I would argue that testing and quality assurance has the largest ROI of any other process in the software development lifecycle.
It might not have a direct impact on increasing your bottom line, but without it you might not have a bottom line to speak of. First, catching mistakes can save your business loads of money. A single bug can cause a $440 million loss. Second, the cost of fixing a mistake before you release can be up to 100 times smaller than fixing it post roll-out.
But that’s just testing in general.
When it comes to automated testing, the ROI becomes even higher. This is especially true if you’re willing to look past the initial costs and think of the long-term benefits. Here’s how you (or your key stakeholders) should be thinking of automated testing services and the ROI on the money you might have to dish out to automated testing companies.
Think of it in terms of FTE
This is the easiest way to think of the ROI on automated testing: think in terms of Full-time Equivalents (FTE). There are basic tests that you have to run over and over again:
- Entering data and submitting to a database
- Making database queries
- Testing login and user creation modules
- Any other pass/fail tests
Let’s say, each of these tests takes 3 minutes. If you repeat them every day — that’s 45 minutes a week and about about 3 hours a month.
Not much, but think of the opportunity cost: a tester checking whether your login module works can’t be testing UI, can’t test localization, can’t be busy debugging. And yet, a automating these tests might only take under 5 hours of coding. Within 2 months, automating these tests will have already paid for itself.
And if that’s not enough, consider the fact that an automated test can run all three tests in just a few seconds instead of minutes.
Think of Reliability & Coverage
People are naturally inclined to problem-solve, and if a task is mundane or repetitive (and tests are), small details are likely to be missed. If you factor in stress, fatigue, and the latest memes shared in Slack, the likelihood that a bug will be overlooked increases.
On the other hand, an automated test never gets bored, and will be equally reliable whether you run it 10 times or 10,000 times.
The same goes for the amount of test coverage you can accomplish with automated testing services. No team of manual testers can run 1,000 tests in a single day. An automated test can, and it can do it several times a day.
Think of the Increased Productivity
However utilitarian automated testing can be, it will never be able to replace a human QA engineer. There are certain tests that can only possibly be done by a human: assessing the user experience, making sure software localization has been done right, testing new application features before they can be automated, tests that need to be done ASAP and can’t wait to be automated.
Going back to the issue of opportunity cost, if you free a manual tester from mundane tasks, they can become a more valuable and productive asset to your development process. They can do what people do best — find problems, solve problems, and come up with creative ways to avoid their repetition in the future.
Think of Predictability
The final reason automated testing is worth your investment (and what I hope is the nail in the coffin of your doubts), is that automated tests are predictable.
Think of the possibility that an experienced QA engineer leaves your team. Their experience and knowledge of the project leaves with them. Even once you replace them, a new employee will need to spend time learning the processes and quirks that you have been taking for granted before.
However automated tests (if done right) will perform equally well on the first day you run them and on the third year you’re using them.
The tester might leave, but the testing stays.
About the Author
TestFort is an outsourcing company dedicated to providing manual and automated testing services to startups, SMBs, and enterprise clients. Over the past 19 years we have completed over 300+ projects for clients from more than 40 countries. If you understand the value of thorough testing and need a reliable team for short-term work or long-term partnerships — get in touch!