7 tips on improving the QA process

Announcement: Even if your IT company is efficient enough, there are always ways to improve quality assessment processes. In this article, you will find valuable recommendations on how to do it — and you would be able to implement them right away.

Even if you think that software testing procedures in your company are efficient enough, you can always find ways to enhance them. This will allow you to release products of better quality and achieve a greater level of customer satisfaction. Your revenue will grow, your client base will expand and your business will flourish. In this article, you will find valuable tips on the QA process improvements that you can start to implement almost immediately.

Let Your QA Team Plan Sprints and Iterations

This is known as one of the software QA best practices. On the one hand, the QA team perfectly understands business requirements from the end-users’ point of view. On the other hand, they are entirely aware of the technical dependencies of the product. So when clarifying and prioritizing the backlog items of the product, make sure to get your QA specialists engaged. They should verify whether the already available and recently created requirements, as well as user stories, are consistent, testable and traceable enough. Ultimately, the end-user experience will be considerably improved thanks to eliminating the vague and mutually exclusive requirements.

Plan Potential Regression at the Beginning of a Sprint or Iteration

To shorten the release cycle of the product, you should streamline regression management. Try to carry out potential regression when a sprint or iteration is just getting started — as you might know, this type of test accounts for up to 70% of all testing efforts. For each sprint backlog, you should outline the product functionality that is likely to be affected by each new user story or requirement. First, the specialists whose task is to improve software quality should understand which software modules can experience regression. Second, they should compile and update test design documentation that embraces these modules. Thanks to this approach, for sufficient test coverage you would not need to carry out a full regression.

Decide Whether You Actually Need to Automate Testing

Automated tests are said to be one of the most valuable QA process improvement ideas. They can significantly accelerate the workflow and enhance the characteristics of the product. Nonetheless, you should assess their costs first. Manual testing often turns out to be more affordable than its automated counterpart. Designing, developing and supporting test automation scripts as well as the environment for them might require overstrain that would not eventually pay off. Besides, mind that not all tests can be automated. Those that are too complicated or involve constantly changing test cases should be executed manually. It is reasonable to automate only those test cases that do not change much with each iteration and are carried out frequently.

Compile a Test Data Management Strategy

A test data management strategy should be designed at an early stage when building a BI application or another product that is critically dependent on data. According to the software test best practices, quality assessment specialists should compile data requirements — such as data set, data format and boundary values. Relying on this information, they should decide on the most efficient methodology for generating test data:

  • Rely on synthetic test data. Such an approach requires a lot of time, effort and resources. However, you can be sure that no sensitive production data would be revealed.
  • Subset the data from production. This approach is more cost-efficient — yet only professionals of the highest qualification can guarantee data integrity.
  • Clone the data from production. Since you would need to deal with large production data volumes, you will need to invest a lot of time in procedure — yet it should not be too complicated.

Timely Modify Your Test Design Documentation

As soon as you tweak your product, you should reflect this in its documentation. This is an essential prerequisite of software testing best practices. At the inception of each sprint, ask your QA specialists to analyze how the recent modifications of the product should be described in the test design documents. Let them get rid of excessive and insignificant test cases and decide which ones need to be modified to match the current state of the product.

Start Testing at the Early Stages of the Sprint

This is known as the shift-left approach to software testing practices. This would help you to identify bugs and faults at such a phase when fixing them would not cost you too much time, funds and effort. To achieve this goal, your development specialist should regularly review the code and carry out unit testing. After that, the test specialist should run manual and automated tests at both the API and UI levels of the product.

Be Ready to Outsource

Sometimes your staffers who are in charge of quality assurance and testing services might face new challenges that they do not know how to deal with. Otherwise, they might suffer from excessive workload and fail to cope with a certain part of tasks on time. In this case, it would be sensible to outsource some duties to more experienced colleagues. Your staff employees do not need to be versatile — instead, they should develop their expertise in the field of their primary competence.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this information came in handy and now you have a clearer vision of how to improve software quality assessment. No matter which of the numerous software testing strategies you stick to, you can always find ways to perform better, deliver more frequently and generate a consistently bigger profit.