Fighting the Bugs: Why Is QA Important for Your Project?
October 10th, 2016
There’s a saying that the only one who doesn’t err is the one who doesn’t do anything. Ordinary people learn from mistakes and try to avoid them in future. Bugs in software aren’t so obvious sometimes it is quite difficult to spot them. This is where Quality Assurance (QA) engineers come into play.
Software errors are very expensive - and it’s not so much money that is at stake as your business reputation, the user trust, and colleagues’ perception. Last year, the losses from software errors amounted to 0.6% of US GDP (or, $100 billion). Half of the amount is covered by the users, the other half is up for the developer companies to cover for rush jobs to make last-minute edits in the products, to withdraw them from the markets, or sometimes even to pay the litigation costs.
No one is immune from mistakes in software creation. No matter how much time you’ve spent thinking about the project, no matter how detailed the technical task was, and no matter how competent the Project Manager was, you simply cannot foresee all conditions and cases right away. Therefore QA is not only a mandatory element of a good software development process, it is also the chance for the company to avoid pushing a low-quality, raw product to the market. Besides, QA also check the usability of the product from the user’s point of view - your code might be perfect, but if the product is not convenient for your end customer to use, your chances to succeed are minimized.
Don’t think that just because testing comes after the development it is less important. Quite the opposite, testing is an integral part of creating a product and it isn't wise to prune its budget.
What do QA experts do?
QA analysts develop test plans, perform the actual testing, and evaluate the product’s readiness to enter the market. Besides checking the quality of the code, they make sure the product meets the user’s needs. It is also the job of a QA engineer to check all possible scenarios, especially non-standard ones. These “narrow” places might not be immediately apparent, but they might still affect the user experience and result in a loss of user or decrease in audience. Therefore, investing in a good quality assurance is investing into the future growth of company’s profits.
Global mission of the testing is to provide the negative feedback about the product to the developers. Negative feedback in the sense of identifying and reporting places in the software where it might have problems. Positive feedback can be received from anyone else - colleagues, developers, and first users. However, to get even more positive feedback, you have to work on fixing all the errors that caused negative feedback from QAs. That said, QA is not only a search process for something that doesn’t work. QA specialists also need to make sure that the functions / products do what they are supposed to do.
Testing and business processes of software development
There is an opinion that product testing is done at the end when the product is almost ready. Actually, that is a wrong strategy. It is much more effective to have QAs working on your project alongside developers during the entire process of product creation - starting from defining terms and tasks.
QA engineers should work closely with the development team as well as clients, identifying their product requirements. These requirements are the basis for all the other phases of the development process and they are also the final product acceptance criteria for the customer.
Just like business analytics, QA staff should understand both the technologies as well as business needs. They should be able to ask developers questions before those questions arise among the clients. They are the ones who have a full understanding of what the application should do, including the least common scenarios for its use, which are usually omitted.
QA involvement with the project at the very start of the product development guarantee that most critical software work scenarios will be taken into account.
In addition, if QA practices will be applied throughout the development process, QA can create an environment that will reduce the probability of defects occurrence in the finished product. It also helps to draw attention to product’s performance and security at the very beginning of the development instead of at the end, when most of the features are developed.
QA team should also participate in the processes even after the tests are done and the product is launched. Just because the app is available to the public doesn’t mean that the improvements are done. Especially in the early stages of the product’s “public” life, QA team should be on the lookout for the possible product weaknesses and defects that might arise after a larger number of consumers starts using the product.
Why do you need testing at all?
The main idea of testing is to ensure that during the development, all functional product requirements have been implemented. Secondly, testing ensures product reliability and safety in terms of tampering or unauthorized access to confidential information. Clients and users can be sure that their data is accessible only to them and no one else.
Another issue that is tackled by test analytics is the assessment of the optimal load on the servers and databases as well as their ability to survive in overload cases (i.e. when the application is used by a lot of users).
Testing makes sure that the product is compatible and interacts well with the other software applications it might come in contact with. It allows to figure out the usability issues and to make sure that the interface of the product is user-friendly and intuitive.
Why is testing critical for your business?
Quality is the one side of the coin that is facing the user. It is unlikely that anyone would want to get a program or app that wasn’t working as it was stated. Such software usually either remains unused or goes out with the trash. Especially with the competition on the IT market these days, developers should strive to create such software instruments that help people do their job or solve specific problems and the users expect the tools to perform their functions. Therefore, the problems like app crashing or restarting all the time or the user having to authorize every five minutes (unless you’ve got a banking app or something) should be eliminated.
Even a perfectly-written code might, for some reason, work not as intended and it’s the QA’s job to look at the product not just like it’s a set of JS code, HTML, CSS, or API, but have a holistic approach, making sure the functional parts work as well as the “wrapper.”
Let's develop a great product together!
Let's develop a great product together!