- What Is QA Testing?
- 7 QA Testing Best Practices
- 1. Create a Well-defined Structured Plan
- 2. Set SMART Goals and Objectives for QA Testing
- 3. Ensure that QA Testing adheres to Industry Standards
- 4. Make Use of a Multi-directional Testing Method
- 5. Conduct External Quality Assurance Audits
- 6. Document the Entire QA Testing Process
- 7. Enhance Your QA Knowledge Over Time
What Is QA Testing?
QA is an abbreviation for Quality Assurance. It is a systematic process designed to check if a product or service meets the required standards; these could be international standards – such as the ISO 9000. Companies use QA testing to give customers confidence that their product or service is reliable and has an official seal of approval.
QA testing is essential to ensuring that any bugs are spotted far in advance. By spotting these, and working to smooth them out, you can ensure you have returning customers to your software or even improve your app stickiness.
QA testing doesn’t just look at your software on a surface level, it considers business requirements, security standards, and technical specifications. Once you can say your product is Quality Assured, customers will feel safe in investing their money in it.
Testing software follows a pretty clear life cycle with six distinct stages. By placing your QA in software development life cycle, you can test your software every step of the way. The six stages include:
- Requirement analysis
- Test planning
- Test case design
- Test environment set up
- Test execution, and test closure
- TMMI – Test Maturity Model Integration.
TMMI is measured in five levels, from level 1 – which indicates poorly coordinated processes, to level 5 – where processes are optimized and continually improved.
7 QA Testing Best Practices
By increasing your knowledge of the best QA testing practices, you can help raise your TMMI and improve the quality of your software.
1. Create a Well-defined Structured Plan
The first thing to do is have a clear-cut plan for your project. When you have a well-defined goal – you wouldn’t ‘wing it’, you’d make a structured plan of attack. Your QA testing should be no different.
Your plan should cover what needs testing, who will be doing the testing, what resources they need, when the deadline is, what the acceptance criteria are, and its current status. Having some kind of shared document with all of this information ensures that all members of the QA team are kept up to date with the plan, and is particularly helpful in an industry dominated by working from home, and the need for remote workforce management system.
As cliche as it may seem, communication is key. Having a clear understanding across the team of what their roles are, makes QA testing processes run far more smoothly, and is drastically assisted through the implementation of a clear plan. It may also be a good idea to enforce a task management system to help employees stay on top of their workload.
2. Set SMART Goals and Objectives for QA Testing
Clear goals and objectives are helpful for obvious reasons. You know which direction you are heading, so you can make sure you start off on the most efficient route to get there. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded and can be related to Quality Assurance in both professional and personal contexts.
An example of a SMART goal could be that continuous testing should account for 60% of all QA testing in this area. This is specific in that it focuses on continuous testing, measurable in that it is a percentage goal, relevant in that as a fully automated testing process, it can remove the risk of human error from the process, and time-bound in that it must be achieved within the current quarter.
Expectations From Client
In order to clearly develop your SMART goals, it’s essential that you know what your client expectations are. It is no good working on two different timelines or having different areas of the software you are prioritising. This, again, comes down to communication.
Priority of the Testing Methods
QA testers need a clear specification of the product functionality – its uses, and what features need to be prioritized. For example, if a selling point is the software RPA, then the success of the robotic-automation process should be the highest priority. These priorities also affect the testing method.
Testing methods come in a variety of forms – some of which we’ll discuss later in this article. Choose these methods by following your previously set SMART goals, according to the efficiency and effectiveness of the method.
Communication Alignment With the Team
Once you have your goals in place, knowledge of the client’s needs, and a plan of what testing method to utilize, your biggest priority should be communicating within the testing team.
Working towards a common goal needs total alignment. You should share and communicate all reports and results clearly. It could be a good idea to create a meeting schedule for all team members to discuss these subjects simultaneously.
3. Ensure that QA Testing adheres to Industry Standards
As you would expect, different industries have different regulations and standards that need to be met. Being well educated on those that will apply to your particular software is crucial before QA testing and can protect your company from legal issues.
For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires the security of personal information for EU residents. Failure to comply with a regulation like this can have serious consequences both for your business and for your customers.
4. Make Use of a Multi-directional Testing Method
There are several different testing methods that can be used in QA testing. All of which have their own merits, and should be carefully considered depending on your software priorities. It’s also a great idea to use multiple testing methods, including a multi-directional approach as this can ensure all your bases are covered.
Risk-based testing works to identify the biggest risks during QA testing. Once you identify the risks, you can rank and prioritise them according to which are most likely to harm the product’s overall performance.
By doing this early on in the testing process, you can simplify the rest of the QA team’s tests through a more comprehensive code architecture.
You might be wondering, what is regression testing? Regression testing is an important testing method, as it enables QA engineers to look back after making updates to the code and ensure the new features have not affected the core product.
This method also enables detailed documentation to be created of all past tests including test designs, bug reports, and system specifications. This information can be used by several different teams to analyze the quality of the software, and how to make future improvements.
Shift-left testing is one of the most important practices. It begins early in the software development lifecycle, and as a result is cheaper than testing at later stages, as discovering bugs after the software is released can have a massive impact on promotion, app stickiness, and can result in software having to be withdrawn while a bug is fixed.
Black Box Testing
Black box testing refers to checking that the functionality of a piece of software works as intended. This analyses the functionality and doesn’t observe internal structures. For a more internal testing method, it may be worth considering white box testing which involves a thorough review of the software code.
5. Conduct External Quality Assurance Audits
Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is just what you need.
By inviting an expert in to check your software who has no emotional investment in the product, you might spot bugs that you’d previously missed, or user experience aspects that can be improved.
Besides that, external professionals can also objectively create an assessment of your software, including covering the tech stack, code structure, styling, and duplication, as well as evaluating the size and software speed.
6. Document the Entire QA Testing Process
Keep clear notes of every stage of the QA testing process. This can save time exponentially in the future if bugs reoccur. Engineers need simply refer to what was done last time – and replicate it.
Your documentation should be of extremely high quality. Many testers even document using multimedia methods – including screenshots, video clips, and audio files. This can help ensure clarity across all team members, and help bump your testing process up a TMMI level.
7. Enhance Your QA Knowledge Over Time
QA testing is always developing, and learning should be seen as a continuous process. Always aim to gain new knowledge and push yourself to keep improving and optimising your software. Technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors globally, and keeping ahead of the game can make or break your company, depending on how the quality of your software compares to competitors.
Attend regular training courses, follow QA professionals on social media, and subscribe to blogs. It might even be worth regularly checking QA job offer requirements. If things pop up in the person specification that you aren’t familiar with – take the initiative and get learning.
A strong QA testing process is one that is structured, planned, engages the whole team effectively, and uses a variety of testing methods to cover all your bases. Once your QA process is up to scratch, you can rest assured that your software quality has exceeded your, and your customer’s expectations.