While Quality Owners Might Change, Similar Challenges Continue
October 07, 2021

Noel Wurst

SmartBear recently released the results of its 2021 State of Software Quality | Testing survey, my personal favorite of the company's reports. While I do work for SmartBear, my interest in these non-product-promotional surveys is purely due to my fascination with the world of software quality, and the evolution we're seeing around who owns quality, the challenges that quality owners face, and what they feel will solve those challenges.

I don't feel too bad about revealing this spoiler, because I doubt you'll be surprised to hear that a "lack of time" was reported as the number one challenge to doing more testing, especially as release frequencies continue to increase. However, it was disheartening to see that a lack of time was also the number one response when we asked people to identify the biggest blocker to professional development.

We also asked respondents what testing activity is the most time-intensive task within the time they are able to dedicate to testing, and the number one answer was disheartening again.

23% of respondents reported that "writing manual test cases" is the biggest culprit.

Why is that disheartening?

I would argue that writing out test cases isn't actually testing. It's a testing-related activity, sure, and maybe even a necessary one.

But can you say that the single act of writing out test cases actually improves the quality of your software?

Would your customers say the same?

The second-place answer, coming in at only 1% less at 22% was "learning how to use test tools." Again, a necessary requirement and skill, but learning how to use a tool to test is not testing. What I find humorous, but not surprising at all, is that in this year's survey, we asked respondents for the number one quality they look for in API tooling.

What would you guess the number one answer was?

Most powerful features?

The latest AI/ML innovations?

Nope. "Ease of use."

One trend that's been interesting to observe — from within this survey and in the industry at large — is looking at who owns quality in an organization. In the past, it was largely, if not entirely, owned by manual QA teams. But today, quality owners possess any number of professional titles and backgrounds: manual or exploratory testers, automation engineers, SDETs, business analysts, DevOps teams, or probably the fastest growing group of quality owners — developers.

Even as an exploratory testing enthusiast myself, I'm thrilled to see developers share the responsibility of testing. However, one result that completely surprised me was finding out just how much time developers say they are spending on testing in an average week. Developers were one of the only roles to state that they're spending more time on testing in 2021 than they did in years' past and this percentage is increasing every year (automation engineers, manual testers, and business analysts all reported a decrease in 2021). Developers reported spending, on average, 47% of their week testing. What? Really?

Do developers want to spend nearly 50% of their week not developing new software? From all the testers I've ever spoken to, few would want to spend 50% of their week not testing. I won't be surprised at all to one day see every developer claim to also be a fellow quality owner like their tester counterparts, but at what percentage over 50% of a developer's week being taken up by testing do they simply become … a tester?

There's simply too much actual testing that needs to be done, too many accelerated release cadence goals to hit, and too many bugs to eliminate from the last release(!) to envision those who own software quality being able to continually deliver on our promises to customers. Not if we continue to struggle to spend time on what directly impacts our customers, because too much of our time is stuck doing what doesn't.

Noel Wurst is Software Quality Evangelist at SmartBear
Share this

Industry News

October 06, 2022

Platform.sh announced it has partnered with MongoDB.

October 06, 2022

Veracode announced the enhancement of its Continuous Software Security Platform to include container security.

This early access program for Veracode Container Security is now underway for existing customers.

The new Veracode Container Security offering, designed to meet the needs of cloud-native software engineering teams, addresses vulnerability scanning, secure configuration, and secrets management requirements for container images.

October 06, 2022

Mirantis announced that Mirantis Container Runtime – latest generation of the Docker Enterprise Engine, the secure container runtime that forms the foundation of Mirantis Container Cloud and Mirantis Kubernetes Engine and is used at the heart of many other Kubernetes deployments – is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

October 05, 2022

Perforce Software announced enhanced support for automated testing with the release of Helix ALM 2022.2.

October 05, 2022

Parasoft announced the latest releases of its API and microservices testing tools, including SOAtest, Virtualize, CTP, and Selenic.

October 05, 2022

Vaadin announced the release of four Acceleration Kits designed to make it faster and easier to build and modernize Java applications for enterprise use.

October 04, 2022

Pegasystems announced the latest release of Robot Studio, the robotic process automation (RPA) low-code authoring environment for Pega's intelligent automation platform.

October 04, 2022

EvolveWare announced the Agile Business Rules Extraction (Agile BRE) solution on its Intellisys platform.

October 04, 2022

Mabl announced new features that empower quality professionals to easily validate APIs as part of their integrated end-to-end tests.

October 03, 2022

Spectro Cloud announced a major new release of its Palette Edge platform.

October 03, 2022

Arcion announced agentless change data capture (CDC) for all of its supported databases and applications.

September 29, 2022

CloudBees announced the acquisition of ReleaseIQ to expand the company’s DevSecOps capabilities, empowering customers with a low-code, end-to-end release orchestration and visibility solution.

September 29, 2022

SmartBear continues expanding its commitment to the Atlassian Marketplace, adding Bugsnag for Jira and SwaggerHub Integration for Confluence.

Bugsnag developers monitoring application stability and documenting in Jira no longer need to interrupt their workflow to access the app. Developers working in SwaggerHub can use the macro to push API definitions and changes directly to other teams and business stakeholders that work within Confluence. By increasing the presence of SmartBear tools on the Atlassian Marketplace, the company continues meeting developers where they are.

September 29, 2022

Ox Security exited stealth today with $34M in funding led by Evolution Equity Partners, Team8, and M12, Microsoft's venture fund, with participation from Rain Capital.

September 29, 2022

cnvrg.io announced that the new Intel Developer Cloud is now available via the cnvrg.io Metacloud platform, providing a fully integrated software and hardware solution.