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How much are you spending on software testing?

Posted by bugfinders on Saturday 14 May 2016

Is your organisation spending the right amount on software testing?

This can be a difficult question to answer. If you’re getting good test results but spending a lot, you may want to know whether you can maintain the same level of quality at a lower cost. If your results are poor, you may be wary of increasing your spend and seeing no improvement.

spending right on software testing.jpegTo complicate matters further, there is no single testing method generally considered to be the most effective. There are a variety of approaches to choose from, all with their own advantages, disadvantages and costs. This can make deciding on and allocating software testing budgets a bewildering experience.

However, a good place to start is by considering how much most large businesses are spending on their own software testing. According to the World Quality Report 2015-16 (co-sponsored by Capgemini, Sogeti and HP and based on global market research carried out with 1,560 senior IT executives), businesses are now spending an average of 35% of their development budgets purely on software testing.

One way to gauge whether you’re spending the right amount is to work out how close you are to that 35%.

For example, if you have an in-house team of 4 full-time testers (including a test manager), you’re likely to be spending something like £250,000 per year on software testing. This means that you’re probably spending the right amount if your overall development budget is approximately £700,000. If your budget is higher than this, you may want to think about increasing your test spend.

However, there is also a strong argument for not using the industry average as the primary measure for judging your test spend. This is because many companies are now turning to Crowdsourced Testing, a relatively new approach that has substantially lower costs than traditional approaches to testing.

Crowdsourced Testing companies maintain large communities (or ‘crowds’) of professional software testers. This enables them to deploy teams of hundreds of testers, which can rapidly test software on a broad range of devices. For example, BugFinders regularly deploys teams of 70-250 testers. We test websites on up to 200 different devices in just 2 days, and apps in 24 hours or less.

Crowdsourced testers are paid for the bugs they find, rather than for time spent testing. This means that crowdsourcing providers make significant savings on the ordinary costs of maintaining a full-time test team. These savings are usually passed on to clients in pricing, making Crowdsourced Testing a great way to improve results while reducing costs.

Complementing your in-house team with a crowdsourced testing partner is a good way to improve the quality of your software without dramatically increasing your test spend. For example, you could use a crowdsourced team to perform wide-ranging Exploratory Testing on your app or website, allowing your internal team to concentrate on running test scripts on core devices.

Calculating your software testing spend is always difficult, whether your business is a large enterprise or a start-up. Aiming for the industry average is one way of approaching this problem. Another is getting the best results for the lowest cost possible.

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