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The Changing Roles of QA Teams

A guest post on DZone about how QA and testing professionals are having their roles and responsibilities redefined.

· Agile Zone

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Technology moves incredibly fast these days, and any organization that isn't swift enough to keep up will quickly find itself struggling to stay afloat. This is especially evident in the software development and quality assurance industries. Long gone are the days when software companies could get by solely using an ad hoc approach to their testing practices. QA teams can no longer fly by the seat of their pants, administering tests on a whim. Advancements in test management software have given departments access to a variety of resources and the capacity to experiment and combine different strategic approaches. The organizations that have failed to make the most of this opportunity have wallowed in mediocrity as their competitors pass them by.

AppLabs CEO and Silicon India contributor Sashi Reddi recently credited this improved capacity to the practice of testing. More developers than ever before have utilized a remote team of QA professionals to handle their testing needs. Reddi stated that these outsourced teams have brought a fresh eye to quality assurance efforts, catching bugs with greater frequency and earlier in the development cycle. "Today, more than ever, organizations seek to improve productivity and reduce application operating and maintenance costs while speeding time to benefit and improving quality of the applications they move into production by using independent testing services providers," Reddi wrote. "The major reason attributed for this shift is as testers working for a different company are even more likely to view software with a critical eye than testers who work for the same company as the software's developers.”

The transition away from in-house QA teams has created challenges synchronizing the efforts of development and testing departments separated by hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. Real-time software test management has become an absolute necessity for software developers that want to get the most out of their quality assurance practices, shortening production cycles and resulting in the release of better software. By seeing changes at both ends as they happen, developers and QA members can ensure they aren't wasting their time working on a bug that's already been addressed or testing an old version of the software. Mobile trends drive change. Outsourced quality assurance has become a standard practice in the software development industry, but emerging trends are fresh on its heels. The proliferation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has forced developers to reconsider who their target audience is.

Does it make sense to sink resources into PC software development when the population is increasingly gravitating to a mobile-first computing model? Current market conditions dictate that businesses allocate resources to mobile software development, further changing software testing program. Veteran tech journalist and TechTarget contributor Jennifer Lent identified several ways in which the growth of mobile has shaken up the testing industry, most notably the Software developers and testers have always had to contend with shortening production cycles, but the expectations for mobile development are far beyond what PC and Internet projects have traditionally faced.

Experts such as independent consultant Howard Deiner have stated that implementing an Agile development method, the entire production cycle of a mobile device could last no more than 60 days, meaning developers and testers will need to have submitted their finished product before then. Additionally, Deiner told the source that mobile developers must contend with more competition, pushing the need for quality software right out the gate. By taking an Agile approach to software development, businesses can improve the rate at which evaluations are completed and the results given to developers for correction.

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Topics:
agile ,qa ,testing

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