure you not only deliver what is required on time and in budget, but that you also take things a step further and deliver what the customer really needed and a product that is fit for purpose.