Knowledge Center

Why Software Quality is Critical – and Seems So Hard – for Tech Startups


When was the last time you sent out an embarrassing email, one that either contained a heinous misspelling or was misinterpreted? We’ve all done it – and we’ve all had to apologize and hope our business and/or personal reputations weren’t harmed in the process.

Of course, the quick and easy fix is to have someone else review your critical communications. The same rules should apply to the software your company develops, especially if you’re a technology startup.

An established company with a good reputation may (and I say, may) get a pass when demonstrating new software, but a new startup gets no such consideration. Imagine trying to work through a balky interface or having to repeat steps while demoing your software for angel investors, the trade press or potential customers. In each scenario, the success of your demo may make or break your reputation, your company, and/or your idea. And God help you if you’ve let prospective customers download it and they crash it or can’t use it.

Is Your Software Bulletproof?

Having a great idea is a solid first step for a startup, but investors and early adopters want to know that you can deliver the goods, which is why you absolutely must test your software. They may not even be aware that they expect your software to be bulletproof. But if it isn’t, you may never get a second chance. If a prospect is going to choose not to use your product, do you really want it to be for a reason you could have easily fixed?

Sadly, many entrepreneurs think they can perform quality assurance (QA) testing on their own to save money and time. Or worse, they think that it won’t matter. Both beliefs are untrue.

Testing your own software is like editing your own novel. You have particular writing quirks or lingering confusion about certain words that your ninth-grade English teacher didn’t manage to drill into your head, things that running spellcheck won’t catch. Is it “that” or “which”? Does one receive a “complement” or a “compliment”? Its or it’s?

Coders, too, have certain idiosyncrasies about how they write code that they can’t see when they try to test it. They’re too close to how the software is supposed to work, an advantage that a novice user or an independent tester doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have. An independent tester has no such preconceived notions, except as outlined in your requirements or wireframes – assuming you even have any – and many startups don’t.

On-Demand Testing Services

OK, so you understand that you shouldn’t test your own work. But really good testers are hard to find – and expensive. We’re all familiar with the 80-20 rule, but finding a good tester is more like 90-10, especially if you’re not experienced at managing and hiring testers. In a tech startup world, you need someone in the top 10%. But unless you know one of them personally from a former job, the odds of finding a tester this good are not in your favor.

What you need is an on-demand testing resource, one with a broad skillset, the expertise of an entire team of full time QA professionals and a track record of success. Think of on-demand QA help like your local “QA convenience store.” It’s open 24/7 and is always there when you need gas or snacks. And when the gas tank (and your belly) are full, you just drive on by and keep your money in your pocket.