Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Business doesn’t see value in $900 million spend on software testing

Industry research recently released has shown despite significant and increasing proportions of IT budget being assigned to software testing and quality, businesses are not convinced of the investment value.

Dr Kelvin Ross, CEO of KJ Ross & Associates who conducted the Software Testing Industry Benchmark study said: “Part of the problem is the expectation that IT should just get it right. Why should you have to test if development just built it properly in the first place.”

Spending on software testing has increased to 22% of IT project spend. Annually this equates to an Australian enterprise spend estimated at over $900 million.

The proportion of IT project spending on testing will continue to increase. Higher reliability expectations, greater integration, larger projects and increased complexity are putting greater pressure on software quality, and more effort is required to check the software is right.

While Test Managers are always wanting to spend more on quality, they perceive Project Managers and IT Executives view the current spend as about right. Surprisingly though, greatest pressure to reduce software testing spending comes from the business. Over 50% of respondents indicated that business considers spending on testing too high.

The industry benchmark found business knowledge was amongst the most sought after skill in the testing team. Yet 30% of test managers found customers and business users are not happy about being involved in testing. It remains a major challenge to develop and retain the business skills in the IT testing team.

The research further showed over 20% of all defects found in testing were problems traced back to poor requirements. Yet these requirements problems are found very late in the project, often causing rework, slippages and delays.

“The key to improving software quality outcomes is engagement of the business”, said Dr. Ross.

“First, the business must be informed software development is complex, and failures are inevitable. Then the business needs to work with testing and quality more closely to accurately define the user expectations, and trap failures early, thereby reducing downstream costs and project delays.”

The Software Testing Industry Benchmark study provides a detailed analysis of software quality and testing practices within Australian organisations, and covers aspects such as stakeholder perception, budgets, resourcing strategies and costs, adoption of tools and techniques, defect discovery profiles, and key performance measures.

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