Getting buy-in for non-functional testing from project stakeholders is crucial for ensuring that performance, security, accessibility and other non-functional aspects are given the attention they deserve. Sometimes it can be difficult to make a case for non-functional testing as people may not appreciate the need for it as opposed to more traditional methods such as pure functional testing.
There are a number of strategies and points you can use to make the case for non-functional testing:
1). INTRODUCING NON-FUNCTIONAL TESTING
Start by educating project stakeholders on the importance of non-functional testing.
• Why do we non-functionally test ?
• How do we non-functionally test ?
• What are the type of non-functional issues we are looking for, and how do we find / detect them ?
Explain how it directly impacts user experience, system reliability, and overall project success. Use real-world examples and case studies to illustrate the consequences of neglecting non-functional aspects.
2). RISK MITIGATION STRATEGY
Non-functional testing is not just a nice-to-have but is a risk mitigation strategy.
Highlight the risks of not doing non-functional testing in terms of potential undiscovered issues such as system crashes, security breaches, or poor performance under normal production loads.
3). ALIGN WITH BUSINESS GOALS
Articulate how non-functional testing aligns with the broader business goals of the project, for example, better performance directly translates to improved user satisfaction, increased user retention, and potentially higher revenue.
Aligning non-functional testing with business objectives helps stakeholders see its strategic value.
4). COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS
Present a cost-benefit analysis that demonstrates the value of investing in non-functional testing. Showcase how the upfront investment in testing can save costs associated with post-release bug fixes, system downtime, or security breaches. Use data to illustrate the long-term financial benefits of a robust non-functional testing strategy.
5). HIGHLIGHT INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Highlight industry standards and best practices related to non-functional testing, such as WCAG accessibility standards and OWASP Foundation security standards. Show that following these standards is not just a matter of compliance but a demonstration of the project's commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable, and secure software.
6). EXPLAIN REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES
Give project personnel and senior stakeholders an idea of the cost of not performing non-functional testing by describing potential real-world non-functional issues and the cost and impact of these manifesting themselves in a live production environment.
Highlight potential non-functional risks such as system crashes, security breaches, poor accessibility or poor performance under normal production loads. Make stakeholders aware of how non-functional issues can lead to increased costs and damage to the project's reputation.
7). ENGAGE EARLY
Non-functional testing can be incorporated from the early stages of project planning, which allows for better integration of non-functional testing into the overall development process, making it more seamless and cost-effective. In a development sense, itis more cost-effective to identify and remediate non-functional issues early in the development cycle.
8). SHOWCASE TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY
Showcase the tools and technologies available for non-functional testing, both commercial and open-source. This can include performance testing tools, accessibility testing / evaluation tools, chaos engineering tools, security testing tools, and back-end monitoring solutions to analyse system performance and identify bottlenecks when performing this type of testing.
Providing demos of such tools can pique the interest of project stakeholders, demonstrate non-functional testing and give an insight in what we are looking for when we perform non-functional tests and how we can detect them.
9). MAINTAIN A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH
During non-functional testing, maintain a collaborative approach by regularly updating project stakeholders on the progress of the non-functional testing, sharing interim results and findings on a regular basis, which can foster a sense of shared responsibility for the project's success. Regularly update them on the importance and impact of ongoing non-functional testing efforts and how it contributes to the overall project goals.
By employing a combination of these strategies, you can make a solid case for non-functional testing which demonstrates its importance and value in terms of finding serious issues that would seriously impact production and the customers perception of the system and mitigates this serious risk.