Why Quality Assurance Strategy is a Vital Element of Successful Software Development
August 12, 2022 / Katarina Rudela
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Behind every well-polished and perfectly-functioning software program is a rigorous quality assurance process designed to iron out all the kinks and ensure that the finished product is one that its users will love. However, implementing an effective quality assurance process throughout the development of your application or software solution is often easier said than done.
In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know in order to formulate a quality assurance strategy that will make your next software development project as successful as possible, including what quality assurance in software development entails, how quality assurance optimizes the organization of a project, and the essential principles and testing tools that you will want to integrate into your quality assurance process.
What is a Quality Assurance Strategy?
An effective quality assurance strategy is one that ensures the quality of an IT product at every stage of its development. This starts by setting functional requirements for the project and ensuring that those requirements are met at every step. Quality assurance is also designed to identify potential risks within an IT product's design, reevaluating those risks throughout development each time a new function is introduced. Lastly, in-depth testing is performed once a finished product has been produced in order to identify any issues that might have been missed and ensure that the product is functioning exactly as intended before it is brought to market.
As you can see from the chart below, there are several different tools and processes that companies make use of as part of their quality assurance strategy, with only 2.12% of companies not utilizing a quality assurance process.
There's a good reason why such a vast majority of companies developing new IT products rely on quality assurance as a vital component of the software development process; as we will see in the next section, the benefits of a thorough quality assurance strategy are both substantial and multi-faceted.
The Benefits of Quality Assurance in Software Development
While it's obvious how a good quality assurance strategy can optimize the quality of an IT product, the benefits of quality assurance in software development don't end there. In addition to helping your company bring to market an IT product that is as well-polished and high-performing as possible, other benefits of an effective quality assurance program include:
Saving Your Company Time and Money
It is true that ensuring the quality of an IT product throughout every stage of its development is something that requires a lot of time and additional financial resources. In the end, though, quality assurance is something that can save your company much more time and money than it costs. The reason for this is that it is much less time-consuming and expensive to detect and fix issues during the development process than it is to try and fix them after the final product is completed. By taking a proactive approach to quality assurance, you can resolve issues while they are still relatively easy and affordable to fix, saving your company a lot of time and money in the long run. In addition to enabling you to fix issues while it is quick and affordable to do so, quality assurance can also save time and money by reducing the need for ongoing maintenance and customer support.
Protecting Your Brand Reputation
Without a quality assurance strategy, many bugs and issues with an IT product will often go unnoticed until they are pointed out by the customers using the product - and few things are more damaging to a brand's reputation than delivering a product that does not work as promised. Implementing a quality assurance program helps your company avoid any potential loss of customers or loss of respect that comes with delivering customers a faulty IT product.
Ensuring That Your IT Product Functions Correctly Every Step of the Way
Those familiar with software development know that even minor changes to a program's code can cause significant problems down the line if those changes are not performed correctly. If those problems are not identified and addressed as soon as the change is made, fixing them once the issue becomes impossible to miss is often much more difficult and costly.
Imagine that you are on an airplane flying from London to New York. If the pilot makes a small change to the plane's course halfway across the Atlantic, it may not even be noticeable at first. Over the course of the trip, though, that tiny change in direction could mean that your flight ends up somewhere in Mexico rather than its intended destination. Software development is similar, with tiny changes often leading to major issues if they are not corrected as soon as possible. Having a quality assurance process in place ensures that all of the additions and changes to your IT product that are made throughout its development do not negatively impact its final quality, allowing you to make minor course corrections throughout development, so to speak, rather than ending up with a final product that is not what you hoped it would be.
The Software Quality Assurance Process
Software quality assurance is a process that begins at the first stages of development and continues until the final product is released. However, the exact functions and responsibilities that software quality assurance entails can vary depending on what stage of development the project is in. With that said, the steps that make up the software quality assurance process include:
Definition of Testing Objectives and Quality Criteria - Before you can test the quality of an IT product, it is first essential to define your testing objectives and the criteria you will use to gauge a product's quality and performance. The specifics of these definitions will vary from project to project depending on your exact IT product and the goals you have for it.
Selecting the Optimum Tools for Quality Assurance - Today, there is a wide range of software testing tools that quality assurance teams can utilize to make the process of testing and analyzing an IT product more efficient and effective. We'll dive into some of the top software quality assurance tools in the next section. For now, though, understand that choosing the optimum tools for your specific project is an important step in the quality assurance process.
Creating Test Design Techniques - Ensuring the quality of an IT product is not quite as simple as booting it up and making sure it works. In order to guarantee that no issues go unnoticed, it is essential for quality assurance teams to formulate test design techniques that are custom-tailored to the product being tested. It is also a good idea to utilize multiple testing approaches to create a multi-testing strategy that will ensure the product is analyzed from all angles.
Testing and Analysis at Every Stage of Development - Once a quality assurance team has chosen the ideal testing tools for a project and created multiple test approaches, it's now time to put those tools and approaches into practice. Quality assurance testing is conducted at every stage of a product's development, particularly each time a new function is added to the product.
Maintaining Reports and Records - It is important for quality assurance teams to document the result of their testing procedures. Common quality assurance documentation includes audit results, change requests, test results, and review reports, and these documents play an important role in making sure that all stakeholders are kept informed of the project's status throughout the development process.
Conducting a Final Analysis - Once the finished product is complete, the quality assurance team should conduct one final, thorough analysis of its quality to ensure that the end result is fully polished and ready to bring to market.
The Top Five Software Testing Tools
We have mentioned already that there are a number of software solutions that quality assurance teams can leverage to ensure that the quality assurance process is completed in the most efficient and effective way possible. With so many different tools to choose from, though, selecting the ideal tools for your needs can sometimes be a challenge. What constitutes the ideal software testing tool for your project will ultimately depend on the specific product that you are developing. With that said, though, some of the top software testing tools available today include tools such as:
Testim is an AI-powered software testing tool that allows quality assurance teams to create reusable groups and share those groups across tests, add assertions and code-like functions such as loops and conditions, rearrange steps using the Testim visual editor, and view test results from a convenient centralized dashboard. Testim is also designed to seamlessly integrate with all major CIs and version control systems, allowing for code/test branch synchronization and accurate bug tracking. The biggest benefit of Testim, though, is the fact that its AI-driven locators are able to keep tests stable, thus reducing maintenance costs. Testim is free to use for up to 1,000 test runs per month, with paid plans available for customers with higher demands.
Used by major companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and American Express, Testlio is the most popular networked testing platform available today. With Testlio, quality assurance teams are able to utilize a network of highly-vetted testers to perform tests such as location testing, functional testing, usability testing, and localization testing. Testlio is also capable of integrating with GitHug, Trello, PivotalTracker, Jira, Visual Studio, and Asana. If you would like to utilize networked testing to ensure the quality of your IT product, Testlio is a great tool/service to consider. Custom pricing details for Testlio are available upon request.
Kobiton is a software testing tool designed specifically for testing mobile apps. In addition to mobile app testing, though, Kobiton also specializes in testing websites and IoT devices. With Kobiton, quality assurance teams are able to perform both functional, performance, and visual tests as well as automate those tests using Kobiton's AI-driven scriptless solution and AI-assisted test script generation. Kobiton also integrates with all major CI/CD platforms and offers automatic JIRA ticket creation that generates video of test failures on specific devices. Pricing for Kobiton ranges from $50 to $1,400 per month depending on the plan that you choose.
TestArchitect is a unified testing platform designed to utilize ABTL - a domain-specific language designed for testing automation. Where TestArchitect really excels, though, is when it is being used for action-based testing. Action-based testing is a form of keyword-driven testing that allows for a high level of test reusability, thus reducing maintenance costs. The base version of TestArchitect is free to use, with Enterprise pricing available upon request.
Selenium is one of the most well-known software testing tools available today and utilizes language-specific bindings in order to drive a browser, record interactions with a browser, and more. Selenium is also able to support a wide variety of frameworks, including KeyWord Driven, Cucumber, JUNIT, NG, and Data-Driven and is widely considered the best tool on the market for automated browser testing. Best of all, Selenium is completely free to use.
Should You Build or Buy Your Next IT Product?
There is a lot of time, resources, and strategy that goes into ensuring the quality of an IT product - and if you don't employ the right quality assurance process, the final product you produce could end up leaving a lot to be desired. One easy way to ensure the quality of your next IT product, though, is to enlist the help of a reliable software development firm.At Baytech Consulting, we are committed to helping our clients create exceptional IT products and software solutions for a fraction of the time and money it takes to build these products and solutions in-house. By employing a talented team of software quality assurance professionals armed with the latest tools and strategies, we are able to ensure that the product you bring to market functions exactly as you intend. To learn more about partnering with Baytech consulting for your next software development project, be sure to contact us today!