Quality Assurance: How It Works and Why It’s Important

The National Institute of Standards and Technology reports that software bugs cost the US economy an estimated $59.5 billion annually.  No one wants defects in their software, but inevitably they always seem to come up, resulting in customer disappointment, negative reputation impact, and revenue risks. This makes quality assurance one of the most important pieces of any software development process.

Quality assurance (usually referred to as QA) is more than a single step of the process; it takes place at every level of the software development life cycle. Testing and quality control help ensure that the development team delivers a high-quality product. Rigorous and systematic testing identifies problems early on in the development process, isolating project risks and maximizing ROI for you and your company.

What Is Quality?

Any software product is created to help its users improve their life experience, satisfy needs, or solve problems, so quality is the ability of a product to meet those objectives. Stakeholders and product owners see quality in an application when it meets their expectations, is delivered on time and within budget, and is maintainable. A software team defines quality as the degree to which the product meets the business requirements.

What Is the Role of the Quality Assurance Team?

The cost of errors in software grows exponentially as they sneak into later phases of the life cycle. To be the most beneficial and identify problems early on throughout product development, QA activities should be part of the development process from the very beginning, even during the planning and analysis stages. This will help reduce risks of creating incomplete or ambiguous requirements, or acceptance criteria that may be unclear on unable to be tested.

Quality assurance focuses not only on finding bugs, but also on preventing software issues, conducting root cause analysis, and educating the team about quality. QA improves the whole software development process, making it more efficient. By evaluating measures and metrics, testing constantly provides very important information about the state of the product. Critical business decisions are made on the basis of that information.

In Agile, which is one of the most widely used and efficient software development methodologies, testing and quality control go hand in hand with code creation. Constant testing allows software teams to find and fix defects in the same phase of the life cycle in which they were introduced, which reduces the risk of producing new defects and shortens product delivery time.

Why Are There Bugs?

Software is created by humans, and human error is inevitable. Defects happen when code is rushed or too complex, but even without these factors, bugs can still appear. While it’s easy to blame the developers, 20% of bugs are created at the requirements level and another 25% at the design level. No one can reduce risks to zero, but quality assurance eliminates critical defects, improves the system, and certifies that the product meets business and industry standards. Along with exit criteria, budget, and timeline, QA testing results factor greatly in any business decisions about a product’s readiness to go live.

Even when a product is released to the public, the job of the quality assurance team is not over. To stay competitive in the market, software should be a constantly changing product that stays highly adaptive to users’ feedback and quickly evolves to keep up with industry standards. Any adjustments or interference with code could potentially bring new issues, and it is always better if they are found by testers than by users.

Our Thoughts…

Building software is a human project, so there will be mistakes along the way, but the quality assurance team gives any project a safety net. The goal of developers is to make sure the product works. The quality assurance team is there to make sure the product works as well as it possibly can.

A high-quality product takes blood, sweat, and tears from every member of the team. A measured approach and a detailed test strategy will ensure a clear understanding of the final result by the customer. QA helps achieve these keys to any product’s success.

PeakActivity has a huge knowledge base in software building, including quality assurance. The right strategy is key to a successful product, and we can help at every step of the way.