Quality and quantity are two important criteria that are used to fathom something rather, anything; be it product or service, it has to be checked based on either quality or quantity or both. The days that witnessed only the ‘given’, ‘delivered’, ‘shown’ are so gone. Now, it is time to analyze what is ‘give’, ‘delivered’, ‘shown’, etc. A dedicated domain has sprung up for that analysis part. And top priority is given to ‘quality’ as the current trend demands ‘quality’ of the quantity now.
A logical perception of the evolution of Quality Analysts (QA)
Quality Analysts have become an important part of all the systems these days. There is an interesting perspective to this evolution. Initially, as there were more reliable people who did their jobs with the utmost sincerity, the output of any kind of job was qualitative by default. But, as the population increased, the need for more production pushed scientists and engineers to come out with automation to increase productivity. Automation was algorithm-driven and service-oriented domain started to flourish on large scale from here (IT sector comes into play here) but this had a catch, more the automation impact, more the threat to manpower oriented jobs. This indirectly brought down the efficiency of the work from a workman point of view, as the jobs became more mechanical. Here evolved the need for Quality Check/Analysis and thus Quality Analysts bloomed into the industry.
Quality Analysts from around the industry to the IT field
Quality Analysts have sprung in all walks of life, be it in the food industry, there are much quality check people ranging from checking the quality of the ingredients to a tasting of the wine, or in the production and manufacturing industry, starting from the quality check analysts of the raw materials to the intermediate process checking personnel to the final product quality check analysts, Quality Analysts are spread out. Among various industries, the ever-evolving IT industry had, in fact, a leading culture of having Quality Analysts on board. Let us look closely into the IT field Quality Analysts in this article.
Quality Analysts of Software Package
Information Technology played a crucial role in shaping the ‘wanted’ impact on Quality Analysts in the industry. The two eyes of an IT industry are the ‘software developers’ and ‘software testers’. When a project requirement arises, the coding gurus who take the first step are the developers. They lay the skeletal framework of the algorithm. When something is started from scratch, it is very obvious for bugs to crawl into the code. In different functionalities of the codes, the trial and error method does the job. So, the developers need to code the algorithm with an open mind and without the fear of being judged.
Once the raw code is programmed, it is the job of the testers to simulate and check for bugs. In general debugging is the job nature of the software testers. However, as teamwork is healthier, when testers feel that another algorithm can carry out the job of a particular functional code, they tend to re-work or team-work with the developers and bring out the best fit. In this scenario, testers play the role of first-hand quality analysts of the software package.
Health check on QA
It is a mandated rule to have a health check done on QA professionals from time to time. Of the many reasons why this health check is mandated, the top 5 reasons are as follows:
- The Quality Check Parameters shouldn’t be outdated
- The Quality Check Strategies should incorporate the recent techniques & tools
- The Quality Check Matrices should be in par with the Google Analytics protocols
- Quality Analysts need to stay updated with changing trends
- Quality Check Parameters needs to be more Customer Satisfaction driven
The above-mentioned reasons depict the importance of having a periodic health check on both the Quality Analysts and the Quality Check Metrics.
Key Strategies of QA testing
QA testing involves starting from scratch and making sure excellence is delivered at the end. The following strategies play an important role in having a top-notch QA team and protocols on board.
Key strategies of QA Testing
Planning of testing & QA process
If you are planning for the testing starts with taking notes of the project requirements. Business analysts come into the picture as well. Proper documentation makes the whole process effective. It is important to note the customer requirements in detail and clearly. Having unique test cases that are maintainable will be of huge help for classification, tracking and reviewing at the later stages.
Test-oriented software development protocols
We all grew up taking tests from our childhood. That has helped us a big deal. Similarly leaning towards test-driven management improves the quality of the software to a great extent. Implementing ‘extreme programming (EX)’ methodology aids in adapting to dynamic requirements. Test-driven development involves writing a test code initially, then writing the production code and iteratively improving the design. This delivers high-quality output and optimizes the development costs using simple code, which in turn increases the overall productivity. Another method called pair programming yields positive output by having two programmers code at the same time. This way each can give suggestions then and there and improve the overall efficiency.
Organize Technical Reviews
Conducting periodic technical reviews has a huge positive impact on overall productivity. Having a mature product at hand is the right time to have this review. Documenting the technical review report based on the details of who reviewed, what was reviewed and the findings and conclusions helps a big deal while following the project.
Best suited environment for QA Team
You can’t put a fish on a tree and expect it to climb to the top. In the same way, you need to give provisions for the QA team to carry out their work efficiently. Final testing needs to be mandatorily done by the QA team and when they give their feedback and inputs, the other team has to respect and work upon those inputs. Also, training the QA team with business and customer satisfaction parameters is essential. Having the best QA team important communication loop helps in improving the quality of the project.
Carry out user acceptance testing
End-user testing generally comes into the picture at the final stage. This spots bugs that might have escaped the previous tests. Once the software undergoes the user-acceptance testing process, it is implied that your software is production-ready. This test is carried out in the following ways:
- Alpha & Beta Testing
- Contract Acceptance Testing
- Regulation Acceptance Testing
- Operational Acceptance or Production Readiness Testing
- Black Box Testing
The above tests can be carried out by identifying interested users and conducting the test by well-trained coaches.
Report and resolve bugs
Spotting a bug and reporting it in detail will help the concerned person to resolve it and deliver the software faster. Once the bug is identified, it needs to be communicated and if the QA team can provide possible solutions and suggestions well and good. A bug report needs to be crystal clear. Screenshots and bugs summary can help to a greater extent in this process.
QA – Adding value always
Having a QA team on board is directly proportional to maintaining your reputation in terms of the quality of the deliverables, be it product or services. From choosing the release conditions carefully to supervising the programming, identifying the bugs and resolving it, the QA team needs to be on the watch all the time and pay very close attention to details, because, one mistake puts the whole company/business at stake. There is a saying that goes like this, ‘To err is human and to forgive is divine’, but in the case of QA, to err is not acceptable. Hence sticking to the strategies and making a thorough analysis of the software is their core responsibility and thus they always add value.
The right tools used at the right step of the project signal the red flag thereby helping in troubleshooting. With many quality check metrics to look up to, it is a mandate that you check for the measurable nature of the analysis, the doable steps to fine-tune the product (software package), the deadlines to crack and resolve bugs, maintain orderly update report and make sure to always have an eye on the larger picture even while doing the smaller tasks. It is advisable to have meetings that will have productive inputs depending on the flow of the work now and then. Also, having a question and answer type of quality check policies will help the team understand the purpose of their work at every step. Having a clearly defined ‘ready, steady go’ and a ‘finish line’ has a huge impact on the flow of the process. This enables the QA team to have periodic analysis and give feedback to the team. This way, the overall efficiency of the team improves gradually.