Thorough quality assurance and testing are critical to software companies prior to releasing digital products or implementing updates. The release of apps with substandard quality may not only cause poor branding but may also have financial repercussions. With the risks and costs associated with software product launches, companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the testing process to ensure the quality of their products.
To avoid risks associated with poor-quality products, companies must follow certain measures. While companies may vary in terms of their challenges and strategies, they generally follow this process:
- Identify issues and inefficiencies as early as possible. The closer it is to the development phases, the better. DevOps, Agile, and continuous testing are strategies that can help achieve this.
- Review current processes and tools. Consider investing in the right technology based on your business goals. Enhance current processes and set realistic deadlines.
- Monitor software quality results internally and externally. Track the results of benchmark companies.
Proper implementation of strategic and effective QA management is imperative. Software quality management involves quality assurance, quality control, and testing. There are technologies that can help QA testers centralize and manage all testing efforts, such as test case management tools, which also help facilitate a smoother communication process between the team and stakeholders. Using these tools is just one way of improving quality assurance and testing. Let’s explore the other means of improving quality assurance and testing:
- Define requirements, design testing, and QA processes
QA Planning involves prioritizing tests and identifying key areas, such as goals, review policy, key elements, and users. By identifying these in the earlier stages, the team can properly plan staffing, budget, and process design.
It is important to understand the project requirements so that the team can properly design and create the right test plans. The project manager or business analyst should create a test strategy that documents the desired software testing approaches that are aligned to the testing objectives, business requirements, and budget.
In this stage, the communication and reporting process is also defined. Testing measurements, as well as defect reporting and tracking, are specified.
Test strategies are designed from an organizational standpoint and are not as flexible as test plans. For smaller projects, the test strategy may be made a part of the test plan. For bigger projects, test strategies are created as separate documents from which test plans are created.
An effective test strategy covers these details:
- Defining what the product is
- Identifying features to be tested
- Specifying how and when to test these areas
- Defining entry and exit criteria
Test plans, on the other hand, are written from a project level perspective. They are based on the test strategy established but this can be changed as needed.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) test plan template includes the following items:
- Test Plan Identifier
- Test Items (Functions)
- Software Risk Issues
- Features to be Tested
- Features not to be Tested
- Approach (Strategy)
- Item Pass/Fail Criteria
- Suspension Criteria and Resumption Requirements
- Test Deliverables
- Remaining Test Tasks
- Environmental Needs
- Staffing and Training needs
- Planning Risks and Contingencies
Test cases are then created after the test plan. The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) defines a test case as a “document which consists of a set of conditions or actions which are performed on the software application in order to verify the expected functionality of the feature”
- Utilize test management software and automation tools
Most companies leverage the blended approach to achieve business and project goals, using manual and automated testing where best suited in the testing process. For automation testing, test cases and codes are written before the QA testers execute the tests.
Manual testing and test automation are completely different entities that have their own strengths and weaknesses. By having a good balance of both, companies can make their testing processes more accurate and efficient.
Manual testing works best when the goals are focused on finding bugs and testing user experience. It is also the more practical approach for tests that have a smaller number of repetitions.
Load performance testing and tests that require a very large number of runs are best done through automated testing because there are automation tools that can simulate the desired number of users. Test automation also generates results faster than manual testing and can have higher test coverage.
Test management software allows QA teams to view the execution of these tests in real-time, which translates to better monitoring of the entire testing process. These systems allow the integration of other tools relevant to the tests being run. Test management systems have a test case repository that allows testers to store and reuse test cases, saving the company time and money. It also allows continuous delivery and integration while minimizing costs in the long run.
- Execute formal technical reviews
Formal technical reviews performed by software engineers expose logical and functional errors in the earlier stages. This helps make sure that the app meets the standards and requirements previously established.
- Build a strong QA team
A QA team is typically composed of a QA lead, automation QA engineers, and manual QA testers.
These members must be involved throughout the entire testing process. When your company decides to use a new system, it works best if everyone in the team undergoes training that helps expand their knowledge and gain expertise on the tool and the process.
Good communication between the QA testers, project managers, and other stakeholders involved is beneficial. This allows the team to understand the challenges and brainstorm solutions.
- Consider User Acceptance Testing
Basing your evaluations on user persona guidance alone won’t suffice. User personas are your ideal user or typical customer who have the behavior that is typical among your target audience.
Prior to releasing your products, consider running alpha and beta tests to gather feedback from actual users. Use the feedback given by the internal team to fix errors and further enhance product quality. Beta testing helps to determine the usability of your app to the average user. Get quality feedback from your beta testers and improve app usability.
Check if the app meets contract and legal requirements, as well.
- Run high-quality codes
The metrics used to measure code quality should be relevant to your workflow. There are several aspects that you’ll want your software quality evaluation to be based on:
- Performance efficiency
- Rate of delivery
- Report bugs clearly and immediately
A poorly written report may be misunderstood by your engineers so ensure that your reports are written clearly. Identify the problems and provide solutions. Attempt to reproduce a bug before reporting it. When reproduced and documented properly, engineers will have a better understanding of the failure. The closer bug detection is to the software development phase, the better it is. Thus, a timely and clear bug reporting process is beneficial for the team.
In the software development industry, the business does not stop at product releases. There is a need to continually update or upgrade your products to maintain that competitive advantage. Whenever updates or product enhancements are made, the team will need to undergo quality and assurance testing again. This is why designing and creating a robust process that anticipates such iteration should be among the things that companies focus on.