What is software quality assurance?

In the age where the near-unlimited reach of technology changes the way we live, quality software comes as an integral part of the software development process. Software bugs can sometimes cause damage in the millions and shut down entire businesses. These are some of the reasons software products deserve high maintenance to run smoothly and embody high quality, stable, and fail-safe software solutions.

Quality assurance is an essential constituent of quality software development. It includes practically anything that has to do with whether a product or service meets set requirements. Quality assurance engineers aim to guarantee process efficiency and quality standards of software products.

QAs don’t just find bugs or test. Their primary mission is to prevent defects and ensure that the development process yields the same results previously set in blueprints.

What the company builds compared to User Expectations
What the company builds compared to User Expectations

QA is a way of preventing mistakes or defects and avoiding problems when delivering solutions to customers.

Software testing life cycle (STLC)

The Software testing life-cycle starts with the raw project requirements, and goes through multiple stages, before coming to a closure, where all previous tests are finalized and analyzed. Here’s a bit about each:

Cycle of QA
Work cycle of QA
  1. Requirement analysis
    Business analysts preparing customer requirements is a common sight today. Since stage one of the product journey, QA engineers already reserve a crucial role. They have the possibility of planning the required software development testing stages and techniques and even evaluate the success rate of the initial plan.
  2. Test planning
    In this phase, the goal is to prepare all the ingredients of the Test Plan: strategy, schedule, estimation, deliverables, and the resources required for the test stage. What’s important here is to maintain that all consecutive stages follow a strict sequence where all necessary counter-actions are under control.
    QA Test Scenario
    QA Test Scenario
  3. Test development
    This phase deals with test cases. Test development is encased in a document where all sets of actions have a title, description, test steps, test data, preconditions, postconditions, expected results, actual result, and status. The test cases have a significant impact on the testing phase.
    QA Test Development
    QA Test Case Development
  4. Test execution
    Popular opinions claim that QA’s only job is to follow up with test case execution. However, for product quality level, all previous phases matter. Hence the name “complete software product testing.” Thorough testing is necessary; it guarantees that no mistakes will cause trouble later.

    In the test execution phase, all previous test cases must be executed. If the test case fails, it means there is a bug, and the QA’s must send a detailed report back to the developers. In such a case, QAs must write the bug report effectively and in a way that software engineers will easily understand. They need to describe every step that led to the named issue, and in ways that engineers will understand better. That is why these steps should be documented, concise, and without any missing vital points. Screenshots are easy to digest; the same goes for videos. Creative QAs can descriptively highlight problems through animations. Such descriptive illustrations can not only show the situation in perspective, but help developers quickly find the best route in solving it.

    The priority for the report is paramount, so experts can quickly allocate the right time to fix it.
  5. Test closure phase
    Test closure is the last phase where an analysis of the testing process takes place. This analysis is a summary of all tests performed since the beginning of software development, all embedded in a neat document. We also see the detailed study of all the errors found and what part of them got removed successfully. The most significant factor during the test closure phase is software risk assessment. This action gives a clear view of what the customer looks like, in respect of the software’s success rate.

What are the best benefits from QA

Some of the most obvious benefits are to have software work and not crash—bug-free apps something within the goals of every skilled developer, but rarely easily achieved.

Save money and time – Software bugs derive from specification, code, and design flaws. Identifying and fixing bugs during the early stages of software development is very important as the cost of bug fixing grows over time! The investment in time and resources pays off time fold.

If a bug is found around the final stage of development, it is potentially dangerous for the project and fixing will cost 50x or 100x more. A small bug left unnoticed during early project stages – can ruin months of collective teamwork.

Bug Fixing Cost
Bug fixing cost at various stages of development

Secure Business – the symbiotic connection between quality assurance and information technology security is natural, because IT security, at its basic level, is a form of QA. Access control is changing and evolving all the time, due to internal organizational standards or IT security policy changes. Before access control policies are written into the application, these policies need to be approved the same way any other requirements were. Understanding and tracking such changes is the best practice for a fail-safe end product.

The software quality assurance team should work with the application owners all of the time to provide this level of support for access control policies.

Another essential part is the provision of security software. This is a process of developing, adding, and testing security features within applications to prevent security vulnerabilities against threats such as unauthorized access and modifications.

Maximize User Experience – Quality issues can affect the functionality of software products as well as user experience. The user-centric approach guarantees a quality product that is also trusted by its users.

The design process of the user interface is of grave importance to both User Experience and Quality Assurance. Site loading speed has a tremendous impact on visitor’s satisfaction and conversion, which is also endorsed by Google’s ranking factors. In terms of user experience, pages with longer load times tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average page times, which means fewer people check them, and even the ones who come by – don’t stay there for too long.

Conclusion

QA guarantees that the product, in its final form, turns out to be as close as possible to initial plans. Through targeted analysis, software quality assurance helps examine the projects from all imaginable angles – something that developers or product owners don’t have the time, capacity, or expertise to do themselves. With QAs on the lookout for anything worth revisiting, developers can focus on following plan details. If there’s anyone who discovers emerging technical scenarios and puts them to the test, it is the quality assurance expert. With quality standards maintained at their highest, the customer is always presented with a cleaner and more desirable experience.

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Author

Stefani Stefanova | QA Engineer

Stefani loves bugs. She is a dedicate Quality Assurance Engineer with a will to not let any flaws through her tight spider net. When she tests, there is no good or evil, or the slightest chance of missing out. She discovers software flaws at places where you wouldn't expect them to be.