Excuses are common in the workplace. They seem to be more common in tech companies. If they weren’t, Dilbert would have been out of print a long time ago. But excuses inside tech companies who don’t test their software? In that case, they can be something of an epidemic.
And what are some of those excuses? Here are a few we’ve heard over the years:
1. “It’s working fine on staging.” – Applications always seem to work differently on staging than they do in production, don’t they? This leads many companies to only test before a major launch. What changes can happen in the time an app goes from staging to the real-world? Anything and everything! Users can access the app on different browsers and operating systems, or in the case of mobile apps, they are likely to use an app on a variety of devices, carriers and in disperse locations. In other words, a lot can change from staging to production, so there’s no excuse for not testing “in the wild.”
2. “We didn’t have enough time to test.” – This excuse is common within companies that tend to view software development as an assembly-line process, with testing being the final stage or “last line of defense.” The problem here is that when projects fall behind – which they almost always do – testing is done hastily at best, or worse, not at all. Ideally, the testing team is involved throughout the entire SDLC, but that’s a topic for another day. By the way, if you’re a tester, and you find yourself in this situation, this is actually a very valid excuse, but I digress…
3. “It’s okay, we’re a startup.” – Being lean and agile (and likely resource constrained) doesn’t give you the excuse to skip testing. If anything, startups should be more concerned about testing and quality, as they are making first impressions and/or trying to disrupt an entire industry. Poor quality will help them achieve neither. In our view, startup status should never be used as an excuse for not testing properly.
4. “It’s in beta, users will find the bugs.” – If that’s your excuse, rest easy knowing that users will indeed find the bugs. But will they report them to you in an easy to understand bug report? Will they effectively communicate the severity, frequency and steps to re-produce? The answer to that question is probably “no.” We see many companies use beta as an excuse for poor quality and as a substitute for professional testing – don’t be one of them.
5. “We don’t have enough money.” – Lack of budget is certainly an excuse for not doing lots of things in the tech world. But if your company has made it all the way from ideation to development to launch, then chances are there are enough funds kicking around for at least some formal testing.
6. “We haven’t made any major changes.” – Many companies do a fine job of testing for a major launch, but fail to regression test new versions. Truth is, any code change – no matter how insignificant it might appear to be – can have a major impact on an application.
7. “I didn’t think hackers would target us.” – Just because you’re not a major banking institution or a government agency doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be testing the security of your software. The motives of hackers are changing every day, and it’s only a matter of time before they find a reason to target YOU.
8. “They’re using it wrong.” – When in doubt, blame the users As the saying goes, if a user can’t use it, then it doesn’t work. You might understand the application, but that’s not an excuse to forgo usability testing.