The Impact of Software Testing Governance Choices

Software testing is becoming a critical component of software development, especially because of the proliferation of complex, interconnected, and real-time business applications. As a result, information technology (IT) managers are struggling with pragmatic governance mechanisms for integrating testing with development. Governance issues pertaining to how software testing is organized at strategic, tactical, and operational levels, however, have not received adequate attention in the literature. This study explores the impact of three specific governance mechanisms, including the existence of a distinct corporate testing unit, developers and testers reporting to different executives, and the existence of one-to-one matching between developers and testers, on the organizational integration of testing with development. A national survey of 196 software development and testing professionals was undertaken to investigate the impact of these governance variables on a set of dependent variables comprising organizational, group, and individual outcomes. The results indicate that these governance mechanisms have significant impacts and need to be considered for successful integration of development and testing.