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5 ways to improve your quality assurance

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Quality assurance (QA) not only confirms the quality of your software but also ensure smooth business operations. Effective quality assurance allows businesses to begin to trust your name as a symbol of quality and recommend your products to others.

Imagine that your QA department fails. Complaints begin to flood in. Your products receive bad reviews online, which in turn further impacts sales. Your support department is overwhelmed.
Let’s stop this from happening in the first place.

Quality assurance takes on additional importance when one takes into account that our lives are run by a variety of pieces of software. From getting up in the morning to commuting to work, our lives are run by efficiently working and bug-free software.

QA has garnered such an important role that the process is no longer only completed as a last step before a product goes into the world. Brenda Hall, CEO of Bridge360, stated that “quality assurance is no longer the last thing you do before the software launches; it weaves through the entire software life cycle, with business goals attached”.

QA practices are still undergoing development. For example, developers used to have the freedom to correct the code while the software was being tested. Now however, developers’ access to test code is restricted during the process.

Smart QA practices go beyond simply testing the product early and often. The following are some tips that will help your firm emerge as a competitive software producer.

Develop tests during the requirements phase

Traditionally, companies used to wait until all the requirements had been established and finished before beginning testing. The new convention recommends an entirely different approach.

An increasing number of QA professionals believe that QA testing should be done from the very beginning, even when all of the requirements have not been finalized. QA professionals should also be able to begin writing test cases based on the requirements even before the code is written.

A QA professional’s ability to write test cases depends upon clear requirement documentation. Clear and testable requirements mean that your developer will produce a customer-driven application.

Moreover, discovering and removing bugs at the initial stages of the project costs substantially less than doing so toward the end of the project life cycle. This practice has become one of the indications of a smart and efficient QA process.

Encourage collaboration and acceptance

Promoting an environment of collaboration among developers and quality assurance testers assists in improving productivity. Hire detail-oriented and experienced QA professionals. Doing so ensures that developers respect your QA staff members and their input.

“If the development organization and the QA organization don’t respect each other, we won’t be able to achieve our high-level quality goals,” stated eBay’s Vice President in charge of QA, David Pride.

By creating a more collaborative environment, QA testers are able to work more efficiently. They are also able to identify risks proactively and ensure that bugs that would prove troublesome later are handled early on.

This collaborative spirit allows testers to work more efficiently on other projects as well. By using project management software such as nTask, QA testers are able to work on projects remotely on the strength of their relationship with the development team.

Utilize independent reporting

Quality assurance can be a source of anxiety in some firms. This anxiety can be experienced by developers as well as testers. After all, pointing out someone’s shortcomings is not a pleasant task and neither is receiving critical feedback.

However, QA does not need to be negative. The image of QA should be that of improvement and betterment for the project and the developers.

The QA process can go much more smoothly by creating independent reporting channels. Instead of the QA team reporting to the developer team, proper channels of reporting must be established. It should be the job of the business analyst department to ensure that the correct actions are taken in response to the QA team’s report.

Automation is your friend

Automation is the new buzzword in QA circles, and rightly so. Throughout the project life cycle, certain QA tests will be run over and over again. Coding and manually running tests is a tedious and frustrating process.

This is where automation comes to the rescue. Automating repetitive tasks allows the test teams to focus on other important tasks and maximize their efficiency. Scheduling automated tests also ensures that the required tests are performed on time.

Automation allows for increased productivity, better quality, and reduced costs and doesn’t necessarily require expensive automation tools.

Specify roles

QA is a stressful business. However, this stress can be managed with the help of planning.

According to Methods & Tools contributor Lloyd Roden, “Time spent planning who does what at the start of the project is time well spent”.

Dedicating testers to certain aspects of the software ensures that each area has someone’s complete attention. Test management helps to identify and reduce issues quickly. This practice should be carried out throughout the project life cycle, especially for complex software programs.

For example, Barnes & Nobles has divided its testers according to departments: store systems, financial systems, and warehouse systems. This helps QA testers develop their expertise and identify possible problems ahead of time.