5 tips to optimize your quality assurance process
To succeed in today’s software-driven world, organizations must rely on talented teams, robust tools and solid processes that will allow the company to develop more business value faster. Deploying high quality software solutions quickly and smoothly requires a modern quality assurance process that leverages the power of test automation.
To help you implement the best methods and practices within your organization, here are 5 tips to optimize your quality assurance process.
1. Make room for QA specialists within development teams
Test automation doesn’t mean that QA specialists are no longer needed within your organization. With test automation, QA specialists can now be integrated directly into your development teams. By elaborating test strategies, creating test scripts and analyzing test results, QA specialists contribute to the development process and bring more value to your organization. In other words, they are the guardians of software quality in your organization.
QA specialists being integrated into your team also sends a clear message: software quality is a priority for your organization. By being involved sooner in the development process, QA specialists can test earlier in the development cycle, allowing your team to identify and fix bugs and other errors long before they can affect end users.
2. Integrate new tools gradually, one at a time
While it’s important to always be looking for ways to optimize and tweak your internal development processes, introducing too many changes too quickly in your development ecosystem can also backfire. Many companies try to move from a traditional development model (i.e. “waterfall”) to an Agile or DevOps development model without giving their teams enough time to integrate the new tools or development methods. The end result is often easy to predict: a chaotic development cycle, an overworked team and a dubious software quality.
Instead of imposing too many changes too quickly, choose a pilot project to integrate new technologies into your internal processes. At the end of the project, take the time to complete a post-mortem to analyze your team’s good decisions and any improvements that could be made moving forward. This will allow you to better understand the new knowledge that was acquired during the project.
3. Adopt continuous testing
A recent Forrester study confirmed that organizations that use Agile or DevOps development methods and that have a continuous testing process in place generally have more success in development than companies that rely on less structured development methods. By implementing continuous testing to test quickly and regularly, by using end-to-end testing, by testing early in the development cycle and by focusing on optimizing the development process, your organization will be able to stand out from its competitors.
Unfortunately, only 26 percent of companies that participated in Forrester’s study indicated that they currently had a continuous testing process in place. While the benefits of continuous testing are clear, many organizations are still hesitating to dive in. Continuous testing could therefore represent an interesting opportunity for your organization.
4. Automate what you can
Contrary to manual tests, automated tests can keep up with the pace of the development team. On the other hand, automating all tests isn’t always necessary. Every project is different, and it’s possible to use a combination of manual and automated tests to ensure decent test coverage while also respecting the established budgets.
If you currently don’t have the resources required to automate most of your tests, you can start by automating tests for your biggest pain points. For example, if you’re working on an application that has a billing module that’s crucial to your business, you can automate tests for this module only. Your test coverage will be low, but it will at least ensure that a key module is functioning properly. It will also eliminate tasks for your QA specialists, who will be free to focus on other tasks or issues.
5. Trust data
Automated tests produce data that can guide the development process, help you measure your team’s velocity and generate precise, complete reports that are updated regularly. Thanks to data, you can see visually how many tests were successful, how many failed, consult a history of your application’s software quality and so much more.
Data doesn’t lie. Any weaknesses that could be improved will show up in the data, helping you correct issues proactively and pre-emptively. Thanks to data, you can reduce risks and better understand the current state of an application in development.