Chapter 11

Economics of Testing: Fiscal Context

In the last 10 chapters, I explained the key tools, techniques, and approaches that I use to manage testing projects. Some 35,000 people have read this book in its previous editions and translations, another 10,000 or so have taken courses that derive from this book in some way or another, and RBCS has over 100 clients and licensees that use materials based on this book. As you can see, these ideas have worked for lots of test managers in some form or another, and I trust that you, too, will be able to put them to good use.

To adapt these ideas to your particular situation, you need to understand the context in which you're working. Testing does not happen for its own sake, in a vacuum, because we're merely intellectually curious about the quality of some system—at least I've never been paid to do that. Rather, organizations pay for testing—they invest in testing—to realize benefits.

If the project management team has realistic expectations, they'll invest in testing as part of a larger investment in quality. In other words, the project management team should understand that the mere act of testing does not make bugs go away or reduce the number of bugs developers put in the system.

This investment in quality can yield benefits such as the following:

  • An improved reputation for quality
  • Lower post-release maintenance costs
  • Smoother release cycles
  • Increased confidence that the system will work well for users and satisfy customers

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