You hired a great software development team. They’re smart, fast, and have developed products that should leave the competition in the dust. But, lately, you’ve noticed a nagging trend. Revisions and bug fixes are starting to pop up with greater frequency. Projects are running behind schedule and over budget. Now, every time you hit the release button you say a silent prayer that the last code updates have not injected new defects.
Eventually, the original excitement that came as a result of being perceived as a market leader begins to erode, replaced by bad customer reviews and a rapidly demoralized team.
Your Problem? Lack of Quality Assurance (QA)
QA is all too often treated like a red-headed stepchild when, in reality, it’s one of the most important steps in the software development process. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Here are some of the more common QA issues that, if left unresolved can have devastating effects on your bottom line.
The Wrong People May Be “Testing”
There is a misconception that anyone can test. It’s often delegated to developers, business analysts, product owners, stakeholders, and even end-users. Investing a lot of money into a product but not investing in the process to ensure its quality doesn’t make much sense.
No matter how talented and experienced programmers are, it’s simply not possible for them to test their own logic without encountering “implementation bias.” The goal of a developer should be focusing on innovation, creativity, and writing code to solve user objectives. It’s not to run endless test scenarios.
Enter the Software Quality Assurance Analyst
In contrast, the job of a dedicated Quality Assurance Analyst is to verify, validate, and explore the system to predict and prevent technical risks. Armed with that analysis, stakeholders can then make informed decisions. Quality Assurance Analysts conduct static requirements analysis, functional, integration, system, end-to-end, performance, stress, load, compatibility, and exploratory testing at all layers and environments of the software product. Analysts create testing documentation and detailed bug reports to ensure not a single defect is left unaddressed.
The QA Practice is Not Fully Integrated into the Development Process
If your team is using the classic Waterfall methodology—where testing follows when code is fully written—then you’re creating an environment where QA is at an inherent disadvantage. Consequently, your time to market will increase as defects that could have been prevented in the earliest stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC) are left unidentified. And all too often, when a project is “completed” and testing is the bottleneck, code is pushed prematurely as business pressures mount to launch.
QA & Agile—A Match Made in Software Heaven
Adopting the Agile methodology brings more flexibility to the development process best captured by the mantra of “Test early, test often, test together.” Rather than viewed as adversarial elements, Agile brings Development and QA together working in close collaboration uniting team members around a common goal: create and deliver high-quality products on time and within budget. The role of QA is significantly advanced in an Agile team. Within Agile, testing is not considered a step in the process, it is the essence of the process. It should be built into the product from day one!
It’s Not Easy to Hire the Right Quality Assurance Analyst
While a Quality Assurance Analyst needs to possess such classic skill sets as test planning and execution, defect management, the role of a QA Analyst has changed. Equally important are:
- Critical thinking, mental agility, and creativity
- Understanding end-user needs help deliver business value, improve software quality, and increase delivery velocity.
Today, being a QA Analyst means being a quality advocate who spreads the culture of quality across development teams using the language of programmers.
Automate Your Testing
Regression test cycle has grown to the point that manual testing takes too much time and a regression test suite is hard to maintain. This is why you should automate routine testing. By doing so, you’ll be able to quickly provide development teams with critical feedback, reduce time to market, improve product quality, and reduce overall costs. Automated testing provides you with the luxury of running enough exploratory, usability, and acceptance testing against the latest builds, searching for unusual or unexpected behavior of the system.
There are multiple approaches and tools, both open source and paid that you can use to automate your testing. But, it’s worth noting that choosing a tool is just the beginning of the process. You also need the right strategy and the right resources to administer the process.
Some Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself
- Are you satisfied with the quality of your software?
- Does your company keep investing in technology development processes, but you still struggle with production defects?
- Do your software engineers spend their time on testing rather than developing new features?
- Does your HR/Recruiting department have expertise in hiring the right Quality Analyst for your company?
- Is there a perception that testing is a bottleneck?
- Would you like to scale your QA team?
If any of the above questions resonate with you, let’s talk!
PeakActivity can help raise the quality of your software product and software development process, achieving superior product quality standards while providing for an exceptional user experience. After an in-depth analysis of the product, requirements, development process, and stakeholders’ priorities our experts will:
- Tailor a team of qualified professionals that perfectly fit your company’s needs and corporate culture.
- Seamlessly embed our quality practice into the existing software development life cycle, making sure the development team feels comfortable and supported.
- Develop a testing strategy that provides fast, efficient, and cost-effective end-to-end solutions.
As a part of a development team, our Quality Engineers will:
- Create company quality standards and guidelines.
- Conduct all types of testing activities including usability, functional, integration, regression, performance, test automation, A/B testing, and more.
- Provide static analysis of business requirements to identify unclear or missed requirements and prevent rework
- Create and execute a regression testing suite, ensuring that the system is reliable and stable.
- Provide automation of the testing process, utilizing up-to-date industry approaches and tools.
- Create test documentation, recordings of testing coverage, and test results.