In 2015, it was discovered that US prisoners were being released earlier than they should be. A software bug caused their sentence reductions to be miscalculated, with one getting out 600 days ahead of schedule. As a result, police had to put them back in jail to complete their sentence.
Indian cab riders with basic programming know-how once hacked into the mobile app of Ola, a popular cab aggregator. There was no sufficient validation required to use promo code, so hackers easily used it as many times as they wanted and for whatever amount they chose. Another breach allowed hackers to access a legitimate user’s wallet to pay for their ride. It was said that Ola’s encryption logic was too simple, and any programmer could break in.
In Hawaii, residents received a text message at 8 o’clock in the morning: that a missile was headed their way and they should immediately take shelter. The text was a mistake and a result of someone hitting the wrong button. Making things worse, it took 38 long minutes to rescind the announcement because of a flaw in the alert system. It was the longest, most terrifying 38 minutes for many Hawaiians.
These are just a few of the horror stories being told in the software world. The lesson — Quality Assurance (QA) is a crucial aspect of application development. Skip it, and you risk time, resources, and your reputation.
What is QA?
Quality Assurance is a process verifying that a software is free of defects. To do this, the QA team ensures that products meet and comply with defined quality specifications. They test the software to see that its functionalities work as intended. They review the design and the code for adherence to industry standards and best practices. QA engineers are tasked to catch issues in the software before it is released to the public.
The QA team is expected to align with the objectives of the entire organization, towards a common goal of incorporating quality into applications and processes.
Most applications that you use today have gone through different types of QA testing. Some of the most common tests are as follows.
- Functional testing. Testing if the application’s overall functionality meets the requirements in the design
- Non-functional testing. Testing the software’s non-functional characteristics, such as performance, security, and usability
- Integration testing. Testing if different units of code interact cohesively with each other and as a whole
- Acceptance testing. Testing if the software meets the user’s acceptance criteria
- Regression testing. After changes are made to the software, retesting if there are new bugs or issues introduced. It also tests if unchanged features still work as expected.
Establishing a QA practice and team
In an IT industry trend analysis report released by COMPTIA, 2023 will still “focus on quality assurance (QA) and user experience (UX). With mobile devices steadily accounting for half of all internet traffic, optimizing digital experiences for mobile consumption continues to be important.”
Thus, the demand for a strong and comprehensive QA practice is expected to increase. With a well established practice comes the following benefits.
- Elevate the quality of the product. Launching an app that has dead links or errors is not good form for any brand, no matter how grand the promise of the app is. You must identify defects and deploy the appropriate fixes before you release the software.
- Increase customer satisfaction. An app that has gone through rigorous testing is stable, easy to use, and responds to the user’s needs, so customers are more likely to download and keep using an app.
- Protect your brand reputation. When your app lags, has security issues, or is down all the time, it can negatively impact your brand. Integrating QA into your software development shows that you have a high quality standard when it comes to bringing products to market. This will reflect in your brand reputation.
- Increase efficiency, and reduce costs. When issues are addressed early on, you reduce the time and effort that it would take to do it later in development — or worse, in production.
- Ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices. Leveraging standards will not only help you attain high product quality today but also help you more easily maintain the software in the future.
What it takes to build a robust QA practice
When establishing a QA practice for your organization, start with processes, tools, and people.
- Defined repeatable QA processes for consistency and for improvement, aligned with business objectives and goals
- Set clear roles and responsibilities for each team member.
- Document and review QA processes regularly to keep them relevant and effective.
- Track metrics, and use them to get better.
- The most cutting edge tool will not magically make your QA practice better, but good tools can enhance the productivity and effectiveness of a well-trained, well-equipped team.
- There are a variety of testing tools and technologies that you will need to support your practice, including automated testing frameworks, manual testing tools, bug tracking software, test case management software, and more.
- The most important aspect of a strong QA practice is a strong and experienced team of QA professionals. They are the first line of defense in a QA organization.
- Reinforce communications skills — you will need them to work as a group and with the business.
- Make sure that you have a shared level of commitment to quality, as well as the same level of understanding of business goals and objectives.
Onboard an experienced QA team on Day 1
With software delivery deadlines piling up, it’s getting harder and harder to maintain the same level of quality for all your applications.
Establishing a QA practice ensures that somebody will always be looking after the health of your products. But building the skills, resources, and experience is no easy task.
When you work with Stratpoint, you will leverage 20 years of experience in software development and quality management. You get instant access to best practices and industry standards. You can onboard an experienced QA team ready to work on your quality objectives on Day 1.
Learn more about how Stratpoint can help you achieve quality always: https://stratpoint.com/qaservices/