Our previous post “Exactly Who is Doing the Testing?” examined how business experts contribute to software testing. Now, here’s six ways that developer testing helps teams improve quality and reduce time to release.
Software testing is one of the most critical aspects of the development process. Teams must find as many defects as possible before they get into production. It is a more significant impact when customers find issues for you and decide not to buy your product anymore or, worst of all, give you bad reviews on websites and social media. It hurts your brand.
However, it should not be the responsibility of only the testers to catch defects. Developers can play a crucial role in detecting defects earlier by doing their fair share of testing too. These tests can be a combination of unit, integration or system-level tests.
Here are six benefits you get from testing that’s done by developers prior to pushing code to QA.
1. Catch defects early
Naturally, a feature has to be developed before testers can start testing it. But developers can not only build the feature during the development phase, but also test it before it moves on to the next phase. This helps to catch defects early so developers can fix them immediately, rather than testers finding the defects later in the development process and notifying the developer to fix them. Also, it’s been well established that finding defects earlier helps organizations save a considerable amount of time, effort and cost.
2. Write better code
Developer-conducted tests help to write better code, faster. When teams follow agile practices like XP, TDD or BDD, the teams write tests before the application code. This forces the developers to write only the relevant application code to make the test pass. It helps reduce the occurrence of complex and highly coupled code, which is often a nightmare to maintain in the long run.
3. Contribute to documentation
Any test written during the development phase becomes part of the documentation. For example, when developers write unit tests, it helps them gain a better understanding of the developed feature and allow them to use the same code in the future without any ambiguity. Having well-written unit tests makes the code more understandable if you work in large teams where everyone works on different parts of the code.
4. Make changes with confidence
We live in an age where customer demands are exponentially increasing, and new features have to be developed faster than ever before. When new features are introduced, developer tests help to get quick feedback on the existing functionalities of the system even before code gets pushed to QA. With DevOps and continuous testing becoming the standard in organizations, making rapid changes and getting quick feedback about the application is crucial.
5. Reduce manual testing
Most developer tests, such as unit, API or even integration tests, can be automated. This means testers could spend less time testing features manually and instead work on exploring other parts of the application that are more complex. When developers automate simpler tests, testers can use their creativity to spend more time on testing important and intricate scenarios, and less time on mundane testing activities.
6. Improve team performance
Testing is a team activity. Contrary to popular belief, it is not only the testers who are responsible for delivering good products; the entire team owns quality. If the product succeeds or fails, it affects the entire team. Part of a developer’s responsibility is to make sure features work correctly and meet expectations. They have to write unit tests, do spot checks, and perform some manual tests to ensure their code did not break other existing parts of the application. This is part of their job, and there are no excuses.
With teams implementing CI/CD pipelines to release faster, it helps to have developer testers included as part of this process. It enables delivering features with better quality to the customer, so everybody wins.
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