Quality assurance (QA) is not a new phrase for developers. Most know it as an essential part of the software process which is crucial to producing quality code. But throughout the pandemic, with extreme pressure for businesses to transform quickly, it’s a discipline that risks being dismissed by organizations and tech leaders as a last-minute exercise to tick off – but at what cost ? Many have overlooked QA in search of that quick app launch or new digital service, resulting in unwanted surprise or disappointment for customers when they’re not working.
We all know the old adage, quality over quantity, but when considering software development, CIOs should have quality in mind over speed. While high-speed software production is clearly a necessity for businesses to succeed – whether they are start-ups that pivot during a pandemic or businesses that follow these more nimble competitors – QA must become more than a forgotten principle for internal IT teams.
To achieve the necessary standards at the required speed, technical leadership should embed QA as a specified requirement of any software project, rather than an afterthought.
How poor quality assurance can lead to unhappy customers
Quality assurance is the process of monitoring the software development process and methodology to ensure that the result meets project requirements, as well as industry safety and compliance standards. With quality assurance at the heart, companies can better understand the condition of their product, which allows them to constantly assess, improve and improve its production for better results and to know if the production is meeting the standards. business requirements.
In order to develop a strategy to ensure quality at every step, companies must understand their customers’ needs, the user journey, the expected target markets and the expected performance of the software. Without it, businesses will have a hard time not only meeting and securing customer requirements, but also business goals and expectations.
Without QA, it is difficult for companies to assess the functionality of the product or service, and it becomes extremely difficult to track critical defects that become expensive to correct once detected in post-production. Poor quality control can also lead to several other challenges, including delayed product launches, unhappy customers, reduced brand reputation, and increased technical debt.
Developers and quality engineers are separate roles
In its early days, software development adopted the best practices used in the hardware / manufacturing industry, which relies heavily on quality assessment at the end of the product lifecycle prior to release. As a result, much of the tech industry adopted outdated strategies which then became common practice. In fact, there are still hundreds of CIOs and CTOs I talk to who expect QA processes to be a complement to the end of the software development process.
Many technical managers believe that it is the developers who ensure the quality of a software project throughout its lifecycle. And that’s true to some extent – there are some fantastic and talented developers out there! But this prospect can teach bad habits and means that QA is a developer expectation rather than a specified requirement for the entire project.
That’s because it’s easy to forget that developers aren’t quality engineers, they’re actually two entirely separate roles that should work side-by-side throughout any digital project. The role of a developer involves writing and maintaining the source code, which typically includes implementing unit and integration tests to ensure that the code matches the requirements. However, they are not involved in performing functional and non-functional testing or reporting defects to the development team.
Put quality assurance at the heart of the software lifecycle
Any business embarking on a software-based digital project needs both developers and QA testers, you can’t have one without the other. But technology leaders can struggle to hire both good developers and QA engineers, either because of expense or the lack of availability of skilled workers. Recruitment is a long and expensive process, especially when it comes to recruiting skills that are already in high demand.
In light of this landscape and the impacts of COVID, which have forced many companies to reduce their internal teams, IT departments are increasingly under pressure. This means that processes like quality assurance, which many companies don’t see as a necessity or a priority, can be overlooked. But placing quality assurance at the heart of the software lifecycle can actually save time, by avoiding erasing code with errors that will eventually come back for update.
Ultimately, businesses don’t just need to create software, they need to improve it and make it work and grow with its needs and goals. Quality assurance makes this possible.
Written by Nuria Manuel, Technical Quality Assurance Manager, distributed