Testing and CSR
CSR, why would you?
Corporate Social Responsibility, taking into consideration the effect your company has on the environment and taking into consideration the people both inside and outside your organisation. Why does a company get into this at all? Does CSR truly contribute to transparency, a better image, or do companies do it for their own peace of mind?
CSR affects everything.
Purely in terms of an intended improved image, CSR may not be the most sensible option. It requires quite an investment, and not merely a one-time one. If you, just like Iquality, have included Corporate Social Responsibility in your existing business processes, this will require permanent investment. It takes time, money and energy. CSR does not stop at the Sales or Marketing department, which announces on its website that a company takes both people and the environment into account. CSR affects everything. Each department has its own responsibility to integrate CSR into daily activities. But how do you translate your policy to a department such as 'software testing', for instance?
CSR affects everything. Each department has its own responsibility to integrate CSR into daily activities.Giedi Krechting, Test Engineer at Iquality
Testing and CSR
There are examples of organisations that have integrated corporate social responsibility in testing, by setting up test departments where mainly people with autism work. They often function exceptionally well in tasks that demand concentration and/or repetitive actions. This looks at the working conditions of employees within the framework of CSR.
At Iquality, the testing of software is slowly but surely becoming an integral part of the projects. This means that CSR already starts with setting up requirements at the beginning of every project.
Core themes of CSR include Working Conditions and Environment, raw materials, energy and emissions. Iquality has translated a number of points from these themes to concrete test cases that can be applied to lots of, if not every, built software. These test cases are performed in addition to the regular functional testing and usually concern non-functional requirements. Is the software as developed usable for people with a visual or auditory handicap or are the colours and icons not offensive to people with various cultural backgrounds? If an item is printed, isn't it better to do this from the screen or is a paper version truly necessary?
In the above examples, corporate social responsibility is not primarily used for working conditions of own employees, but the interest of the customer is considered as well. CSR requirements are often roughly described, due to which specific test cases can't always be made. By including these requirements in the company policy, these will always remain under the attention.
The aforementioned examples will not appeal to all customers, which means that the company runs the risk of missing out on potential customers. However, by consistently employing CSR, you eventually build a circle of like-minded customers.
So, also when developing and testing software, it is important to constantly ask yourself how you can work in an environmentally-friendly way and optimise working or user conditions. In this way, it can also be demonstrated that corporate social responsibility actually does contribute to transparency, a better image and employee satisfaction. However, this does require permanent effort!