What is QA Testing: Best Practices for Quality Assurance

Application Development Lead at | + posts

Parik Cheruku is Application Development Lead for Aezion, Inc., a Texas-based custom software development company.

What is QA Testing: Best Practices for Quality Assurance

To ensure the highest quality possible, teams must perform detailed testing of the system. They must employ a variety of testing methods. Strategies such as functional testing, regression testing, and a combination of manual and automated tests can help keep the system error-free. Take a look at this guide as we explore the answer to “what is QA testing?” and what are its benefits to your project.

When software is created, the goal is to deliver the best possible product to the customer. However, quality starts to fall short as companies struggle to keep pace with customer demands for the latest features. The outcome can be costly. According to the Consortium for Information and Software Quality, poor software quality cost US companies $2.08 trillion in 2020. Keeping the system bug-free requires dedicated effort at all project phases. That’s where quality assurance (QA) comes in. With QA, teams take planned steps to ensure the system meets requirements and provides the best customer experience possible. Here we’ll answer questions such as “what is QA testing?” and “why is QA testing needed?” We’ll also give you a few best practices to help you get started.

What is QA Testing?: The Essentials

Imagine standing in the grocery store picking out an apple. You can instantly evaluate its quality. If it’s the right size, the right shape, or ripe enough. But only after you take the first bite can you tell how good that apple is. Even the best-looking apple might have a sour taste. The same applies to software products. The user interface (UI) might seem fine at first. But as you start scrolling down or navigating pages you may start to see design flaws and errors. That is why validating the system thoroughly is essential to ensuring the system meets all user requirements, validating that the architecture and design support performance requirements, and ensuring integrations with other systems work properly. Overall, system testing helps improve product quality, ensures system security, and helps improve customer satisfaction.

Best Practices for QA Testing

Delivering high-quality software doesn’t happen by chance. The team must be disciplined in their approach. This helps ensure they run all possible scenarios of testing to ensure they eliminate bugs. Here are a few best practices that make this possible.

Have a Plan

A detailed test plan gets the team on the same page about what will be tested, by whom, what resources are needed, and the agreed-upon timelines. The plan also outlines the acceptance criteria. Another item to consider is to ensure the test time frame aligns with project timelines.

Report and Track Bugs

Reporting and documentation are critical to providing insights into the status of testing. Ensure the testers clearly document all bugs. If something is unclear, developers will spend too much time clarifying the issue rather than fixing it. To improve clarity, include screenshots, video, and audio. Also, include information such as OS, hardware, browser, or device where the error occurred. Testers should aim to provide enough information for the developer to recreate the issue.

Run Frequent Regression Testing Cycles

Sometimes, even the simplest change can impact something that was already tested. Regression testing verifies if code changes introduce issues that impact existing functionality. Perform regression testing anytime new code is introduced. During this evaluation, new test cases are not generated. Instead, the team re-executes existing tests to determine that previous functionality still works. That way, new code gets validated along with old code.

Incorporate Agile Methodologies and CI/CD

In traditional projects, QA testing is relegated to a separate phase of the project. However, with an agile approach, QA testing is a part of the design and development phase. That way, quality becomes a guiding principle rather than an afterthought. With agile, the testers and developers collaborate through constant communication and feedback. According to Forbes, companies that use agile benefit from quicker turnaround times, easier maintenance of existing deployments, and superior quality.

The main feature of an agile methodology is that it uses short development and release cycles. Developers release small code changes rather than a large section of code. As a result, testing can take place in small, more focused areas of the system. This ultimately leads to a more thoroughly tested system.

Leveraging automation is the key to seeing benefits from an agile approach. CI/CD is the perfect complement to agile. The code gets automatically tested with a CI/CD pipeline as soon as the developer commits their code to the central repository. If the tests fail, the developer will be notified. They must fix the issue before they can continue with the build. If the build passes, the code is automatically pushed to the next environment. Teams can test more efficiently and release new features more quickly with this approach.

Separate Security and Performance Testing

Validating application security and application performance requires two distinct sets of skills. This is especially true as cyber threats evolve. Having your team attempt to keep up with these changes will dilute the capabilities of team members. Have testers who are proficient with software security perform security tests. Assign testers who are proficient in performance testing to validate the system’s performance. That way, your developers can focus on their core skill set.

Multi-Directional Testing Strategy

Don’t rely on one technique. Instead, employ a variety of the types of techniques noted above. This approach helps ensure better test coverage. As a result, the team has a better chance of detecting “hidden bugs” that might have gotten overlooked had they relied on only one or two methods.

Be Sure to Test Compliance With Regulatory Industry Requirements

Most companies have a set of rules and regulations they must follow to protect their company’s data and customers’ personal information. Make sure your system follows all required laws. A few of these regulations include:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): An EU based regulation to secure the personal information of EU residents,

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A US-based regulation to protect health information in the US

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): Protects customers’ payment card information globally.

Perform Risk-Based Testing

With Risk-Based Testing (RBT), teams prioritize their efforts based on the probability of risk. A risk is an occurrence of a specific effect based on predefined and measurable success criteria. Risks often have an impact on costs and quality targets. The team assesses the risk based on things such as the complexity of the system or frequency of use. Using this information, the team prioritizes which areas to test based on the probability of a defect occurring in a specific area.

What is QA Testing Without The Right Business Partner By Your Side?

If you want the best possible outcome for your project, having experts on your team is key. The right business partner gives you a dedicated team of QA testers to ensure your application has the highest quality product.

Aezion gives you all of this and more. Our team can perform all types of testing, including web application, mobile, manual, and automation testing. If you want to explore QA testing for your project, speak with one of our experts. We’ll help develop the best model for your project. Contact us today to discuss your custom project.

Application Development Lead at | + posts

Parik Cheruku is Application Development Lead for Aezion, Inc., a Texas-based custom software development company.