Software Testing as a Part of Sustainable Software Engineering

Sustainable IT

In the wake of humanity’s swift progress and the ever-accelerating pace of digitalization, the notion of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has emerged as a highly sought-after concept in recent times. This surge in popularity is evident both on a global scale among nations and within the corporate world. As more and more individuals and organizations embrace ESG criteria, a compelling realization has taken root: not only does it serve to mitigate environmental risks, but it also cultivates customer loyalty and bolsters a company’s standing in the market by showcasing its commitment to social responsibility. 

Information Technology (IT), being an integral part of any company, wields a substantial influence on the attainment of ESG goals within organizations. As a result, a relatively new focus has emerged known as Sustainable IT, which is poised to play a pivotal role in software development in the forthcoming years. This article explores the growing significance of Sustainable IT and its potential to drive positive environmental and social outcomes through technological advancements.

What is Sustainable IT?

The primary objective of Sustainable IT is to incorporate diverse practices and approaches into the development process, enabling companies to minimize their adverse impact on the environment. This is achieved through the reduction of carbon emissions via more efficient utilization of hardware and software resources. By adopting such measures, companies can contribute significantly to environmental preservation while maintaining their technological advancements and operations.

You may think that corporations don’t associate software testing with sustainable IT, but the surprising answer is—they do. In fact, software testing plays a pivotal role in fostering Sustainable IT and can significantly aid a company in accomplishing its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals:

  • Social (contributing to status as a socially responsible organization) 
  • Economic (energy and resource efficiency) 
  • Environmental (durable and recyclable) 

Software testing can intersect with sustainability, paving the way for a greener future. Extensive research reveals that data centers used for data processing have a substantial ecological impact on the environment. However, by implementing specific software testing practices, significant reductions in hardware consumption can be achieved.

Testing and Sustainability

To enhance the energy efficiency, the first area of focus should be on performing comprehensive performance testing for your software. Regular execution of such tests can proactively identify sustainability-related issues within your program, allowing you to rectify them before they escalate and result in higher resource consumption in the Production environment. These issues often stem from the inefficient utilization of hardware resources by the program, leading to heightened energy consumption in data centers. By addressing and optimizing these inefficiencies through performance testing, companies can take notable strides toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to software development and data management.

Another area that significantly impacts energy efficiency is mobile testing. During the process of mobile testing, your testing team should diligently focus on specific types of tests, such as evaluating the battery efficiency of the mobile device when performing various operations within the program. Identifying and rectifying energy-intensive processes in a mobile app not only leads to enhanced user satisfaction but also reduces the app’s environmental impact.

Beyond merely detecting and addressing sustainability issues, you can adopt a proactive approach by continuously optimizing hardware resource utilization to further enhance your application. By consistently striving for improvements, you can not only create a more sustainable and eco-friendly application but also deliver a better user experience and demonstrate your commitment to environmental responsibility.

Different software testing practices, especially different types of performance testing, can help you run these kinds of experiments on a regular basis and bring your application to sustainability step by step.

How to Incorporate Sustainable Testing into Your Business

Firstly, it is essential to identify any inefficient methods and resource-intensive operations within your application. By pinpointing such operations, you can analyze the reasons for their resource intensity and make informed decisions on whether to optimize them or replace them with more efficient alternatives. In either case, this approach will significantly reduce your application’s energy consumption while performing the same tasks.

Secondly, a common bottleneck in a client-server architecture arises from memory leaks or inefficient data storage usage. This issue often surfaces, especially when the application architecture is not well-designed. Certain types of performance testing, like load testing or scalability testing, are invaluable in detecting such problems and highlighting bottlenecks to the development team that require immediate attention and resolution. By addressing these issues, you can enhance your application’s efficiency and ensure a smoother, more sustainable user experience.

Furthermore, a beneficial approach to embracing IT is to migrate your test environment to a cloud infrastructure, effectively reducing resource consumption for both your testing team and automated tests. Additionally, you can implement testing optimization practices that involve minimizing the redundancy of test cases and optimizing the sequence of automated tests. This leads to more efficient utilization of resources, facilitating smart test execution in the testing environment. By adopting these practices, you not only enhance the sustainability of your IT processes but also optimize resource allocation for a more eco-friendly and cost-effective testing environment.

The last practice that has gained significant popularity and can greatly contribute to establishing sustainable software testing is “shift-left” testing. While it might sound unfamiliar, the effective involvement of the testing team during the initial stages of program design and development can substantially reduce the utilization of technical resources. This phenomenon can be attributed to the well-known principles of software quality costs, which emphasize that identifying and addressing bugs during the design and documentation phase costs much less compared to finding them during the final testing stage. The closer a bug is detected to the stage of implementing a new change in the program, the more resources (human and software) a company expands on development and bug fixing. Extending this concept to hardware resources reveals that the more people in the team work on bugs, the greater the number of tests run to verify their corrections, the more testing iterations conducted, and consequently, the larger the carbon footprint left on the environment due to increased utilization of hardware resources.

For this reason, “shift-left” testing stands out as one of the key practices for establishing sustainability in IT. By prioritizing early testing involvement and proactive bug detection, companies can reduce their overall resource consumption, promote eco-friendliness, and build a more sustainable and responsible approach to software development and testing.

Interested in Getting Started?

Elevate your organization’s commitment to building sustainable IT by prioritizing software testing tasks as a key aspect of your IT strategy. Through effective testing practices, you can continuously measure and control the positive impact of your software on the environment while ensuring compliance with sustainable practices. Don’t navigate this journey alone; let our team of First Line Software experts guide you in organizing and implementing sustainable software testing practices. With our QA services, you can confidently drive environmental responsibility and efficiency in your software development, bolstering your reputation as a socially conscious and eco-friendly organization. Embrace sustainability with us and make a lasting difference today.

Alexander Meshkov

Delivery QA Director at First Line Software

Alexander Meshkov is QA Delivery Director at FLS. Alexander has over 10 years of experience in software testing, organization of the testing process, and test management. A frequent attendee and speaker of diverse testing conferences, actively engages in discussions and keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the field.


Ilia Blaer, Director Of Operations at First Line Software

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