Six Steps to Optimize Your Software Quality Testing for Consistent Results
Anyone should be able to repeat your tests and get the same results.
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This is how important software quality testing is to the success of your product: 40% of tech startups fail because of poor or absent QA. Failing to implement one of the fundamental aspects of software development can sabotage your all efforts.
Now, if you are reading this, then the chances are good that you will not be making the mistake of bypassing QA all together. More likely, the danger you run is not optimizing your software quality testing for consistent results that deliver a quality product to your users.
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The key to optimization is planning. If you want to clear the first hurdle of introducing a new product to market, then you need to plan your software quality testing around these five areas:
It is that simple. With a little forethought and consideration for how best to put your product to the test, you gain an advantage over nearly half the field of new entrants to the marketplace.
Optimizing software testing begins by prioritizing the user experience. What that 40% of startups forgot is that QA is for users; the QA process makes sure your product works for your target market.
Plan for Better Software Quality Testing
This important statistic tells us that too many developers focus on the code development aspects of software development and forget about the necessity for testing. The rise of the Agile method of development has taught us that the two are inseparable. Testing shapes and improves code development. It makes sure that every change implemented in the SDLC is an improvement and does not break the application.
Software quality testing optimizes the delivery and performance of an application. It smoothes the user experience and makes sure technology does not get in the way of performance.
Optimizing the test phase itself creates better quality products that arrive faster and cost less to produce. Achieving that optimization takes planning. It is as simple and as complex as that.
It begins with product analysis.
Analysis: Understand Your Own Product
All successful software development projects begin with a comprehensive scoping study. This study should clearly identify the project objectives and the optimal ways to achieve them.
In reference to software quality testing, it means identifying the types of testing required and the most efficient means of execution. In its broadest sense, this is a discussion around manual vs. automated testing. Automation has become the clear favorite of 21st-century developers due to its speed and cost efficiency. There is, however, still a place for manual testing, especially in areas such as UI, functionality and integration testing that requires more sensitivity to the human end-user experience.
Ultimately, the best results are achieved when automation is supplemented with a manual testing component.
By identifying when each approach should be used within the test suite, you have already started down the road to optimizing the test phase according to time, resource and cost considerations. These become further amplified in the next phase — design.
Design: Build a Framework for Your Product
No matter how strong your code is, if the surrounding test framework is brittle, your QA will fail. The test framework design and the tools you select to execute the contained test cases are integral to your product success. An optimal system will accommodate your unique test environment and the skills and preferences of your development and IT teams. But there are some best practice guidelines to consider.
Your framework needs to be:
- Maintainable. It should be easy to populate and reuse your test design as your product evolves.
- Robust. The framework needs to be extendable, reusable and scalable enough to deliver value in the long term.
- Portable. To ensure flexibility, the framework should work across machines, environments, and platforms.
- Reportable. Make sure your framework delivers the answers your test phase was designed for.
Your framework is the mechanism through which all your test requirements pass. By building it to suit your specific requirements, you save time and resources during the pressures of a release cycle.
Creation: Garbage In = Garbage Out
Each test phase — especially an automated test case — is only as strong as the test scripts written to power it. The skills involved in implementing automation testing reside in creating test cases that produce reliable and predictable results. Automation can test only for the elements it was instructed to pursue. Software quality testing relies on quality test case creation.
Execution: Review Test Results
Automated test scripts are executed to verify the product stability. QA engineers review the product features to verify that all checks and measures meet end-user requirements. This is an important phase to ensure that required execution environments are planned and optimized in order to quickly generate the test results and implement the changes in code.
Maintenance: Data Integrity Across Production
As we discussed in the “Design” section, test environment maintenance is critical to preserving the value of software quality testing. The system has to survive through iteration after iteration of Agile innovation and refinement, so it needs to be easy for testers and developers alike to populate and reuse the test design. Ease of maintenance increases test speed and coverage — key differentiators between arriving at deadline or disappointing user expectations.
Personnel: In-House or Outsource
The final decision toward optimizing the software quality testing process is to agree on who does the actual testing. And, just as importantly, who designs the framework, selects the test tools and takes ultimate responsibility for the delivery of a quality product.
Performing testing internally helps an enterprise maintain strict control over the test processes and the associated audit and compliance requirements. It also facilitates communication across development, QA and IT teams in order to unlock the advantages of Agile and DevOps methodologies.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, is commonly associated with two major resource boons.
Firstly, there are the resource and time savings. Outsourcing QA to an offshore or nearshore location offers advantages consistent with domestic options at much lower costs. Outsourcing to India, for example, can reduce QA spend by half. Additionally, enlisting a QA team in a distant time zone means you can deliver 24-hour production. These time considerations result in faster production overall.
Secondly, there are the resource advantages of employing an expert QA tester over internal developers and IT staff that may be pressed into service beyond their expertise. External QA offers a diversity of domain expertise, dedicated QA knowledge and the ability to rapidly upscale production during peak release cycles.
The easiest way to optimize software quality testing is to place the responsibility in the hands of a dedicated expert. No one does QA like someone who does nothing but QA.
Software Quality Testing, Optimized
When simply taking the time to implement software quality testing gives you an advantage over nearly 40% of new arrivals in the marketplace, then optimizing that process has the potential to be a key differentiator.
Optimal QA processes save time and resources and deliver quality products that improve the end-user experience. And all it takes to unlock those potentials is planning software testing. A clear, well-considered software quality testing strategy separates the best products from those that fail the user.
Published at DZone with permission of Vakul Gotra. See the original article here.
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