Why Development Testing Makes Business Sense
By Jason Schadewald, Product Manager at Parasoft
Developers Making Business Decisions
A surprising number of high-risk software defects are 100% preventable. The problem is that many corporate executives don’t know it, allowing one of the most strategic groups in the organization to operate in a black hole. As a result, executives continue to allow engineers to make business decisions that inevitably place a significant risk on their bottom lines.
High Risk of Defects
Even safety-critical and other heavily regulated industries, where defects can result in loss of life or damage to the environment, are susceptible to high-risk defects. According to an FDA report, software failures were responsible for 24% of all medical device recalls in 2011, and there is a clear upward trend in the data.
Similar trends are occurring across the board as software continues to grow in complexity and prevalence. Companies whose products were strictly mechanical, electrical, or service-based are now finding themselves with the additional burden of understanding, producing, and testing software. Even worse, the modern consumer is growing less tolerant of software defects in a time when it’s easier than ever before to switch to a superior competing product.
The solution to all of the above relies on implementation of Development Testing and the systemic adoption of a Development Testing Platform.
What is Development Testing?
Development Testing refers to the continuous integration of software testing activities throughout the development lifecycle. This reduces technical debt and enables early defect prevention, which is the key to increasing efficiency and reducing risks over the life of the application. A Development Testing Platform is an infrastructure that automates the consistent application of development testing practices—static analysis, unit testing, peer review, coverage analysis, runtime error detection, etc.— as well as accurately and objectively measures productivity and application quality.
Businesses adopt development testing to:
- Reduce Risk
- Accelerate Release Cycles
- Demonstrate Regulatory Compliance
How Development Testing Reduces Risks
Software round-off errors caused missiles to miss their targets, failsafe activation software monitors nuclear reactors in power plants, and software translates human inputs into medication dosages delivered to patients through infusion pumps. Even the most experienced engineers cannot keep up with the substantial knowledge required to avert a potential disaster while still getting the job done. To make matters worse, the growing complexity of applications makes traditional bug-finding efforts infeasible and expensive. Most importantly, every code change runs the risk of reintroducing defects back into the product.
Development Testing represents a cost-effective and efficient solution that allows organizations to prevent software defects and security vulnerabilities like the ones above. Adopting a Development Testing Platform enables the organization to establish and maintain an effective policy that prevents errors before they become too costly to remediate and catch reintroduced defects before the build is promoted to QA. The result is that risks associated with business applications are minimized while engineering productivity is maximized.
How Development Testing Accelerates Release Cycles
Organizations that adopt Development Testing as a prevention methodology can deliver better
products faster and at a lower cost than those that take a “bug hunting” approach. In fact, a study by the U.S. Department of Defense determined that “well-structured” software can be modified in half the time at half the cost with one-eighth the number of errors.
The study’s findings clearly suggest that implementing static analysis and other Development Testing technologies to address code structure gives organizations the ability to release earlier, more often, and more accurately.
How Development Testing Helps You Demonstrate Regulatory Compliance
Many industries (e.g. medical, automotive, aerospace, and others) are already well aware of the significant pain associated with regulatory compliance: Processes need to be documented; people need to be hired or diverted in order to create or codify standards; traceability reports need to be created, updated, reviewed, and verified on a regular basis. Achieving regulatory compliance can easily consume upwards of 60% of developer’s time.
The only way to achieve and demonstrate regulatory compliance is by adopting an automated Development Testing Platform that can collect data from all deployed development systems and provide aggregated business intelligence that links requirements, defects, tasks, and tests. In order to maintain development efficiency, this same platform must automatically act on the results of that business intelligence by recommending actions directly to executives, managers, and developers alike in accordance with policies defined by the business.
Parasoft’s industry-leading automated software testing tools support the entire software development process, from when the developer writes the first line of code all the way through unit and functional testing, to performance and security testing, leveraging simulated test environments along the way.