ROI of testing depends on one thing.

I know how to play the piano. Took those lessons while I was a kid. My dad always took me there on Wednesdays after school.

I know how to skateboard. Learned it after seeing an awesome 80’s movie Gleaming the Cube starring young Christian Slater. And I know how to drive a stick shift car too because we need to learn that to get the license.

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Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

Yet, there is zero return on investment for me playing piano, having a skateboard or getting a sports car. I have absolutely no idea what to do with those to start building actual returns.

At the same time, the ROI of a piano is incredible for Elton John. He does such magic with the tool that nobody else can. Tony Hawk built a multi-billion dollar business on skateboards, and Sebastien Loeb won the WRC rally championships nine years in a row.

Piano works. There is no doubt about it. And so does a skateboard and a sports car.

I frequently get asked about a ROI of testing. So how does testing pay itself back? How do we get a return on our investment if we recruit a tester or buy it as a service?

My answer is always the same. Testing is a game of chance. It is a tool to tweak the odds in our favor. Every bug we find is one obstacle less later in the game.

One less reason for a customer to leave. One less iceberg in the sea of possibilities. And our job as testers is to help build a Vegas-like setting where the house always wins.

Testing works. There is no doubt about it. But it is precisely like a piano, a skateboard or a racing car.

There is a return to the investment if and only if you know what to do with it.

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