Guest post by Sanjay Zalavadia
The market for startups has been red hot of late, and there will still be a lot of innovation and available venture capital in 2016 and beyond. For entrepreneurs with the next great idea, now is an ideal time to pursue that dream and create the product that follow in the big footsteps of game-changers like Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb.
Whether a budding business is involved with wearables, cloud management, the Internet of Things or any other of the biggest upcoming startup opportunities, it's probably going to have to build or tweak software at some stage. Software is now at the core of just about every product today, and startups should keep the following points in mind when testing and validating their software.
1) Start small
No business goes from its founding to unicorn status in a day or a week. It takes a lot of time to get a new company off the ground, and startups should expect the same for their software.
Rather than trying to get perfect code out the door right away, startups are much better off working incrementally toward a minimum viable product. An MVP is the smallest possible form of its software, and it will give the new company's software engineers a more realistic goal to strive toward at the beginning. The very first quality assurance metrics used should be aimed toward the MVP as well, as new QA metrics can always be drawn up down the line.
2) Consider the costs of all actions
In the beginning, money will be tight. It's imperative that startups be frugal at the beginning, but it shouldn't come at the expense of quality. For example, consider that software engineers typically make over $93,000 a year. With this in mind, startups would need to take a hard look at whether they need to hire another coder or if that money could be better spent elsewhere, like on cloud testing management software. Similarly, while enterprise testing tools might be top of the line, a cheaper test case tool could be a better choice for a cash-strapped business.
3) Truly embrace DevOps
Since most startups only have a small number of employees on hand, these workers will be expected to help out in any way possible. This means that every single staff member may be called on to draw up QA metrics, code, run test management, gather end-user feedback and do all of the other tasks that are now part of software development.
This breakdown of roles is what DevOps is all about. While DevOps and agile may be a luxury at larger firms, it's an absolute necessity at startups.
4) Standard best practices still apply
In a number of key ways, how startups approach software will be very different than what is done at larger firms. But, that doesn't mean that certain software quality benchmarks will differ dramatically across the board. No matter the size of the business, it needs to produce the highest quality software possible in the shortest time frame that's feasible. All companies need strong QA metrics, test case tools and agile workflows.
5) Adopt a free agile test management solution
Test case tools are hugely helpful for ensuring the highest quality software possible is created and released, but most startups don't have the budget to purchase a top-tier enterprise test management system. Luckily, there are free agile test management solutions available to smaller firms. For new businesses just getting off the ground, a free agile test management tool that's been proven effective is a godsend.