February 14, 2014 Audit Testing, Briefly Most people think audits only matter to a business during tax season. In actuality, however, audit testing can be an important part of the software...Most people think audits only matter to a business during tax season. In actuality, however, audit testing can be an important part of the software testing process, as we discuss at length in our newest white paper on the topic. It’s not really all that different from the financial audit we all dread so; instead of examining financial records, though, when auditing the testing process, one looks at the results of a test cycle, the process by which the results were obtained, and the tools and components a test has used to obtain these results, in order to increase coverage and accuracy of the testing process. It’s important to consider the implications an insufficient QA process can have on a project; flawed quality assurance can result in an imperfect release, which will hinder the company’s reputation even if they fix the problems subsequently. Why perform an audit test? So why do these things matter? Companies perform audit testing for many reasons, but some of the most common are: New business partnership between companies. Finding problems caused by the complexity of certain projects. Verifiable controls for quality assurance. Improvement of internal resources. It’s also important to consider the implications an insufficient QA process can have on a project; flawed quality assurance can result in an imperfect release, which will hinder the company’s reputation even if they fix the problems subsequently. This could lead to complete rejection of the product from the target audience, which will stagnate earnings even from the most promising investments and could lead to a chunk of the company’s market share converting to competitors’ products. Positives and Negatives of Auditing Software Testing As with anything, there are pros and cons associated with auditing. On the one hand, auditing can improve the testing process and company image while saving resources both in the short term and long. It can also provide peace of mind and confidence in the project for management, and can be used as an evaluation method for newly-established testing teams. Conversely, it can be uncomfortable for the testing teams to have their work reviewed by external sources, leading to distrust of management and lessened morale. If the audit is performed poorly, it can lead to false positives and an unfounded sense of security in management, or to finding problems which aren’t actually there, causing unfounded stress, or some combination of both. So, is audit testing what your organization needs? If you are concerned about resource use, if you want to determine the experience of newly-acquired testers, or if quality assurance for your projects is becoming increasingly concerning, performing an audit test may be your best bet. Another related approach, called Test Process Improvement, may also prove helpful. For more in-depth information on the audit testing process, please take a look at our white paper on the topic here.