Your software development team released an MVP application into production. The application only had a few features and the codebase is far from perfect, but there are big plans for the future! Your team presses on, adding features and your user base continues to grow. After a few months, cracks begin to surface. Users started reporting issues and developers get sidelined to fix problems appearing in production. Your release cycles slow as pressure mounts to manually test a growing list of features. Someone asks your development team why issues keep arising. Your team replies “We haven’t had sufficient time to create enough automated tests. Do you want us to invest time testing or do you want us to continue releasing more features as quickly as possible?”
Teams often struggle to find the right balance between testing and developing new features. Software engineering discussions often herald the value of automated testing, but when teams feel the pressure to meet deadlines, it is often the first initiative to get cut. To prevent teams from making short-sighted decisions around testing, everyone involved needs to understand the business value that testing brings.
Automated testing is much more efficient than the series manual checks done before a release, but it is much more than that. Automated testing greases the wheels of good development teams. Because tests can get run quickly and regularly, tests provide feedback and documentation to developers about what the code should do. Even while tests get authored, they inform software engineers of whether they are meeting requirements and keeping a maintainable codebase. Testing is a software engineering practice that gets more valuable over time.
Ways automated testing helps teams:
- Prevent Bugs in Your Product through Automated Testing
- Automating Testing Allows Teams to Develop New Features Faster
- Testing Allows Teams to Ship Faster
- Testing Encourages Better Software Architecture
To read more about these benefits, check out my full post on the SitPen blog.
Testing is an important aspect in ensuring software works as expected. This is true for both new and old code. Teams with a culture of good testing practices see the benefits compound as software grows in size and complexity. Existing tests give developers and product owners confidence that new code can get added quickly without introducing bugs and regressions. The full testing suite allows teams to ship software faster by reducing the amount of manual testing required. Finally, testing improves the quality of the software written by highlighting architectural issues and allowing developers to make small improvements over time that clear the way for future growth.
The benefits of testing are great. However, not all tests introduce value. Teams often see the value of testing and put a burst of effort into expanding their testing suite only to see tests slow down development. Knowing what to test and how to test are two of the key questions for any software development team. Part two of the series dives deeper into writing tests that work.