Laboratories use mice and rats. NASA uses monkeys for testing. These organizations know the importance of testing things out on non-humans before testing them on humans (this isn’t an ethical discussion. Go away, hippies). That’s how we get things like cures for diseases and how we send men to the moon. How do you know anything works if you don’t test it out first? While types of testing vary in many ways (you probably don’t want to test out your rope by tying up a monkey and tossing him off a cliff), there are certain types of testing that can keep you alive, some that can keep you from suffering through a poorly cooked meal, and some that can save your business. With this in mind, here’s an interesting list of seven things you should test regularly
According to a report on KATU.com, in 2008, two women and a child were burned after being immersed in a hot spring capable of producing water temperatures up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Moral? Test water before you jump in and sustain life-threatening burns
2. Smoke alarms
My smoke alarm randomly went off a few nights ago—there was no smoke, and literally no sign that there was any sort of problem. I took the batteries out because I didn’t want it to happen again (and because I’m a rebel), but most people are smarter than me and will want to regularly test their smoke alarms to make sure they’re functioning properly for both safety and insurance reasons, as suggested by firealarmtesting.org
3. Connection speeds
I pay for a 25 mbps download speed from Comcast and I occasionally check my speed using the Comcast speed test to make sure I’m getting what I pay for. The last time I looked, my average speed was closer to 16 or 18 Mbps—that’s not what I’m paying for. I’ve hounded my roommate (the account is in his name) to call and complain and at least see if we can get a discounted price, but like most tasks (putting on pants, brushing his teeth), he didn’t do it. It’s worthwhile to make sure you test your Internet speeds and make sure you’re getting what you pay for. And brush your teeth while you’re at it.
4. Outdoor equipment
When my roommate does put on pants, we sometimes go climbing. When you do this (or any dangerous activity), it’s important to test every piece of equipment before you even start because once you’re on the rock, it’s too late. This lesson would’ve been helpful for the man who built a rope swing in Moab, Utah and fell to his death because he didn’t account for the stretch in the rope—he didn’t do enough testing and he paid with his life.
People have different tastes where cooking is concerned. I, for one, don’t like my fried potatoes slathered in olive oil and rosemary—but my roommate seems to think that’s the cat’s pajamas. I suspect that the last time he produced this abomination he wasn’t testing the flavors as he went along and instead sprinkled the gushy, oily potato bits with whatever spices were in the cabinet, rather than thinking about what would taste best, or testing a few choices first. The result was a disgusting mess of hard-to-swallow food that I had to pretend to like since he was kind enough to cook that night (“yeah, it’s great… *hack*… nice job…*glerp*…). I’ve been taking care of my own cooking since then, and the rule I follow involves plenty of flavor testing. Yours should too.
Messaging is vital. It’s obvious that you should take your time when communicating about product functions or service offerings, but what’s less obvious is the importance of communication in your emails. How often have you forgotten an attachment or important detail, or how often have your sentences caused confusion for those you work with? Walk in your recipients’ shoes—is everything clear, concise, and free of jargon? Test your email by re-reading it, and if you’re sending an important client email, have somebody else review it before you hit send at all. Be sure to also have a look at our guide to crafting excellent emails so you can be the best at communication.
7. Backup and disaster recovery plans
You knew we’d get to this one, didn’t you? A recent survey conducted by StorageCraft (full report of findings coming soon) revealed that getting clients to test their backup and disaster recovery plans was the number three biggest challenge for MSPs when it comes to their service offerings. This suggests that given the difficulty, testing probably isn’t happening in an overwhelming number of cases. This is bad. Testing a backup and disaster recovery plan is the single most important thing you can do in addition to having the plan itself—as we’ve explored throughout this post, you simply can’t know how things will work if you don’t test them first. Now get to that testing!
Curious about testing? Learn how you can use StorageCraft ShadowProtect backup images to test changes before you implement them on live production servers.