How to Build a Structured QA Strategy
These tips will help you build an effective, consistent approach to quality assurance for your software development process.
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Being a software tester is not merely about finding bugs. Rather, it's about collecting objective data that allows others to make informed decisions. Modern QA is moving toward the idea that the role is not static nor the sole responsibility of one person. As such, a tester's role is evolving along with a shift in the industry.
With an increase in demands — from running and maintaining the tests to communicating with developers and creating new test cases — how can you structure your QA efforts to make it more effective?
Creating a consistent, functional approach to quality assurance helps you acquire more knowledge about the product you're testing and prompts questions you otherwise may not think of. Furthermore, a proper QA strategy promotes ownership of quality.
Siloed QA Teams Don't Scale
Software development is a sequence of particular events and QA is usually always near the end. But in agile projects, QA is part of the core team. This is critical to the overall success of the program. By setting things up in this way, testers understand what they're testing from the start. They also know the exact requirements and what to expect. Additionally, create a community where the entire team feels comfortable providing product feedback and suggestions.
A development team that implements a strong QA strategy holds everyone accountable for fewer bugs and better software quality. an effective QA strategy can make all the difference in the world for a successful implementation.
Define solid objects that are aligned with team and company protocols. Developers also need to be kept updated regularly on testing progress, areas in need of improvement, and product features requiring attention.
Align QA Teams and Product Goals
A well-defined strategy is only as good as how it's communicated. Multiple departments and numerous employees can often lead to confusion. Aligning goals throughout your organization is one of the most important things you can do. Clarifying goals, timelines, and target dates helps avoid confusion and subverts individual tendencies towards overriding project priorities.
Also, employees who understand company goals show increased morale and are more engaged.
Define Test Cases From the Start
Test cases are critical to the overall success of any QA strategy. Projects with haphazard guidelines for software testing are inefficient and costly.
Instead, provide clear documentation to QA testers to ensure tests are done in a logical and systematic manner. Templates should be simple to understand and should be followed by anyone doing software development.
Manual or Automated? Both
It's not an either/or scenario. Both manual and automated testing should be used. While QA testers will never be replaced by a computer, there's an awful lot of work that can - and should - be done with automated testing tools.
Automation helps QA engineers be more effective, and focus more on overall quality goals. Testing automation is a key component of development. However, it should only accelerate QA, not replace it.
Dive Deeper Into Documents
Testing only gives you so much knowledge. It's much easier to fix errors when you truly understand the product. If design and architectural documents are available, look them over. Learn the app's architecture and the flow of data. With this information, you can draw better conclusions about what you're testing and how the system works.
Research Past Errors
Your job is not only to find and fix bugs but to make sure they don't return. Through research and analyzation, you can find the most susceptible functionalities that could break your app. By analyzing past defects and customer complaints, you can find patterns in order to develop more automation around these areas.
Use this information to ask some additional questions about errors and bugs: Why did this issue occur, what caused it, and which commit might be the problem.
Don't just focus on testing functionality but consider front — and back-end interactions, too. Are error logs detailed enough? Are exceptions being handled correctly and fully? These questions allow testers to be proactive instead of reactive - which is key during testing. They also encourage discussions with the managers and developers. Seek out any product bugs or gaps and the solutions to fix them. These answers could prevent future errors or ones that might have gone unnoticed.
Quality That Lasts
One of the biggest challenges testing teams face is maintaining quality over time. It may become tempting to opt for quick fixes as a company scales. However, teams must prioritize development and testing choices that provide overall quality in the long run. QA doesn't happen in a vacuum. Developers and product teams should collaborate to continually improve the application.
Published at DZone with permission of Lauren Gilmore, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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