Recently over coffee, a close friend asked me why Testuff was not more aggressive in its marketing. True, we already have thousands of customers around the globe, she pointed out, but with better advertising and a bigger budget, we could:

  • find more clients
  • go public
  • make oodles of money

I was instantly reminded of a parable by famed author, Paulo Coelho, in which a businessman tries to convince a provincial fisherman to scale up his operations.
The rationale being that with more money, the fisherman could buy bigger boats, go public, and then one day retire and spend his final days relaxing on a small fishing boat with his family and friends (which is exactly what the fisherman was already doing when the businessman first approached him).
It’s a short entertaining read that pokes fun at some of the logic that businesses take for granted.

  • Bigger is not necessarily better
  • More is not always ideal
  • Profits are not the end-all-be-all

When Bigger Is Not Better in QA Testing

“How could bigger not be better?” you might be asking yourself. Well, take a close look at some of the larger vendors in test case management software.
With huge teams and bloated budgets, they don’t always produce superior QA testing tools. In fact, quite often, the opposite happens. In their quest to please stockholders, major firms frequently overlook the customer.
It’s not necessarily their fault. Public companies have a fiduciary duty to their owners, which means that stock value takes primacy over all else.
Google’s decision to kill its incredibly popular RSS Reader is a perfect example. The announcement angered millions of loyal users. But this move will probably generate more revenue for stockholders as Google folds its free RSS functionality into vehicles that have the potential to generate large sums of cash.
In the world of QA testing tools, I’ve seen many application life-cycle management (ALM) vendors adopt this same approach of putting profit before the needs of the end-user. The most obvious example is when they bundle services into all-in-one packages.
It’s a move that makes good financial sense since you lock customers into one uniform environment for life. But it frustrates the hell out of end-users who discover they have tools they don’t need or lack tools they desperately want.
In addition, bundled packages often suffer from mediocrity since you don’t get to pick and choose the best components available. What you end up with are solutions that are adequate – rarely great.
Worse still, these QA testing tools are poorly suited for the fast-paced innovation typical in IT. As methodologies, technologies, and insights evolve, you’re still stuck with a platform designed years ago.
It’s analogous to hardcopy encyclopedias versus Wikipedia. The former is limited, sub-par, and already outdated before it leaves the presses, while the latter can evolve with the times, growing modularly based on the needs of its readers and writers.
So, yes. I would love for Testuff to continue growing. And I will gladly talk your ear off about how wonderful a product we have (just try me). But I’m happier still with the measured growth we’ve enjoyed over the years – coupled with the constant feedback I receive from clients who enjoy working with our test case management software.
And having spoken with many colleagues in the industry who also manage relatively small outfits, I think they feel the exact same way. Profits are great. Happy customers are even better.

Do you feel differently? Comment down below.