Quality assurance testing, or QA testing, is a vital step in the software development cycle. Effective QA testing reveals errors and inconsistencies that can affect the real-world use of the software being developed. When done correctly, QA testing ensures product longevity while saving companies time and money.
Developers working on a tight budget might be tempted to skip QA testing. However, the cost of correcting errors after product rollout can be higher than the cost of initial QA testing.
If you’re new to QA testing, this article can help you understand its fundamentals.
- What is QA testing?
- The QA process
- Getting started with QA testing
- QA testing best practices
- Top QA testing software
- Further QA resources
What is QA testing?
QA testing is the process developers use to verify and assure the quality of a software product or service before releasing it to customers. doesn’t involve creating the product, but rather examining the quality of the end product and the outcomes it can achieve.
QA testing typically involves:
- Finding and fixing errors, bugs, and redundancies
- Confirming logical flow
- Ensuring seamless User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
- Anticipating and fixing unexpected software flaws
- Ensuring developers meet customer requirements and expectations
The primary aim of QA testing is to verify if a product meets customer requirements and specifications. The secondary aim of QA testing is to ensure that developers fix any issues or problems before launch. The final goal of QA testing is to find and execute solutions to the specific challenge at hand.
On a broader note, QA testing aims to improve the quality and efficiency of a software development process. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that professionals or software development companies deliver the best product possible in keeping with industry-best quality benchmarks.
Traditionally, QA testers were brought on board toward the end of the software development cycle. The software was first developed and then forwarded to the QA team to assess and offer feedback. However, developers soon realized this wasn’t optimal. As a result, QA teams now work alongside software developers in a collaborative process to suggest and implement solutions on an ongoing basis.
A QA tester or analyst is driven by the responsibility to deliver the best possible product to customers.
The QA process
A good QA process checks whether the product meets your specifications and needs. While software testing can vary slightly depending on the company’s practices, the main stages remain the same.
- Analysis of requirements. QA analysts review and analyze the specific requirements of a project. They develop clarity on the parameters of their involvement. Most QA teams start early in the product development cycle. Analyzing requirements is crucial as it sets the framework for effective and executable quality control.
- Planning. QA professionals start the test planning phase once they have a good understanding of project requirements. They must define the scope of their work and come up with a testing strategy specific to the project. Planning also involves laying out the QA approach for each stage of the software engineering cycle, the type of testing called for, and the tools required.
- Test case development. A test case is a combination of actions that must be performed on a system to ensure it functions correctly. Its purpose is to ensure that separate features within a software fall within applicable guidelines and standards. Test case development sets out step-by-step processes for each testing sequence. It includes checklists for both manual and automated testing methods.
- Test execution. This is the process of executing the prepared test case and determining the differences between expected and actual results. It involves capturing test results and reporting bugs, errors, and other problems. QA testers create additional sub-tests to test these issues. Final test results are brought before the team members for further action.
- Verification. This involves retesting the product once the development team has fixed all issues brought up in the test execution stage. Verification involves regression testing and analysis, where QA testers check if identified bugs have been successfully resolved and whether new bugs have appeared. The verification process ensures the optimal functionality of the product.
- Documentation and reporting. This stage involves preparing a document outlining all tests conducted during the product development cycle, along with their results. It gives detailed insights into the number and nature of errors and anomalies detected. The document lists the entire chronology of the testing process and can be used to reinforce future product testing cycles.
Getting started with QA testing
If an application is too buggy, it can be frustrating to use, decrease customer satisfaction, and negatively impact your market reputation. This makes it all the more important for developers and QA engineers to work together and ensure that no bugs escape into production.
To develop and deliver high-quality software, you can’t compromise at any stage during app testing. As more people start using your software, you want to be even more careful with the QA.
Follow these steps to design and implement an effective QA process to test your software.
- Make it an ongoing activity. You must incorporate QA testing into every step of the software development lifecycle. The earlier QA teams become involved in the process, the better your chances of identifying issues and determining corrective actions.
- Implement a DevOps model. DevOps is a merger of development and operations teams designed to fuel faster development and delivery of applications. It’s a leap from traditional processes and can bring substantial competitive advantages. A DevOps model reduces failure rates and improves time-to-market.
- Implement operational transparency. Clarity is important in QA testing to achieve faster results under demanding deadlines. Testers need a clear understanding of a software product’s final deliverables to be effective. Further, transparency enables other teams to inspect the testing process and learn from it.
- Enable results-oriented QA testing. This strategy helps QA teams focus on the specific business goals of a software product. Results-oriented QA testing is based on achieving a faster and more dynamic testing environment. It enables QA testers to prioritize resources and deliver the best outcomes.
With an ever-growing demand for high-quality software, QA professionals are always under pressure to deliver solutions under deadline. Since QA testing is an evolving industry, you’ll want to have access to the best resources available.
- Test scenario checklist. This is an essential tool for QA test management. Test scenarios cover usability testing, performance testing, exploratory testing, acceptance testing, security testing, and all other aspects of general functional testing. You can ensure that common software errors are quickly identified and fixed by maintaining a checklist of the most common test cases.
- Bug trackers. Save time and resources by turning to a bug tracking software like Airbrake for error data management. The software allows users to identify and aggregate bugs efficiently. QA testing involves finding, reporting, and tracking bugs that may become unmanageable in larger project scenarios. A good tracker provides advanced bug-tracking options.
- QA testing blogs. There are a host of blogs related to QA testing, Google’s Testing Blog being one of the most prolific. Google’s testing team provides detailed breakdowns of issues encountered and fixed, with easy-to-grasp infographics and screengrabs. Following this blog is a free and convenient way of keeping up to date with current issues and of rapidly expanding your QA expertise.
QA testing best practices
These QA best practices can help ensure the highest standards of product delivery.
- Combine manual and automated testing. You can expect to have the best QA testing results with a careful combination of manual and automated testing methodologies. Use manual testing to cover a wide range of scenarios and conditions, while any test that needs to be performed repeatedly should be automated using test automation tools. Automation doesn’t work across all parameters, so use it to supplement manual testing.
- Use crowd testing. Crowd testing can help you improve the scalability of your testing by making use of a much larger population of QA testers within a short time. Hundreds of QA testers working simultaneously on multiple devices—performing cross-browser testing and testing on different operating systems with varying software compatibility—can deliver results in a matter of hours. For the best results, work out a combination of in-house testing, crowd testing, and automated testing.
- Use continuous integration and delivery testing. Continuous integration lets developers update small sections of code into a central module. You can run test scripts every time the code gets updated. With continuous delivery and integration testing, you can release fresh installments of your product periodically. Both systems are efficient in addressing issues affecting user experience.
- Include risk management. Incorporate risk management objectives into your QA testing processes. By outlining and assessing the risks, you can control them from the start and improve the execution process. This can streamline your QA activities and deliver a high-quality final product.
- Achieve quality with speed. Regularly review your QA process efficiency over different stages of the product development cycle. Don’t let software quality and speed become mutually exclusive. Aim to achieve high-quality outcomes by increasing efficiency and facilitating easy communication between teams. Some ways to achieve quality with speed would be to test the unit code as it’s developed, use continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), and conduct parallel testing.
- Ensure effective methodologies. Effective software QA testing processes can lower the costs of developing a product by ensuring the software conforms to requirements and guidelines.
- Conduct continuous monitoring. Ensure relevant standards and procedures are followed throughout the development process by continuously monitoring QA test practices.
- Use analytics. Predictive analytics can help you predict where bugs are likely to occur based on past test data—helping you develop new tests and determine which QA metrics to track. You can use different types of data, such as defect data, testing-related data, development data, application data, operation data, and customer usage data.
- Cover multiple exigencies. Use your QA testing methodology to cover the widest possible range of conditions and scenarios. This should include different devices, operating systems, and user profiles.
- Use regression testing. New additions to a code can lead to errors in features that previously passed QA testing. Employ a vigorous regression testing system to overcome this challenge.
Top QA testing software
In-house testing may not always be possible or cost-effective, which is why you should look at using any one of a number of testing tools to evaluate your product. Because each product’s requirements are different, though, they may not all be appropriate for you. Do enough research to find the one that works best for you.
Top QA testing software includes:
Further QA resources
Whether you’re an individual working on your first web application or a startup with dreams of going big by launching your all-in-one iOS mobile app, we welcome you to use these resources to get the maximum benefit.
- 5 Tips for Becoming a QA Tester
- What Is Unit Testing? Frameworks, Examples, and Best Practices
- How to Build a Remote Test Automation Team
Hire a quality assurance professional
More and more businesses around the world are recognizing the benefits of tapping independent talent to execute and refine their QA testing needs.
Connect with hundreds of professionals or agencies around the globe if you need help with QA testing. At Ndiwano.com, we make it easy to find the right independent software testing professional for your next job.
- Software QA testers
- Test-driven development specialists
- Unit testing specialists
- Software testers