I’d say that QA (Quality Assurance) is just as important as development - yet it's a discipline that's often overlooked and underappreciated.
QA is the middle man
Creating the best bug-free software begins with a team of excellent developers with lots of practical experience. But being a skilled developer doesn’t necessarily make you good tester. That requires a very specific set of hard and soft skills and being part of a Quality Assurance team involves something of a balancing act. These are the people who understand what users need and appreciate - and they're able to help developers build what's necessary to reach them.
Testing involves executing a series of tasks and then comparing the results with pre-set expectations based on design of the app. Essentially, this means using the application as the end-user would, to ensure each feature is acting appropriately at all times. One of the most significant functions of Quality Assurance is to prevent software failures. In other words, it helps keep customers happy by guaranteeing a high-quality product.
Testing is the process of analysing and proving a product's qualifications. In Quality Assurance, there are many dependencies - the size of the software, methodologies, scope, complexity etc, and usually QA will have the following objectives:
• To find and report issues
• To assess the severity of such issues
• To boost confidence about quality levels
• To provide information for decision-makers
• To ensure the project remains within the original scope
• To Verify and validate software requirements
• To Prevent issues and reduce risks
Verification is the process of ensuring a product satisfies the conditions imposed at the start of the development phase. In other words, it is to ensure the product behaves the way we want it to be.
Validation is the process of making sure the product satisfies the requirements specified at the end of the development phase - that is, to ensure it is built as per the requirements set up.
Identifying bugs and errors is only one of the parts of QA, the process also involves improving the quality of the product and ensuring that development is according to the agreed terms and conditions.
Unfortunately, some bugs are so disruptive that they can break the whole system or product, causing a major loss to the business. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the QA engineers to identify the bugs and resolve them with the help of the development team, so that, ultimately, we ship the product to the market bug-free.
Various processes can be undertaken to check the functionality and accuracy of a system or software, including:
• Integration testing
• Functional Testing
• System testing
• Regression testing
• End-to-End testing
• Usability testing
• Load Testing
• Black Box testing
• White Box testing
As will be clear, there are many ways to test software at various phases in the development process; which one we can use will depend on your app needs. QA verifies that the system meets the requirements with regards to functionality, performance, reliability, security, usability and so on.
This verification ensures we are developing the system as we should be developing it and confirms it meets user needs. In essence, validation is performed to make sure we are building the right system. This information from software testing helps with risk management.
When is QA even more crucial?
When developing software for specific purposes, even small mistakes can have catastrophic consequences. And it's at this point QA becomes the most critical part of the software development process.
Without QA, for example, you might hear a software engineer cursing and shouting:
“I'm sure that was working yesterday!” Or a frustrated app user complaining: “It's too complicated! I don't understand... Why do I need to do this bit first?” QA, of course, would have been able to identify that, it wasn't working yesterday, or, that an action is complicated and alert the project manager or product owner to the perceived flaw immediately.
Quality is always the Result of Intelligent Effort
All IT firms commit a substantial amount of machine resources to developing software according to client requirements. QA is essential since every human makes mistakes - often minor ones, but sometimes time-expensive or critical.
In the digital industry, if software or an app doesn't work as expected, it can do significant damage to a company's reputation, ultimately causing customers to lose confidence in the business and take their customers elsewhere.