What benefits can testers bring to startups, besides testing?
When you are just launching a business or entering the market with a brand-new product, due to resource constraints, you may be tempted to cut corners and use a minimally viable product. However, refusal from QA is not only the fastest way to exit from the market — but also missed opportunities.
QA can help your business “get ahead” beat your competitors, and engage a lot of customers. All this because QA can be useful for startups not only in the form of testing. This is what I want to talk about in the article.
What do you see under the headings “Why a startup needs testing” most often?
● Testing helps reduce budgets for improvements and bug fixing. The Pareto principle works here: 20% of the testing budget will cost 80% of the budget for improvements and bug fixing, and vice versa, 80% of the testing budget will cost 20% of the budget for improvements and bug fixing.
● Your reputation and user loyalty. Yes, a new product needs to be loved by users; this is the only way to expand its audience. If your product has bugs or an inconvenient functionality, it will lose its audience and, probably, its market vitality.
● Developers are not testers. In startups, testing is often performed by everyone who can do it, for example, by developers. However, developers cannot properly test their products. They fail in looking at the product from the user’s perspective, and it is more difficult for them, as creators, to evaluate its functionality and usability critically, the same cannot be said for testers.
This is the most relevant thing to come out, probably. And all the above is actually true. However, there are still important things that few people talk about, but which are no less important for a startup and the growth of its business indicators. So, let’s go on:
Competitive analysis is a must-have for a new product. You need it to understand whether your product is better or worse in comparison with direct or indirect competitors. And this is what you could and should contact a QA engineer with.
● Firstly, you need it to understand why competing products are better or worse; what new features they have; whether users like these features; what you can improve/change in your product to get more users. Without this information, you can hardly keep your finger on the pulse and maintain your product’s competitiveness in the market.
● Secondly, you need it, if you are just starting. Suppose that you have a new product. There is already something similar in the market. Ideally, you need to understand the user’s path with a competitor’s product — what users like, what is convenient for them, and what they don’t like; whether the competitor has cool features. To do so, you collect a list of competitors and give it to QA engineers. They go through the functionality of all websites/apps, making a difference map, finding functional errors with competitors or some cool features that you did not take into account. This is your advantage and your chance to beat your competitors without making the same errors in your product functionality or to make it more convenient and more user-friendly than competing products.
Again, why a QA engineer? Indeed, you have developers, analysts, and the marketing service, after all. That is, QA engineers have a thorough vision, an extensive experience in both following the user’s path and understanding user logic. That is all you need for high-quality analysis.
QA experts are those who would rather torment you with questions than leave any doubts concerning the product logic. A QA engineer knows what elements can interact with each other; how they might interact; a QA engineer understands the consequences of functional and logical errors. This person starts asking questions like an ordinary user: How the system will behave further? What will the user do? If the user does this, where will this lead them? During a question session, errors in the product logic are often revealed.
We had such a case: our customer brought us some functionality for testing, and we started asking questions. It turned out that there were many inconsistencies in the product, more precisely, in the product logic. As a result, the product was sent back for revision, and not to its developers but to the marketing service, because of some issues that had not been studied initially at the stage of discussion with insurance companies and lawyers. If such a product got to users, there would be global problems stemming from the errors in the logic itself. This is where the Pareto rule works, which I mentioned above.
Setting up Work Processes
As a rule, you need this in the case of a large startup and several divisions in your team. The product quality depends on how clearly the tasks and regulations for their implementation are set in your team; how transparent and understandable are the work processes.
Work processes are also interactions within your team or between teams/ divisions as well as the development processes themselves.
● What is interaction within a team? Who should ask questions and to whom? What should be the form of these questions? How and to whom are tasks transferred? Who is responsible for what? And the list of questions goes on.
● What are development processes? It is the development life cycle consisting of analytics, development, testing, and support. Here, it is important to understand the whole chain: How does the analytics work? Who is involved at this stage? What are the task statuses? When and to whom do the tasks transfer? What is going on in your development team, and what are the testers’ activities meanwhile? How do they interact with analysts and developers at this stage? And many more questions to follow.
A QA engineer can set all this from scratch, adjust it, supervise it. So to speak, the QA is a big eye for the project, looking after all the processes, analyzing and searching for any bottleneck that could potentially have a negative effect on the quality.
If any problems in the processes, even trivial ones: your designers and developers failed to agree, or marketers disagree with designers, the issues will occur when it comes to the product quality. Some task may get lost in the depths of processes to eventually stay on the sidelines of the release. Finally, users will receive a low-quality product, and your business will rack up losses.
Startups need testing not only to avoid critical errors. You should not think of testers as experts looking for bugs only. Startups can find in testing a huge potential for growth and development, which is essential for a product that is just entering the market. This is a competitive advantage that can help you acquire more loyal users and outperform your competitors in the market.