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Time to re-think how Product approaches QA?

by | December 2, 2021

Testing and QA are an integral – and critical – part of product development. It may seem obvious, but all too often, QA is brought in as the development process is coming to an end. Xoomworks Technology’s QA Practice lead, Cosmin Cîrstea, advocates bringing QA much earlier into the process and explains why it can be critical to product success.

“As a QA team,” he explains, “the earlier we can start testing and understanding where the project is heading, the more we can prevent issues appearing that will delay the project and result in unplanned and unnecessary costs at a later date.” The role of QA – whether testing manually or using automation – ensures that what the developers or data architects are building is robust, reliable and ready to take to market. QA also gives software engineers the confidence that any new features and functionality will be thoroughly tested not to break or have any major faults before reaching the end-user. The QA process not only picks up on errors and glitches in the tech it also ensures that the solution follows a pre-planned and programmatic approach. The risks of downplaying the role of QA, launching a product, or going live with a product without it, can be costly for a business and even have a lasting impact on brand reputation.

Product Development and QA go hand in hand

Product development and QA need to go hand in hand from the beginning of a project. Teamwork is crucial, and during exploratory testing, developers and QA teams must work together to maximise results. The more collaboration and feedback between the different teams at an early stage, the more likely they will identify and address any issues early on in the process. This will lead to the delivery of a quality product and ensure the project stays within agreed timeframes. Find more about our QA approach with VU.CITY, an interactive 3D digital platform for planning city models.

QA teams need the full picture

“Less is more” may apply in many cases, but it couldn’t be farther from reality when it comes to QA in product and solution development. All projects bring their challenges. Some of the most challenging QA projects stem from requirements that are not clear, and there’s a lack of visibility of the bigger picture. To get the most out of the process, QA teams needs to understand the business, the purpose of the application and its specific use cases.

A missing piece of the puzzle

Some sectors build online products that have to handle vast amounts of data every minute of the day. When QA specialists go through testing, they need to think about the process from a user perspective. In this case, however, the QA team was initially only given part of the puzzle to work with. They didn’t know:
  1. How the data was being fed from the upstream parties to the data ingestion app, and
  2. What the user acceptance criteria was.
This had a significant impact on the team’s approach to testing. Given the level of information available to them, the team could not recreate user-based testing scenarios for use-case testing and had to rely on technical testing instead.

How we solved the problem

 

QA automation process testingFig 1. Automation Testing framework © Xoomworks , part of Accenture 2021

Product owners are understandably caught up in the intricacies of their product that they sometimes make assumptions about how much other teams involved actually know. This can have negative consequences when it comes to QA. Even if the QA team has been asked to work on a single aspect of a product, the more information they have about the whole product and understanding of its business use case, the better armed they will be to identify different testing parameters and spot the bugs.

What kind of QA do you need?

Cosmin advises never to overlook the complexity of QA testing. There are three main specialisms of testing: functional, security, and performance, and product owners need to understand each of these areas and the specialist skillsets required. Testers will generally have come across all of the testing types at some point in their QA journey, but very few have the expertise needed for all three.  

A functional tester, for example, may be able to do performance testing to a degree, but in the case of a highly complex project involving vast amounts of data and multiple scenarios, performance testing is crucial, and you will need a performance-testing specialist.

In increasingly competitive markets, Product Owners need to re-think how they brief and bring QA into the project. Leaving it to the end of the process is risky and could slow down Go live or incur additional costs. Businesses that use automated product testing tools and involve QA right at the start of the product’s development lifecycle know they are taking a reliable product to market – and that means happy customers.

 

To understand the Xoomworks approach to helping businesses take great products to market quickly, securely – and with confidence, get in touch with us.