Software Quality is usually defined by a set of parameters, some of them are as follows:
- Meeting customer’s expectations.
- Product scalability.
- Software functional and non-functional parameters.
“Assurance” would mean having confidence in software - that it would work as expected.
Now if we combine the above-discussed things Software Quality Assurance would refer to producing a high-quality software product.
This article discusses - how to plan, benefits, and more of Software Quality Assurance practices.
Table of Contents:
Software Quality Assurance Process
Why would you need Software Quality Assurance (SQA) in the first place? Well, as a software product gains more functionality or gets larger in scale - errors could creep into the live environment. SQA deals with such embarrassing and detrimental errors by solidifying each phase of SDLC.
Now that we are aware of it, let’s get to know about the SQA process:
- Analysis Stage:
It is highly beneficial to involve Quality Assurance (QA) engineers right from the analysis phase of SDLC as it helps with staying proactive towards software quality by – early dealings of possible software loopholes.
- Test Planning:
After the analysis phase, the QA team digs deeper into the software requirements and lays down a relevant testing plan with appropriate testing tools.
- Testing Phase:
In this phase, the test cases check every software functionality to ensure conformance to the agreed-upon requirements. QA engineers must stay proactive about detecting and mitigating product flaws.
- Run, Run, and Test Re-Runs!
After the software products get thoroughly tested, the test results are usually documented for future reference. Even after the software testing is done, QAs should re-test periodically to check for any missing discrepancies from the test documents. QA teams should also, help with test case modifications and determine their impact on software functionalities.
Understanding Quality Assurance Maturity
To achieve Quality Assurance (QA) process maturity, it is beneficial to know about the QA process phases:
- At the initial phase: The QA process is new and could be unpredictable.
- In the second phase: QA processes are managed for stability.
- Third phase: QA processes are properly defined.
- Fourth Phase: QA processes are continuously measured and optimized.
Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is more than simple software testing. It involves action sets for organizations to enhance their SDLC quality (by minimizing bugs and errors). Different organizations have different plans laid out for SQA but here are some of the popular best practices:
- Cover SDLC:
SQA should be implemented right from the beginning of SDLC and should be continued till the end of SDLC.
- Plan test:
Shift-left testing is a popular way to strengthen software product’s health. It would mean planning for software testing during requirement analysis. Have a software test plan ready as per the requirements and polish them as needed.
- Risk Management:
A well-governed product equals a strong product – it is recommended to include risk management practices with your Quality Assurance (QA) goals. It is important to work on the bugs/issues however it is equally important to understand which issues/bugs would require immediate attention.
- Know the Environments:
Your Dev, Test, UAT, Production environments are different so the QA practices should be different to ensure meeting quality goals for each of these environments.
- Monitoring Continuously:
Continuous Delivery makes your SDLC a cohesive engine that is firing on all cylinders – Testing is an integral part of your CD strategy. A single change in your codebase will trigger your CI/CD pipeline and take it all the way till or into Production. Testing becomes paramount to ensure the bugs are reported early on, feedback mechanism exists to remediate these issues and hope that there are no bugs in the production system.
- Get to know Industry Standards:
All organizations follow some industry standards. Similarly, QA has its industry-specific standards too they are - ISO/IEC 9000 series, ISO/IEC 25000, ISO/IEC 12119, CMMI Levels 1-5, IEEE Standards, BS EN Standards.
- Close Collaborations:
QA acts as a bridge between software development, maintenance, and operation teams. QAs need to collaborate with cross teams for transparency and enable frequent discussions with all stakeholders.
Since QA is involved with multiple teams, they need to document test results, audit reports, and requirements for future reference. A well-kept document helps other team members to pick up swiftly from where things are left.
Benefits of Quality Assurance:
No one likes software taking extra few seconds to respond or even with low-impact defects running in a live environment. QA practices became an integral part of SDLC to keep the software health “green” and updated regularly. Some of the popular QA benefits are:
- Excellent User-Experience:
Don’t you feel frustrated when the things you are searching for on the internet do not show up in less than a second or an important webpage fails to load in time? These problems may arise due to some technical issues so a properly implemented QA process can save from such failures and helps in ensuring a top-notch end-user experience.
- Saves resources:
Buggy software can cost organizations a fortune and they might lose customer's trust. QA practices help with keeping software from failing and saves a lot of resources.
- More Profit:
A high-quality product would attract more prospects and enables your market-facing teams to effectively communicate the value proposition thereby giving you an edge over your competition – QA helps you reach that epitome level.
Software Quality Assurance Tools:
Since QA is involved with every phase of SDLC, focusing on a tool for a specific phase might not be the right choice. It is recommended to choose a QA tool based on functionality, tool price, scalability, reliability, and return on investment.
The selected tool must have wide functionality coverage some of them are:
It should include - Browser, load, device, OS, automated, manual, regression, CI testing, bug fixing, and tracking management.
End-end release management.
Code analysis and peer reviews.
Log, performance, security, analytics, exception monitoring.
A well-connected technical support team who is reachable at any problem.
Your goal with QA is to move the needle to become a Quality Engineering (QE) driven organization where Automation takes the center stage. Qentelli is known to offer QE curated services to their clients and enable their teams for the long-due digital transformation journey.
Quality Assurance is a collaborative effort between all stakeholders & teams to ensure your objectives are met and your business partners can realize the return on their investments. If you do not have a well-thought-out QA process laid out or did not update the QA process in a long time, then now might be the right time to engage with our QE Consultants.