Generally software testing is relegated to one phase of the software development life cycle. There's something to be said for including testing in all phases, however. Let's take a look at what the advantages are and how this approach could improve your software development.
Advantage: Early test estimates help determine overall product feasibility
The advantage of having a software test manager involved in early product planning is he can forecast time, materials and resources. Product feasibility needs to include testing costs such as testing time, materials, equipment and resources as part of the overall costs. Early test estimates are factors in deciding to proceed with the product.
Advantage: Identify requirements that might not be testable
An advantage of having software testers involved in product planning is testers can view requirements with a skeptical eye and provide feedback. Testers can challenge requirements by asking good questions. They can identify requirements that might not be testable.
Another advantage in having testers involved during analysis and requirements gathering is it allows their test ideas time to grow. They can begin to think through test ideas, host brainstorming sessions, plan test data, plan the test environment and test equipment.
Advantage: Early product experience helps finalize test strategies
The benefit of having access to a product early, even before the entire product is built, is that testers can begin to investigate the product. Exploratory testing can help them understand the product. What can they learn about the product? And how does their early experience with the product shape their testing?
For testing in a regulated environment where formal test scripts are required, early access to the product allows testers to finalize test scripts. If performance testing will be needed, early performance testing can begin with components while the code is in draft stages.
About the author: Karen N. Johnson is an independent software test consultant. She has 14 years' experience in software testing and software test management and is a frequent speaker at software testing conferences.