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Test Plan as Important as Development Plan

This is a true conversation I had with a client, followed by my email to him a few months after this conversation.

 

Client: I would like to have a high quality, bug free application for my customers.

 

Me: Our developers are excellent, but we would need a good testing strategy to make sure that the application that goes live lives up to your and industry’s quality standards. 

 

Client: We are a startup and would like to keep the costs under control and would like to keep the testing budget down. 

 

Client: You need to take care of the quality at the development level.

 

Client: We will also do the testing of the application on our own.

 

Me: Okay, that would be great.

 

I wish, I hadn’t agreed…

 

Dear Client,

It has been a pleasure working with you from the very start when you came to us with your idea. Brainstorming with you about converting your idea to a feasible concept to develop and bring it to market has been wonderful. We have been awed by the groundwork that you have done about your idea and the concept documents that you came up with. Over the last couple of months, we have crossed a few phases together where we have produced the visual designs of the application, finalized a solution approach, setup the framework of the application and have developed a few modules of your requirements. The journey so far has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. 

 

But now we are on the brink of a situation that can lead to a big RISK. My fault was that I submitted to your suggestion about cutting on testing budget during our initial discussion. That decision has led to the following concerns. 

 

  • We do not have a defined testing strategy. We do not have a test plan or test cases. 
  • In the absence of test cases, our developers do not have a documented way of covering all cases for a feature. Do you know that QA is the best person to document your requirement at a granular level? They do so by defining all the positive, negative, corner cases arising from the requirements, thus providing the developers a wholesome view of what all criteria each functional module should pass. So, essentially QAs act as a Business Analyst and are the guardians of your requirements.
  • Our developers are not only developing the application, but spending considerable time in testing the application as well.
  • Not only is the developer, our project manager is also spending good amount of time in testing the product before it is released to you. 
  • And finally, you, our customer are also spending valuable time on testing. In a nutshell all the people are spending time on doing the work that neither they are supposed to be doing, nor they are experts in doing that. 
  • As a result, frustration is creeping in the team at all levels and despite going out of the box in doing that, results are not great. 
  • And the lowest of low, we end up spending a lot more that what we should have in doing this job. The reasons for this are simple.
    • The product has to be tested. Period.
    • If QA will not test it, other people like developers, PM and you have to test it.
    • They will not do a better job than trained and experienced QA, as they are not experts. 
    • They will not be able to provide that kind of coverage as professional QAs can provide. 
    • And, believe it or not, developers, PM and your time is costlier than that of QA, at least in our company and in general in the industry as well. 
    • So, we are doing what has to be done anyway, non-experts are doing it, spending more than what we should and we are not getting the best results. 
    • So, it’s a Lose-Lose situation for all of us and all of us are getting frustrated.


Before all of us go nuts working the way we are and go over budget, I request you to please look into the matter. We need a testing strategy and your project needs a test plan. I am here to help you devise one. I just request you to please see through the situation and realize that we are not saving money but losing it by ignoring QA. QA is essential part of a development project and Test plan is as important as a Development plan.

 

Your’s truly, 

Service Provider

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