Modern customers rarely turn a blind eye when it comes to poor-quality products or services. It is hard to erase bad memories and regain trust. That’s why more and more companies introduce quality assurance in their processes to limit the risk of deploying a bad product or service to the market. Read more about QA and testing and how it can help you make better products.
This article will outline what QA, QC, and testing is. There also will be more about test types and their benefits. At the end, some best practices will be discussed.
Quality assurance (QA) combines different methodologies and practices to ensure the high quality of software products and services delivered to end users. Quality assurance focuses not only on detecting bugs but mainly on improving the software development process, leading to the development of quality software without compromising on process efficiency or quality standards.
There is no modern QA without automation. Its connection with CI/CD helps streamline the whole process. Also, implementing testing stages in a CI/CD pipeline ensures that new code is checked before deployment, so many possible bugs and errors are detected as early as possible.
You can learn more about why you need QA automation and how to implement it correctly on our blog.
While talking about QA, often another term comes to light. QC, or quality control, complements quality assurance which focuses on product requirements. QC is a final checkpoint before delivery and consists of procedures that ensure that the final product meets the agreed quality criteria.
While QC is mostly about detecting and fixing defects in the actual product, QA focuses on building the development process in a way that helps prevent bugs. That’s why quality assurance activities are performed throughout the whole development process, and quality control moves in when the product is ready for release. Last but not least, quality assurance is proactive and focuses on the process itself, and QC is reactive with a closer look at the final product.
Looking for more information about the difference between quality assurance and quality control? Read our previous publication to see QA and QC in the big picture.
Testing aims to deliver the anticipated product or service to the end users. This process explores the system to find potential bugs or vulnerabilities in the product or service before it is available to customers. To ensure that testing is performed effectively, it should cover aspects such as architecture description, code analysis, path in case of change or configuration, and release procedures.
Product-oriented testing checks the quality that QA tries to ensure and implements corrective actions if needed. What can help to achieve this is quality assurance automation. Proper automation testing consists of defining the scope of automation, tools selection, maintenance, planning, at finally – test execution.
The main goal of the testing process is to deliver the best possible quality product or service to the end-users.
When companies implement more activities focused on maintaining high-quality products, we can talk about quality management. Check out the different phases of QM and why it is worth implementing.
Fig. 1 Quality assurance, quality control and testing
The answer to this question has already been given between the lines. We are all customers, and we expect the best possible products and services for ourselves. When a particular company betrays our trust or does not meet our expectations, we probably do not purchase more of its products or services.
As mentioned above, QA ensures that high-quality products will be delivered to customers and minimizes the risk of disappointment or frustration connected with a poor user experience. The modern market rarely forgives mistakes, so companies must be prepared for the only chance they get to beat the competition. QA minimizes this risk helping to deliver the best possible outcome.
Fig. 2 Quality assurance and software testing
There are various types of tests available. It is worth knowing the difference between them to choose the best one for your needs. However, there is no test that fulfills all requirements – every project requires at least a few tests to check the different aspects of a product or service.
What tests are available for you to consider? The answer is right below.
- Automated testing – setting up a test environment and performing system checks can be executed with dedicated testing software tools with either minimal human interaction or none at all. Incorporating this type of testing into your strategy results in less errors during development, more focus on other testing activities (e.g. expanding the tests coverage for the product) and speeding up the test feedback loop.
- Manual testing – requiring some human interaction with the tested system, these types of tests are required for better project quality. As testing is evaluating a product by learning about it through exploration and experimentation, the manual aspect of that process is really important.
Besides this primary division, testers can focus on a particular aspect or element. In unit testing, an isolated part of the code is checked. During smoke testing, the crucial functionalities are verified, and when it comes to regression testing, testers check whether any modifications added later impact the product/service functionality or not.
Not all tests focus on functionality – aspects like scalability, usability and reliability also can be checked. From which non-functional test types can you choose?
Choose a performance test to check if a system is reliable and responsive, how it performs under a workload, and if its performance stays at the expected level. Long run (stability) tests allow for checking the quality and behavior of the product or service over a more extended period of working time. Interested how the product will act in extreme conditions? Use stress testing, also known as torture testing. Last but not least is usability testing. This test type puts the user's perspective front and center to check if everything is user-friendly and usable.
However, there are more test types to choose from. Do you want to know more? Check out our article about software testing.
A well-designed, bug-free, and user-friendly software or service – this is the most straightforward recipe to satisfy customers. Implementing quality assurance has a positive impact on end users, and on the teams working on the product or service.
Developers are reassured that their work is double-checked during the testing phase, and any potentially overlooked bugs will be caught. This does not mean that developers are exempt from following best practices nor the necessity to keep code clean and in good condition. QA limits the situation of burdening one team with the full responsibility for detecting all bugs.
Finally, quality assurance facilitates work at a large scale. When a project goes bigger and requires more and more tests, QA enables them to be carried out automatically without taking up more of the developers' time.
How can you make quality assurance even more efficient for your organization? Following the below best practices helps keep testing effective and on-target.
- Monitor coverage
If a test is to achieve its purpose for real, it is crucial to write a test case that is adapted to the product requirements. The team monitors product coverage so that the requirements are well-defined and tested adequately.
- Do not give up on manual testing
Automated tests are great, no doubt about it. However, keep in mind that every test case should be adjusted to project-specific requirements. Sometimes manual testing could be more relevant – for example, usability tests have to be performed manually to get a feel for the UI of the product. Do not skip manual testing just to save time – fixing any overlooked vulnerabilities can cost you much more later.
- Focus on one aspect at a time
Trying to check everything simultaneously can lead to a loss of clarity. Each test should be focused on one defining feature or aspect to give the most reliable results.
- QA and CI/CD together
CI/CD allows for increasing the automation level in the software development process. It is also a great solution to keep the code in good condition – code is built and tested in small batches, and developers’ work can be merged in a stable repository multiple times per day.
- Note down the bugs
Fixing bugs is one thing, but tracking them is another. It is good to have a clear list of errors and bugs to identify any common occurrences or trends that should be looked at more carefully. It is also important to remember to define their priority and severity, and carry out bug triaging to achieve the expected quality level.
These are only a few simple steps that can significantly change your QA testing process for the better.
Are you looking for modern innovations in QA? Then jump into our article about quality assurance trends.
Nowadays, dynamic business environments force companies to rethink their products and services. Businesses know they might never receive a second chance from their customers if they miss the market fit or fail to meet end-users’ expectations.
Implementing quality assurance into the development process allows for making high-quality and reliable products. And there is no doubt that customers consider only the best options available, so do not jump ahead and do not skip the testing.