Testing Does NOT Improve Quality

Tux, the Linux mascot

The title and content of this article aim to encourage critical thinking and to serve as a reminder to QA to be clear about the boundaries and scope of their roles and responsibilities.

Some people say testing is a comparison of the expected result with the actual. Others will say that testing includes simulation, operation, analysis and evaluation of the product, through manual or automated testing.

Regardless of the definition, I’m here to say that testing by itself does NOT improve quality!

You see, testing in this context is a verb, and testing alone is not enough to improve the quality of systems.

Let me explain…

Problem prevention and testing are different processes.

It is important to recognize that testing alone can’t prevent problems and testing cannot improve a product.

To draw an analogy, just as weighing oneself can’t lead to weight loss, and blood tests cannot make one healthier, school tests cannot make children smarter or improve the quality of education.

Tux, the Linux mascot

Therefore, in order to improve the quality of a product or service, it is essential to adopt a comprehensive approach that includes not only testing but also problem prevention strategies, such as risk analysis, proactive maintenance, and continuous improvement efforts. This holistic approach can help identify and address potential issues early on, preventing problems from occurring and ultimately improving the overall quality of the product or service.

Indeed, while testing alone may not directly improve the quality of a product, it can certainly contribute to our understanding and awareness of system quality. Through testing, we can gain insights into how the system operates, identify areas where improvements could be made, and detect issues that may require further attention.

While testing can provide valuable insights and highlight areas that require improvement, it is ultimately action that leads to actual improvement.

Seeing certain numbers on the scale may prompt people to make changes to their diet and exercise routines, which can lead to actual weight loss and improved health. Similarly, based on the results of a blood test, a doctor may prescribe medication and recommend lifestyle changes that can improve a patient’s health.

Similarly, in the context of software testing, the insights gained from testing can inform decisions about improving the product’s design, functionality, and performance. But it is the actions taken to address the identified issues that can lead to actual improvements in the quality of the software.

Just as what you eat before stepping on the scale determines your weight, the development techniques used during the software development process determine the number and severity of testing errors that are found.

If you want to improve the quality of your software, it is important to focus on improving the development process. This can involve using modern software development techniques, incorporating quality into the development process from the beginning, and prioritizing the creation of high-quality code. By doing so, you can minimize the number of errors that occur during testing and ensure that the final product is of high quality.


In summary, while testing can provide valuable feedback on the quality of software, it is not a substitute for prioritizing the development process and ensuring that quality is built into the product from the beginning. By focusing on improving the development process, you can create software that is of high quality, with fewer issues that require testing to identify and address.

So, quality is not determined by TESTING, TESTING, and TESTING, quality is determined by how we PREPARE, PREVENT, and REACT.

What do you think? Do testing improve software quality?

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