The importance of quality assurance in software testing
Quality Assurance (QA) is an essential part of any software development team. This helps the test team save time and money and increase the quality of the products.
Having QA experts on your team will help detect vulnerabilities and errors faster, ensuring that the software under development is the best it can be. QA testers also bring together all stakeholders and members of the software development lifecycle (SDLC), including project managers, developers, business analysts, and more.
QA testers not only improve end products, but also the confidence and reliability of test and development teams, leading organizations ahead of the competition.
To shed some light on this topic, I spoke to industry experts who highlighted what QA can do for a test team.
Why have QA experts?
Whenever a company tries to test a product, quality should always be a top priority.
Louise gibbs, a senior quality assurance analyst at MandM Direct, shared this definition of Jerry Weinberg: âQuality has value for a personâ, which was supplemented by Michael Bolton: âQuality is value for a person that matters, at any given time. “
Therefore, as she points out, the test is to investigate an app and find something wrong. âYou always have to assume that there is going to be something wrong,â she said. Then, to ensure quality, testing teams need to identify bugs and determine whether or not they’re important to the people who matter. For this, QA experts are essential.
Quality assurance experts know what is important to the business and to the users, she continues. They can assess whether the application is suitable for the purpose or not. QA experts can use their knowledge of the business and use it to determine if an issue will prevent users from having the best possible experience.
Aman Dhudwarr, Senior Test Consultant at First Derivatives, reinforces this idea by saying that things will go wrong, even during testing. âWhen there is a lot of money and effort involved, the need for quality assurance increases. But she cautions that risks can only be avoided based on the experience of the quality assurance team.
According to her, the QA experts are there to mitigate those risks, build confidence in the team and the product, and provide more coverage in less time.
Lewis Prescott, Head of Quality Assurance Automation at Cancer Research UK, adds that a QA team can offer their expertise to all levels of the technical team. They will assess all possible risks before they even reach the developmental stage.
Louise also points out that businesses will want to provide quality products and services to their customers, but will often consider their own needs first. Therefore, a QA team can strengthen this bond between the business and the users, acting in both of their interests.
For example, a QA team can assess what the business has requested and determine if it would actually deliver what the user wants and needs, while ensuring that there are no unintended consequences. of the provision of this new functionality.
A lot of advantagesâ¦.
According to Louise, QA experts are able to know what is important to both the user and the business, thus bringing key elements to a team. Having a QA team in testing is hugely beneficial as it provides the knowledge and experience to target testing on the most important areas as well as to more accurately assess the impact of any bugs they might find. .
For Lewis, QA experts provide both structure and guidance to testing activities, perform excellent analysis of existing systems, and give businesses the value of testing.
Aman insists that a QA team will give a broader perspective and diversify project teams with a quality driven perspective.
âThe more diverse your QA team, the better. “
She goes on to point out that cognitive bias is often an oversight and that with tight deadlines and budgets it can quickly turn out to be wrong. A quality assurance team will ensure that the software meets its specifications, but will also validate the extent to which unique business needs have been met, which “can make or break a business.”
In addition, Aman adds that centralized QA teams provide a greater level of test independence and shift the focus from detecting problems to preventing them. This is because pure code-based testing usually fails when it lacks a human factor and developers struggle to meet test goals as they often focus on producing new code. With better automation, good AI tools, and collaboration, QA teams are able to empower developers and make business needs a priority.
Lewis points out that with GDPR, sophisticated security threats, and agile development, “How do businesses operate without a QA team in 2020?” “
… And challenges
However, having QA experts on your team can also be a challenge.
Louise stresses that to deliver the best value, QA experts need to demonstrate empathy and good communication skills. Indeed, a âQA team can never fully understand the needs of the business and the user without a certain degree of empathyâ. Likewise, they must also be in good communication with representatives of both groups. If your team has a leader who can never be contacted or who doesn’t speak to their customers, it will be difficult to build a product that is deemed high quality.
“Ensuring good communication channels between the different teams and the company will improve the chances of developing an effective product.”
In addition, as Louise points out, having regular communication with the different departments of the company can really improve the quality of the products in development.
Still, containment made everything more difficult. âBefore,â she says, âI knew at least one person from most departments through chats over a cafe or a water cooler. It has always been so helpful. I didn’t even know their names for many of them, but I often knew what department they were in, so I knew I could talk to them about a relevant issue. Now, without being able to see colleagues outside of my immediate team, I have to rely on zoom calls, online chats, and emails. It is more difficult to establish a connection via a webcam. “I have all of these names of colleagues, with details of what they do, but I have no idea what they look like or who is best to talk about specific challenges.”
Aman believes the lack of emphasis on the culture of testing is holding back many companies. Indeed, she points out that QA is often treated as a âdoor to qualityâ and therefore budget is not set aside to invest in better test automation tools and processes. All of this then leads to “manual bottlenecks” and lower quality products.
Quality assurance practices
Aman shares that in order to have quality assurance practices, it is essential to have continuous feedback. With the rapid adoption of agile methodologies, continuous feedback is essential to improve quality and productivity. So much so that, according to her, it overlaps most of the principles of software testing.
- Early tests: the earlier the tests start; the fastest feedback is available and can be addressed before it is too late or too expensive to correct.
- Grouping Defects: Some modules will be the most buggy, which must be communicated for a risk-based approach.
- Pesticide Paradox: Test cases need to be regularly reviewed and revised, adding new and different test cases to help find more flaws.
- Exhaustive tests are not possible: we absolutely cannot test everything so it is important to constantly work on the above!
Lewis also adds that the goal of automated testing is to make it easier to perform high speed testing and that it should not be viewed outside of the functionality testing requirements.
Drive digital transformations
As we have seen, QA experts can add a lot to a team and a business. What they can also do is drive digital transformations.
Indeed, Louise points out that having someone on the team who can connect testing with the business ensures that the team understands both the business and the customer’s needs. As the COVID-19 pandemic has driven digital transformation in businesses around the world, QA experts can make sure this transformation works for the team.
Lewis also adds that quality assurance is fundamental to achieving digital transformation, as quality remains the goal of a feature or version. It also gives the business the ability to scale quickly and make changes easily. Quality assurance can speed up your development teams and feature development.
Aman emphasizes that the pace and scope of digital transformation is only increasing and digital speed has become crucial. She emphasizes that QA to drive digital transformations requires automation of tests.
âFirst Derivatives has found that for many of our customers, software testing can take up to 60-70% of project effort, while test automation can save 40-50% of manual effort in the project. whole delivery. She says she’s particularly excited to see how the use of AI technology can be harnessed to make testing smarter and more efficient.
Add value and efficiency
In addition, quality assurance can also add value to the business.
One way to add value, as Louise points out, is to communicate business and user needs to the team. This way, they can make sure that everyone is aware of what’s important and that they can use it when developing a new app. Therefore, it saves less time in developing a product that will not be suitable for its purpose.
Additionally, Lewis emphasizes that QA can help find potential risks or blockers early on and thus allow the company to adapt and build the right product in the right way.
QA experts are becoming more and more essential in a team of testers. However, while there is some level of quality assurance, Aman emphasizes that there is always room for improvement, especially in the age of agility.
âQuality should never be a priority! If it slips, it will cost more time and money, as well as damage to reputation. It should be remembered that quality assurance is not just about testing; reassessing the processes you currently have in place can also increase the efficiency of your existing resources. ‘
Special thanks to Louise Gibbs, Aman Dhudwarr and Lewis Prescott for their insight on the subject!