Before talking about Quality Assurance in Software Testing, try to think on a common fact…
Have you ever stood looking at a range of products in a supermarket trying to make up your mind which one to buy? They all look quite similar, but one stands out and you buy it. Why? It has got a sign on the shelf and a logo on the product to tell you that it has won an award for quality.
The same applies to almost any product, be it a physical article or a piece of software. A website you find on the Internet might seem fine at first, but as you scroll down, go to another page, or try to send a contact request, it can start showing some design imperfections and errors.
In a competitive market for software development, the quality of the products is the only thing that matters. Concept and design cannot justify any structural flaws which would have been avoided easily. Fortunately, there is an effective way to ensure that everything might work as planned. That’s Quality Assurance.
In this post, we are going to share our insights on Quality Assurance in the Software Testing process, our best practices, and preferred strategies.
The Concept of Software Quality: Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC) and Testing
While to err is human, sometimes the cost of a mistake might be just too high. History knows many examples of situations when software failures have caused billions of dollars in waste or even lead to casualties: from a software malfunction dropping thousands of 911 callers, to an F-35 military aircraft being unable to detect the targets correctly because of a radar failure.
As the demand for cutting-edge technology and maximum convenience intensifies, there is a pressing need for skilled software testers that will guard their clients against the never-ending potential for malfunctions of their software.
To make sure the released software is safe and functions as expected, the concept of Quality Assurance was introduced. As explained on the Google Testing Blog, is a broad term referring to
The continuous and consistent improvement and maintenance of process that enables the Quality Control job.
Instead, through Quality Control the team verifies the product’s compliance with the functional requirements. As defined by Investopedia,
It is a process through which a business seeks to ensure that product quality is maintained or improved and manufacturing errors are reduced or eliminated.
This activity is applied to the finished product and performed before the product release.
Lastly, Testing is the basic activity aimed at detecting and solving technical issues in the software source code and evaluating the overall product usability, performance, security, and compatibility. It has a very narrow focus and is performed by the test engineers in parallel with the development process or at the dedicated testing stage.
Having a proper Quality Assurance process equals making sure that every single action is performed in the right order, every detail is properly implemented and the overall processes are consistent so that nothing can harm the end product.
The Main Principles Of Software Testing
Now let’s define the main principles of Software Testing. Formulated over the past 40 years, the 7 principles of software testing represent the ground rules for the process. These are:
- Testing shows the presence of defects: The goal of software testing is to make the software fail. Software testing reduces the presence of defects. Software testing talks about the presence of defects and doesn’t talk about the absence of defects. Software testing can ensure that defects are present but it can not prove that software is defects-free. Even multiple testing can never ensure that software is 100% bug-free. Testing can reduce the number of defects but cannot remove all defects.
- Exhaustive testing is not possible: It is the process of testing the functionality of the software in all possible inputs (valid or invalid) and pre-conditions is known as exhaustive testing. Exhaustive testing is impossible, meaning the software can never be tested at every test case. It can test only some test cases and assume that the software is correct and it will produce the correct output in every test case. If the software will test every test case then it will take too much cost, effort, etc. becoming impractical.
- Early Testing: To find a defect in the software, early test activity shall be started. The defect detected in the early phases of SDLC will be less expensive. For better performance of software, software testing will start at the initial phases of development i.e. test planning will be performed at the requirement analysis phase.
- Defect clustering: In a project, a small number of the modules can contain most of the defects. Pareto Principle to software testing states that 80% of software defect comes from 20% of modules.
- Pesticide paradox: Repeating the same test cases, again and again, will not find new bugs. So it is necessary to review the test cases and add or update test cases to find new bugs.
- Testing is context-dependent: The testing approach depends on the context of the software developed. Different types of software need to perform different types of testing. For example, The testing of the e-commerce site is different from the testing of the Android application.
- Absence of errors fallacy: If a built software is 99% bug-free but it does not follow the user requirement then it is unusable. It is not only necessary that software is 99% bug-free but it is also mandatory to fulfill all the customer requirements.
The Role Of Quality Assurance In Software Testing
Quality assurance helps the software team ensure that they are building the right product using a meticulous method. The main objective of your QA team is to deliver the value of the project, meeting their objectives and timelines.
This is why it’s their job to focus on specific nuances of quality checks, as well as the transparency and sanitation of the workflows, database, and applications. After an application runs through smoothly by the QA, it gives a positive first impression and assures outputs will be bug-free.
As QA professionals, they must have a broad understanding of all critical roles within the project. At the same time, they must provide feedback to make improvements and report whether or not the development team is meeting the prerequisites defined by the client.
Many companies prefer their developers to test the software product themselves. However, since developers are already under so much pressure and responsibility, it’s hard for them to assess their code against standards accurately.
Moreover, whenever the developers are cross-checking their code against standards, such issues won’t arise in the first place. Because of this, errors related to QA are a regular part of code submissions by developers. Even if your development team puts their best efforts, resolving these bugs will be challenging.
As DevOps principles slowly become the norm, development environments, too, will become more agile in terms of roles and responsibilities. Because integrated DevOps environments don’t have the space to focus on standards and procedures separately, QA might become a regular feature of the development process with time.
The Process of QA & Software Testing In Practice
The Future Of Software Testing
Modern testing solutions are evolving and revolutionizing. QA is not just about finding bugs and errors anymore; it is a complex technical philosophy that also includes evaluation of a product idea, behavioral predictions, analysis of opportunities and threats, etc.
Anyway, the traditional and well-known testing methods to achieve progressive results will remain the cornerstone of the software testing process.
Because software testing is so important, every enterprise needs to stay on top of their software testing game heading into the next decade. Here are the top trending trends for the future of software testing:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Davos Economic Forum announced AI and ML as the trendiest approaches that will become the key drivers of the next industrial revolution. Speaking about software testing, AI and ML can revolutionize the way we use test data and improve bug detection algorithms. Many manual testing tasks are likely to be substituted with automation to allocate QA resources more efficiently.
- Agile & DevOps: More companies start to notice the advantages of Agile and DevOps methodologies. These models allow tech teams to develop high-quality IT products, receive a quick evaluation, and enter the market faster. For sure, this trend will stick during 2021.
- QAOps: This solution is about the integration of quality assurance (QA) and IT operations (Ops) into the CI/CD chain. QA procedures should not be isolated from the whole end-to-end software development process. QAOps implies close communication and cooperation between team members that will eventually lead to developing a product of the highest quality, meeting the deadlines, adding new features in the shortest time possible, and so on. The other progressive technique is combining QAOps and DevOps. Continuous testing together with a CI/CD operation chain and ongoing cooperation between developers and QA specialists is a strategy that promises to detect errors quicker and accelerate the product-to-market process.
- Big Data Testing: Applications with underlying huge volumes of consumer data should be analyzed and tested frequently. Sectors like healthcare, finance, banking, retail, and telecommunication constantly deal with big data. Therefore, the demand for big data testing will keep increasing. The specific feature of big data testing is checking of data processing success and accuracy, but not separate parts of the software product. QA engineers use commodity clusters and other specific supportive instruments to perform this task.
Achieving results in Quality Assurance and Software Testing with Ascend
For companies based in the US, outsourcing to Mexico is a unique way because it includes more benefits than any other option available. So choosing the right nearshore partner is key. Technology and expertise are essential to successful projects.
At Ascend we would love to help your company with Nearshore outsourcing to Mexico and achieve your business objectives.
Our competitive advantage is based on 20+ years of experience in the insurance industry, a reliable talent pool of skilled IT professionals, cost-effective solutions according to your needs, and multiple facets of services like Legacy Systems Modernization and Maintenance, Quality Assurance & Software Testing , etc.