Now that we’ve confirmed the importance of testing, let’s think about third-party verification. “Third-party verification” in this column means that a third party who is not involved in development verifies and evaluates the quality of the software or system.
Our lives today are supported by countless software-equipped devices and systems. Our lives would be unthinkable without the existence of software, such as home appliances, transportation, gas and electricity, and other living infrastructure, mobile phones, shopping, and business systems in business. Now, the software that enriches our lives is being released every day. So how is the software tested to work properly and safely? This time, I would like to introduce “third-party verification” that conducts software evaluation tests from an objective point of view.
What are the risks of not doing software testing?
First of all, I would like to consider that testing is necessary to bring software to the world. One of the reasons for testing is to avoid software problems.
High-performance software has a complicated structure and may cause troubles during use, so it is necessary to test in advance to confirm whether it can be operated in various environments.
If you release the software without testing, the following risks may occur.
・ Cost increase
・ Time loss
・ Credit, brand image deterioration
・ System failure and accident
Fixing defects is costly and time-consuming, and once a major problem occurs, it not only deteriorates the image of the company but also threatens the survival of the company itself. Software testing is important to improve the quality of the software and minimize the risk later on.
What is third-party verification?
Various advantages can be expected, such as improving the objectivity and reliability of verification and reducing costs.
Why is third-party verification necessary?
In software development, at many development sites, the developer who created the software himself tests the software he created. Is that not enough? Why do we need software testing from a third-party perspective? From now on, I would like to consider the superiority of verification by a third party.
Benefits of third-party verification
Here, we will introduce four typical merits of performing third-party verification.
[Advantage 1] Increases the rate of finding defects that are often overlooked in the developer’s tests.
Third-party verification can increase the rate of finding defects that developers tend to overlook. Let me briefly explain why this is possible.
“It’s hard for me to notice my mistakes.”
First, I would like to think about the “difficulty in testing what I made.” The human brain is not free from “belief.” In particular, when you test the software you made, the “belief” that “it should work” or “I want it to work” works. Even if you think that you have read the sentences you wrote many times, you may have experienced many typographical errors when proofreading by a third party.
This is because the human brain gives priority to beliefs and has the property of “dare not notice” the mistakes that are in front of us. That’s why, just as “proofreaders” are indispensable for publishing newspapers and books, third-party verification is effective and necessary for software testing.
“Creator’s point of view” and “user’s point of view” is different
There are several types of bugs that can be found in software tests.
It is relatively easy to create test items for normal function operations described in the specifications, and defects can be found even if the development staff or the operation staff themselves perform them.
However, “defects found only under specific conditions” such as abnormal system operations, error processing, kinsoku processing, interrupt processing, etc., which tend to be less described in the specifications than normal systems, are not enough in general tests. It tends to be. In addition to the functional aspects of the system, we also focus on usability, safety, and convenience, and verification from the perspective of so-called non-functional requirements is also necessary for the verification of deliverables.
Developers who design and implement functions by themselves tend to pay attention to the basic behavior and functions of the system, which is often described in the specifications. On the contrary, there is a tendency to overlook defects in the operation and behavior of abnormal systems and non-functional aspects, which tend to be rarely described in specifications. This is even more so when the development period is imminent and there is no time to spare.
That is why test engineers with a non-prejudiced third-party perspective and various testing experiences and skills perform third-party verification, which increases the rate of finding defects that are often overlooked.
[Advantage 2] No need for resident test personnel, dedicate resources to development work
Another benefit of introducing third-party verification into the testing process is that you don’t have to have test personnel on hand at all times.
By separating “test” and “development”, the human resources used for testing can be devoted to development work.
[Advantage 3] Leads to cost reduction
If a defect is found after the software is released, it costs a lot to fix it, but if a third-party verification can be introduced and the problem can be found early, the work rework can be reduced and the cost can be reduced. Recently, a third-party verification company has participated in the stage of reviewing the specifications before implementation, and many cost reduction effects have been reported by pointing out and correcting omissions and ambiguous parts in the specifications.
Also, as mentioned in Merit 2, by outsourcing test personnel to a third-party verification company, it is possible to reduce the cost of resident test personnel during the off-season of development.
[Advantage 4] Can be used as collateral for trust and as an asset
Some third-party verification companies can provide high-quality test documents such as test plans, test design specifications, test cases, and test summary reports as deliverables when undertaking testing work. These test documents can guarantee the security of the software and ensure the trust of the client. In addition, since the documents provided by a high-quality third-party verification company are created from the knowledge of a specialized company, they can be used as assets to be referred to in future development projects.
As we have seen, introducing a high-quality third-party verification company has many advantages that cannot be obtained by testing only with our developers. So what is the point of choosing a third-party verification company?
Key points for choosing a high-quality third-party verification company
[Point 1] Have a systematic in-house test method
As a third-party verification company, having a consistent testing process and method is a big factor. High-quality third-party verification companies have test perspectives and test design methods that can test abnormal systems and non-functional requirements without omission, even if they are not described in the development specifications. It has a method to systematically find defects that are often overlooked.
[Point 2] The education system for our staff is solid.
Tests tend to be “personal”. If the engineers assigned by the third-party verification test company have different ideas depending on the person, we cannot trust the test. A high-quality third-party verification company also has a system to systematically educate its engineers on the systematic test methods introduced in point 1. This ensures that we are always able to provide consistent quality test services.
[Point 3] Can provide systematic test documents
If the quality of the test documents is not high, the software quality cannot be guaranteed. The test plan, test design, test cases, and test summary report should be written in an easy-to-understand and objective manner. Be reusable. The key to choosing a high-quality third-party verification company is that it can be used as an asset for specification changes and version upgrades.
[Point 4] We have accumulated a wealth of verification experience for each domain.
Ensuring a systematic test method is the accumulation of a wealth of testing experience. Software testing requires specialized business knowledge in addition to domains such as embedded systems, business systems, and Web systems. When choosing a third-party verification company, it is also important to know how many domain test projects you have experienced in the past.
When choosing a quality third-party verification company, consider whether you meet these points.
In recent years, software has become increasingly important in our modern lives. If a good third-party verification company can be successfully utilized at the development site, it can be expected to have a great effect on improving the quality, cost, and delivery time of software. Why don’t you consider a third-party verification company once?
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