If there is one thing that an app or a piece of software has to do, it is to work properly. There are only a few things in this world that are more irritating than a software program that crashes all the time, loses data or spits out the wrong answer. On a wider perspective, a bug-plagued software product can be costly to both the client and the developer. More so, if just a piece of app or program is installed in a machine, the end result could be disastrous and expensive.

Certainly, it takes an awfully lot of time to put up a good software. Wouldn't it, therefore, be nice to know if what you are building is going to be successful?

According to a 2002 study commissioned by the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), software bugs or errors are detrimental and so prevalent that they cost the U.S. economy about $59.5 billion every year, and this translates to about 0.6% of the gross domestic product.

Some of the most catastrophic impacts of software failure are well known. For instance, back in 2013, Healthcare.gov, the healthcare exchange website, was pronounced by observers as a disaster. Reason for the failure--software failure, and due to this, the total cost of building the website increased 3X more to $292 million from the initial estimate of $93.7 million.

It is important to note that all forms of software are prone to errors due to their mind-boggling technical complexities. Most apps and software alike are routinely measured in millions of lines of code, and most software development teams spend up to 80% of the development costs on debugging. According to the NIST study, factors contributing to quality issues include decreasing returns on testing and debugging together with limited liability by software vendors.

Software testing is vital to the development process as it provides developers, stakeholders and end users with critical information about the functionality of the software. The testing can be implemented at any stage of the development process, depending on the chosen testing method.

Software testing can be done in two ways, automated testing or manual testing. Automated testing is performed these days using open source tools or light weight tools such as Sahi or Selenium, among others. Manual testing, on the other hand, is carried out by human testers who manually check the software's correctness, user experience and report bugs. No matter how much automation you have or want, there is always a place for the human eye as robots (automation) can't catch everything.

In a large and expensive custom software development project, complex and ever changing requirements are always expected. To deal with such dynamism, Agile software testing is required.

Agile Testing

Agile development advocates for more and more testing of software and also recognizes that software testing should not be taken as a separate phase, but as an integral part of the development process. In Agile development, coding and testing is done iteratively and incrementally, creating and working on each feature of the software until it is reliable and provides enough value to release for production.

The earlier a defect in the software is found, the cheaper it is to fix it. Finding a problem or defect in the software is estimated to cost up to 100X more to fix it than if it would have been found early during software testing.

Every startup needs about 2 - 4 weeks of dedicated debugging time. This is important to find major bugs and to ask what if questions to help narrow down any unforeseen errors that could come up. A software testing and software quality assurance company should be able to adequately help you with the accurate testing and debugging, and when this is done, any software can be transformed into a strong and consistent product.

Philip Lew, CEO of XBOSoft, a company dedicated to software quality assurance, states, "Our clients have 3 main problems or issues that they look to us to help them address. The first problem is helping them solve their time crunch. The second issue is lack of expertise. Lastly, many of our clients don't know where to begin in terms of attacking their software quality problems."

Software testing companies are experts in assessing problems and implementing test automation procedures to evaluate software in order to find and resolve issues while meeting any important deadlines for the product. Their expertise and specialized knowledge of industry tools assure a smooth and reliable solution for their clients.