Software testing value questioned despite risk

Fifty-five per cent of management regards software testing as little more than a 'costly necessity’, according to a survey at last month’s TestExpo 2010 exhibition.

Conducted by technology services company Sogeti, the survey of 100 testers and quality assurance professionals also asked about the methods and resources of testing departments. Asked what they thought their management's view of the software testing function was, more than half – 55 per cent – classed it ‘a costly necessity’, while 27 per cent said it was a ‘well-funded necessity’, while just 9 per cent believed management saw software testing as ‘not necessary’.

Some 86 per cent of respondents believed their management teams’ attitudes to software testing and quality assurance had ‘not been affected’ by the recent public software problems affecting automotive manufacturers, such as those experienced by Toyota. Despite the fact that Toyota attributed its much-publicised product recall to a software glitch issue in its anti-lock braking system, the majority of respondents reported that Toyota's recent product crisis had ‘not changed management interest or spend on software testing’. This is despite the fact that 68 per cent of respondents felt their management teams would ‘be concerned with the potential reputation damage caused by software defects’.

Asked whether they used automated testing, 66 per cent of respondents confirmed that they did, while 34 per cent claimed that they did not. Of the latter, 33 per cent said that they did not use automated testing because they lacked the resources to set it up, 20 per cent said they lacked the knowledge or were unsure of which vendors to use, while 14 per cent said that they preferred manual processes.

Among the testers who do currently use testing automation, 45 per cent cited speed, and 34 per cent highlighted cost-savings as the top benefits.

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