Although testing is a mandatory part of the software development process, many companies avoid it because of its high costs. But, skipping software testing can be more expensive in the end—it’s estimated that poor-quality software costs the software development industry $2 trillion per year! The fact is that proactive software testing improves functionality, performance, security, and usability. It ensures quality assurance across every phase and increases the chances of a product's long-term success. Maintaining high software quality might be an investment, but it’s worth it. Also, there are ways to reduce software testing costs across an entire project. Let's look at these cost-saving methods and explore how companies can make their software better while keeping software testing affordable. How Much Does Software Testing Cost and What Does it Include? The cost of software testing varies depending on the type of product. On average, testing costs consume 15% to 25% of the total project budget, so it's necessary for companies to allocate that amount from the beginning of the project. Generally, software testing costs include four major categories: \tPrevention costs include training developers to write quality code. \tDetection costs include creating test cases and setting up different testing environments. \tInternal failure costs go toward fixing the detected defects before product launch and delivery. \tExternal failure costs include the costs of fixing technical issues that customers detect after launch and delivery. Project leaders should allocate enough of the budget to internal failure costs. That way, software testers, and developers can fix detected bugs before the product is in users' hands. (image source) The more internal failures are fixed at the beginning, the better the software quality is when it's used. Top 10 Ways for Reducing Software Testing Costs Companies can use different strategies to reduce their total software testing cost. Methods such as defining unit testing, conducting thorough UI tests, and automating to reduce manual tests can help a software team ensure functionality and reduce costs. Here are the top 10 strategies the entire team can use to manage testing costs and improve software quality. 1. Start the Software Testing Process Early One of the best ways to reduce software testing costs is by starting testing efforts early. It is more affordable for the testing team to tackle bugs and defects early in the development stage rather than waiting until after the release of the software product to fix them. Research suggests that companies incur four to five times higher costs when they fix a product after it has been released rather than if they address it during the design phase. The cost increases 100-fold if manual testers perform fixes in the maintenance phase. (image source) If you test early, you can easily detect structural and security issues, reducing infrastructure costs and development costs. Here are a few ways you can start early: \tIntroduce testing activities during development rather than waiting until integration testing \tPrioritize issues related to performance and security \tRun frequent testing sessions, including regression testing and continuous testing in every sprint 2. Collaborate with Developers Another testing strategy you can use is to test side by side with developers during the development process. Otherwise known as Test-Driven Development, this method allows you to identify show-stoppers or critical errors that can be extremely expensive to fix later on. TDD relies on collaboration from quality assurance engineers and developers, who write unit tests even before writing code. These unit tests specify what the code is supposed to do from the beginning so that developers understand the functionality and input the correct code. By engaging in TDD, the development team goes through the scripted tests in the early stages of development, which results in smoother code refactoring, less debugging, and better documentation. Overall, TDD improves product architecture, decreases manual testing, and results in reduced maintenance costs and human error costs. 3. Engage in Exploratory Testing Software testing takes a long time to complete, especially if it's done after development. Rather than wait until the end, it's essential to engage in exploratory testing during development to cut down on overall time spent. This testing method ensures that the QA team creates unit tests and uses automation tools to look for bugs and errors. So rather than waiting for a bug to pop up or for a customer to report it, exploratory testing ensures software quality with minimal manual testing. 4. Implement Automated Testing to Detect Unstable Code Using test automation makes it easier to detect bugs and identify existing unstable code. Companies can use specific testing tools and automated tests to reduce human error and improve quality assurance. By implementing codeless tests into project requirements, software teams can automate visual regression testing. Then, once a test is written, it can run an unlimited number of times without needing a human to intervene. Not every testing activity can be automated, but your team should aim to implement this method where possible. Such automation carries a few benefits, including: \tImproving efficiency by running tests automatically and cutting testing time and resolution time for bug fixes \tOptimizing the team's workflow and allowing them to configure tests they can use at different stages of development \tRunning more tests and improving test coverage to reach the optimal 80% to 100% coverage 5. Try to Reduce Test Redundancy Testing unnecessary software functions increases testing tasks and takes time away from crucial activities, including UI testing. By automating scripted tests and identifying stable code, teams can reduce test redundancy and optimize their test case repository. 6. Increase Testing Frequency in Small Batches By eliminating redundant tests and focusing on a crucial test case repository, companies can increase testing frequency on those critical cases. Teams can focus on infrastructure issues and security gaps, ensuring automatic handling of most tasks and providing human intervention on more complex bugs. By testing crucial test cases frequently and in small batches, the dedicated QA team can have more iterations and fix issues faster. This method reduces costs because it helps teams identify bugs quickly rather than letting them pile up to be addressed after development. 7. Create Meaningful Test Plans and Reports One way to reduce testing costs is to avoid lengthy plans and reports that can take up your team's time. Instead, create test plans and report templates that only include essential information and actions. These templates can help you speed up the time it takes to create plans and write reports, so your team can focus on the testing tasks that matter and create business value. (image source) 8. Start Using Informal and Quick Defect Triages Every company has a defect management cycle that takes a specific amount of time. This cycle includes tasks for detecting, reporting, assessing, and fixing bugs. During this cycle, software companies that implement formal processes with lengthy meetings and reports incur higher costs. By introducing more informal processes that include low code solutions and modern tools, teams can engage in quick defect triages, which decreases the defect management cycle time and saves money. 9. Carefully Categorize Tests Another way to reduce software testing cost totals is through better organization. Operating in a chaotic and unorganized testing environment increases the likelihood of human error, an inability to find the correct information, and the probability that different teams will try to fix the same bug, which wastes time and valuable resources. Instead of that, try to organize and categorize tests. If using a test case management tool, develop a labeling scheme that synchronizes with your test strategy so that you can pull out and run whatever test cases are suitable for the given situation. Then you can improve productivity and provide the necessary resources and details for your testing team without overburdening them with excess information. 10. Use the 80/20 Rule Trying to tackle every single bug immediately can lead to inefficiency and chaos. Incorporate the 80/20 rule into testing to avoid confusion. Prioritize the functionality that most users will find important or that provides the most value. If those features have bugs, you should aim to fix those first and then move on to the less critical functionality. The 80/20 rule will help you reduce your test suites and redundant tests, so you can optimize the testing process and only focus on the most crucial parts of your software. Conclusion Software development companies should always aim to test software fully rather than trying to cut costs. You’ll save money in the long run, and with the right strategies, you can reduce testing costs and ensure you bring a high-quality software product to the market with as few defects as possible. To make testing and quality assurance an affordable success, get the professional help you need. XBOSoft is an experienced software testing company that offers high-quality, comprehensive quality assurance services. Contact us today to learn how you can implement low-cost testing for your software.