It's no secret that Quality Assurance is an integral part of the process of creating a viable and full-fledged product. A thorough review of the solution during its initial development allows companies to save time, finances and be proactive. In this post, we will answer the most common questions related to Quality Assurance, its role in software development and discuss the unseen facts that are hidden under the shadow of stereotypes and that have accumulated in throughout tons of articles about what QA actually is.
Before answering this question, let us immediately forewarn you - this is not about testing, or rather, not only about it. Quality Assurance includes a comprehensive concept of quality of the entire development process, which allows any entity to improve the quality of the product at every stage of the software development life cycle, from the requirement analysis to the evaluation of potential enhancements.
For example, it is carried out on the programming stage. This is done by closely monitoring the code for its compliance by keeping it with the principles and standards of software development engineering. This also includes writing of Unit Tests by software engineers, to be sure that their code works seamlessly with other parts of the code in the program.
Quality Assurance is a wider term than Quality Control. While the QA process means checking whether every aspect of a solution could fulfill requirements at every stage of the process of its creation, QC means the process of validation of the ready-to-use product. It is worth mentioning that both QA and QC are integral parts of the Quality System - the huge structure of actions that are aimed to provide a guarantee of quality for your product.
Software Testing is also part of QA. At its core, this is a series of actions aimed at checking every possible course of events in the solution’s work in connection with the behavior of the end-user. In simple words - testing software is creating hypotheses about how the user can use the solution’s functionality, and tracking how this solution can respond to user actions. For the sake of clarity, hereafter we will use the terms Software Testing and Quality Assurance in one meaning.
As we know there are two approaches in software testing - manual and automated. Manual Testing requires less time for a test’s planning and more for its execution by relying on human observation. Unlike this Automated Testing requires more time for the test's to be built in order to produce repetitive tests. The second approach requires a Quality Assurance engineer to have programming skills in order to create algorithms for deployment in automated testing.
Despite the popularity of the second approach nowadays, the distribution of tasks for manual and automation testing between QA testing engineers is not always relevant. Quite often, a single person can combine the performance of these functions. Involving the separate project automation testers is necessary if the development of a project requires a large amount of time or if many people are involved in it. Moreover, checking the functionalities of your product is sometimes impossible without the participation of a manual tester. This stage is important in order to check the interaction of the program with a real person.
There is an unspoken rule in testing - exhaustive testing is impossible. Imagine how many test cases may exist in your product. Spending time and finances on checking every case, even the most sophisticated scenarios, is simply unreasonable, because there can be thousands or even hundreds of thousands of scenarios.
This issue should be resolved by using principles of prioritization. The QA team should check the operation of every product function according to your requirements, by starting with the most important use cases to those that are unlikely to occur. The primary task here is to verify that the product’s common goals are fulfilled.
Another, relatively important principle of the QA team’s work is its participation in the development of products at the earliest stages of development. This helps create a complete vision of the product before it is conceived. It also allows for the elimination of every inconsistency in the products operational functions, by taking into account every important use case. This is essentially the cheapest way to fix bugs, because they are eliminated before writing the code.
As you see, applying Quality Assurance practices means much more than just testing the functionality of the application – it is the principle of creating the qualitative products that are able to bring value to your business and your customers.
Being the company that provides full-cycle software development services, Axon utilizes the QA guidelines at every stage of developing solutions for our clients.