3 best practices for QA in software development
The quality assurance and testing aspect of software development is every bit as important as the actual code being written. However, most of the time, software QA process is an afterthought, performed at the last minute, right before the solution is scheduled to be released.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to quality assurance and best software testing practices. Yes, QA is an added cost and can be quite time-consuming. But the ramifications of improper testing can be even more costly down the road. This is why it’s so important to plan your QA process in advance and to stress its importance throughout the development process.
Here are 3 best practices for QA testing in software development.
1. Test early and test often
We’ve all heard the phrase “test early and test often” as it pertains to QA in software development. So just why is it that so many development teams wait until the last minute to perform QA?
Perhaps the best explanation for this is that stopping during the development process for QA testing slows down the overall process. There’s this “let’s just get it finished and then we’ll test” mentality that is far too common among software developers.
Software quality assurance activities should be planned way in advance of the initial start of development in order to achieve optimal results. By building in additional time for testing throughout the entire development process, you can come up with a realistic timeframe and deadline without sacrificing the quality of the product.
A thorough risk analysis should be created prior to the launch of development. This analysis will be the basis for the overall testing plan. Brainstorming with the development team at the very beginning and coming up with all the scenarios that could cause problems will give you a head start in the software development QA process and help you plan your testing strategy.
2. Use Agile methodology in software QA process
Most software development is performed utilizing the Agile method, which is the iterative and incremental process of project management in which periods of work are divided up and performed in “sprints.” Before moving on to the next sprint, or phase, of development, the first sprint must be completely finished and functioning.
It is a good practice that software testing and quality assurance be performed at the end of each sprint as opposed to the end of the entire development process. Adopting the Agile method for QA means that developers and testers work hand-in-hand to deliver the best results.
While most people have the idea that it is more time-consuming to perform testing throughout the development process, it is actually much more efficient. When you consider the fact that developers spend their time trying to create perfect code and then testers spend their time trying to break down that code, it is much smarter to have them working together from the very beginning.
Waiting until the last minute can be quite frustrating, both for the developers themselves who will have to go back and start over and for the timeline of the project, which will be inevitably delayed.
3. Avoid technical debt
The term “technical debt” refers to the concept that rushing to complete a development project in order to get it to market by a certain time will result in a substandard product that will need additional (and much more costly) improvements in the future.
One of the goals of QA testing is to avoid expensive technical debt. This is where regression testing comes in. Regression testing ensures that a software program will function correctly when changes or upgrades are made in the future or when it needs to interact with another program.
By scheduling regression testing at the end of each sprint throughout an agile development process, you reduce the potential for technical debt. Automated tests work well for regression testing, as manual tests can take way too long and slow the development process down to a crawl.
A good mix of automated and manual testing throughout the development cycle is yet another best practice when it comes to QA.
The ultimate goal of QA testing is to be able to deliver a superior product or solution. Skipping any aspect of testing defeats the purpose of creating the solution in the first place. If your users get frustrated with the application because it doesn’t work properly, they’ll stop using it and you’ll get bad reviews.
By having the highest software quality assurance standards and making QA as high a priority as development, you’ll gain a reputation for delivering great apps that users love. (And this just happens to be our motto here at iTechArt!)
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