“Oh that’s ok, we know you have fewer resources so we will just cut that feature and extend your deadline,” said by no stakeholder ever.
So, with the ominous “R” word looming, how can you ensure your limited resources result in successful products that sell? How do companies that continue to produce new products and add increasingly complexing features faster than ever, make recession proof products? Here are three tips on how to recession proof your business.
1. Don’t Sacrifice Quality
Even when resources are tight, sacrificing the quality of your product should not be an option. Launching products with issues will leave your company with negative reviews on message boards across the internet, customers flooding your support teams with complaints, all resulting in cratering your sales when you need them most and dwindling your brand image. Quality defines the value of your product. Your customers don’t judge you on effectiveness; they judge you by how well your product does what you’ve promised.
How can you recession proof your products? You must ensure that your products meet the needs and expectations of your customers, before you release them and the best way to do that…pre-release user testing.
2. Pre-Release User Testing is Critical
The truth is, companies that have user testing programs that assist product, development, and quality teams create better products. Businesses that thrive during a recession are companies like Nest, Waze, Tableau who use an arsenal of customers (and employees) to test different use cases, environments, and technology ecosystems to bring the voice of the customer into development to help refine and enhance the product before release.
Traditionally, pre-release testing is called beta testing. However, beta testing has been around for an eternity, and many new-age development teams have found it challenging to align beta testing to their agile development processes.
Companies can struggle with how much time it takes to manage these tests and find that the results can vary significantly based upon how much time (with already limited bandwidth) can be devoted to the process. Additionally, despite beta testing being around for eons, fewer than 15% have standard processes for continuous improvement, making testing very difficult without best practices to avoid time sinks and errors.
If beta testing is to solve the issue of fewer resources for testing and a greater need for product quality in these environments, it needs to evolve. Enter delta testing.
Delta testing is a user testing method that aligns customer testing with current development and product strategies. An evolution of beta testing, it inherits components of the legacy approach but adds practices to support the challenges of this generation. Delta leverages a straightforward process driven by advanced technology to achieve far greater results in less time than previously viable.
Delta testing is perfect for resource constrained teams to leverage limited staff to manage literally hundreds of testers to create recession proof products. Using smaller teams with intelligent automation can boost production and speed to market with minimal time investment.
3. Automate where possible
David Moise of Decide Consulting says, “There is a 9:1 ratio of developers to testers in the job market," but what's the ideal ratio? In a perfect world, there are enough QA testers to test everything before the release hits customers' screens. Companies struggle with finding the balance and identifying diminishing returns, but while they do, product quality is at stake.
Our recent industry trends report showed that companies are not slowing product releases, with 71% planning to release new products every six months. It’s clear quality assurance teams are finding it challenging to keep up with the demands for testing at this rapid pace, with almost 40% of survey respondents dissatisfied with the personnel available for testing. Having correctly aligned resources will help with recession proofing your business and get you closer to where you want to be.
Where are all the resources?
You may notice that fewer people are in the office; according to McKinsey, roughly 58% or an estimated 92 million people are working remotely. The pandemic left employees and employers separated and organizations in a state of uncertainty.
A PWC survey states that 52% of companies have implemented hiring freezes and around 50% of companies have plans to reduce headcount. Additionally, VC funding has been down 20% since May 2021 and businesses are spending less money as inflation and the thought of recession set in.
How to solve having fewer testing resources?
A practical solution for fewer resources and increasing demand for quality would need to have three components: scale to support the lack of resources, speed to align with Agile and faster development practices, and results to meet the high demand for quality. These would support modern developments, the business difficulties of fewer resources, faster and continuous delivery, and the market's demand for high-quality products.
It's a tall order as not every company has a team dedicated to performing alpha and beta tests, but these tests are still mandatory. So when resources are light, leaning on technology and process is the best way to support the quality necessary to recession proof products. It’s important to invest in tools that target traditionally difficult and time-consuming areas of user testing so you have time to focus on creating a successful product. Ensure you have a solution that’s automated, standardized, and reliable.
Here are some of the systems that can help:
Automating project creation - Use the appropriate technology to launch projects based upon best practices instead of trying to reinvent the wheel each time. This helps to increase consistency throughout your programs by automating most of your projects and provides structured, repeatable steps.
Automating communication - Automating engagement with testers helps keep feedback flowing while test managers focus on other competing priorities. This type of consistent engagement keeps testers on track, ensures feedback stays focused on your key objectives, and keeps testers up to date.
Feedback Automation - Staring at an inbox full of unsorted feedback is no one's idea of a good time. Automate the entire workflow of user testing feedback with a system that collects, analyzes, prioritizes, and distributes on your behalf, all in one centralized place.
Reporting Automation -You don't need just any data in any form - you need an efficient way of generating business critical information that goes beyond traditional metrics. Reporting automation makes the right data available to the right stakeholders in real-time.
Integrations - You work across different teams and tools; your user testing programs should too. Integration improves data accessibility, boosts productivity, and allows you to automate and enhance your business functions as a whole.
How to get started
Schedule a demo with Centercode professionals to see how customers can help get you out of a bind with limited resources and increasing demand for high-quality products.