Margarita Simonova, Founder and CEO of ILoveMyQA.com.
Quality assurance (QA) testing is the process that ensures a premium quality product for customers. QA is merely the strategy used to avoid any software product or service problems and to make sure that the user experience is great for customers. But what are the best practices in quality assurance?
The Combination Of Test Automation With Manual Testing
One beneficial technique for QA testing is incorporating both manual and automated testing. Determining which kind of testing would be most appropriate at each of the various stages of the product is key.
Manual testing facilitates greater coverage of conditions and scenarios, and the feedback provided by QA testers on the experience and feel of the application will certainly be useful. Manual tests are most suitable for ad-hoc testing, exploratory testing and usability testing.
Preferably, manual tests should be executed by highly skilled and knowledgeable testers using a vast array of operating systems and devices and representing various end-user profiles.
For quicker turnaround in testing, automated tests can be used to supplement manual testing. Automation is the most suitable option for load tests, white box testing and other performance testing.
Any kind of testing that needs to be carried out repeatedly should be automated. Automated tests are reliable as well as practical and will assist in ensuring that the application performs as expected from a technical viewpoint.
Agile Methodologies And Software Testing
Using a methodology that includes testing in a sequence of brief development cycles is another QA best practice worthy of consideration.
This is a joint effort among developers, designers, the QA team and, at times, even the users, which can be facilitated with the use of a single repository for the application code.
For newly added features, teams will undergo a short development or design cycle and then a targeted quality control and testing phase with additional security, stress and regression testing as required. What takes place in the next development or design cycle will be determined by the results of this phase.
When you adopt this approach, it is important to leverage automation to keep things moving. Test automation decreases the turnaround time of the targeted testing phases so that you could move on to the next development cycle in as little as a few hours or days. Manual tests, however, will need to be scheduled after some key development or design cycles so that feedback on user experience and various key elements of the application can be incorporated.
The Test Case Writing Process
Should tests be written by developers? While the agile approach requires the involvement of developers in the test case writing process, they might write code simply to pass the test or subconsciously create tests with limited coverage. Making QA one of the developer’s responsibilities might result in some quality standards being neglected.
Therefore, some teams develop the test plan, then outsource the process or hand it over to specialized QA engineers.
Although there should be a narrow focus on each test case, your test case suite should be cohesive, and its scope should be adapted to the full range of your project.
Customize tests and execute them in an environment that differs from the one used in development. Expectations for each test should be identified, and test results should be measurable.
Each test case should be broken down into a sequence of succinct steps. Following these steps will determine whether or not a feature works. Picture writing a test case as a set of actions related to a question. As the action is taken, human testers or an automated test should answer a basic question to assess the action’s success.
Test case instructions must be clearly written so that testers easily understand what is required of them. A lot of time can be saved, and better results can be achieved when there is no chance of misinterpretation of test cases, instructions or tutorials. Testing tools are available to simplify the process.
Best Practices In QA Testing
Based on the information above, here are just a few best practices to consider in QA testing.
1. Focus on testing one thing at a time. Test objectives should be clear. Each test should zero in on one feature or address issues such as security or user interface.
2. Be knowledgeable about various tests. Ensure that you know which tests are available, what they would be best suited for and how to use them.
3. Leverage analytics. Determine which QA metrics should be tracked. Record every test carried out and use this information to pinpoint the likelihood of bugs being present. This will assist in the development of new tests to address problem areas.
4. Employ regression testing. Code improvements, changes or updates can alter the performance of the application, so tests should be run to ensure that the app still functions as expected.
5. Select the optimum test environment. Try taking into account a wide variety of scenarios, consisting of various devices, operating systems and user profiles.
6. Track and report bugs. Determine the type of data needed and how you will report bugs. Determine whether you will build a bug tracking tool specifically for your workflow or use an open-source one.
7. Pay proper attention to the user interface. To get a feel for the user interface of the application, carry out end-to-end scenarios by using manual functional tests. Ideally, this should be done after fixing issues detected during integration and unit tests.
8. Use integration and unit testing. In unit testing, individual modules of your application will be tested in isolation, but integration testing checks how well the different modules work together when combined as a group. To save time, it is best to run unit tests in parallel but never move on to integration testing unless you have ascertained that individual modules work as they should.
Finally, establish a QA strategy that is unique to your product and its lifecycle and aligns with your project’s scope, end-user expectations and vision of quality.
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