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What Is A QA And When Do You Need It?

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Dev

6 min read

May 30, 2022

In this article, we share a list of characteristics any good QA should have and how they translate to product success in software development.

process and making it as efficient as possible while meeting the quality standards defined for software products. How does it work exactly? And why do you need it? Let’s find out!

What is QA, and what is the difference between QA and QC/Testing?

Both, Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) form an integral part of the organization’s quality management plan. Even though both require testing, they are not the same thing. They are differentiated by their goals, specific features, and methods of application.  

QA’s goal is bug prevention  

Quality Assurance’s main goal is to ensure that the developed software meets the needs covered in the pre-agreed specification. This process covers a whole set of methods and activities. It is a meticulously planned strategy, which goes throughout the whole product’s life cycle (SDLC) and allows QA officers to evaluate the product’s quality, working out all the ways to prevent possible bugs in the finished product.  

QC’s goal is bug detection

On the other hand, QC’s main goal is to explore the system to find possible errors. It’s a kind of inspection, aimed to check, how the system operates and to exclude its defects. In this product-oriented process, various methods are used to test the product, locate the bugs and  – later – check if they are fixed. Testing gives the client the possibility to see if the developed product meets their expectations.

To ensure the best software quality and realization of the stated goals, QA and QC must work together.

What does a QA do during the software development process?

There are at least a few activities that QA is responsible for during the software development process at various stages of the project.

Requirement’ analysis

Early on, QA’s role is to study software requirements and make sure the team understands them correctly. Then they should undertake the risk analysis to identify possible loopholes and prevent eventual bugs. Finally, the defect-tracking methodology should be established, and the chosen type of tests run.

Design analysis

The next step is the design analysis. This is when a QA should check if the applied design is actually testable and how long should the testing take. Then they can assure that architecture satisfies all (non)-functional requirements and prepare the data flow diagram (DFD) of the project, verifying the flow of functionalities, as well as the Entity-Relationship Diagram (ER), process diagram, and finally - the use case. Since QA is the proxy for an end-user, they review the design from the end-user perspective, verifying the user type and the user interface/experience. Finally, QA can prepare the low-level test plan including risk, scope, tools, environment, etc.

Development

Entering the development stage, QA should maintain the algorithm for the development and develop the test case, so that it can be used in Test-Driven Development (TDD) or Behavior-Driven Development (BDD). The last step is the preparation of the environment for testing.

Testing

During the testing process, QA verifies if the tests are being run according to the test plan. In this phase, they can also check if there are any defects or bugs and report them as early as possible.

Deployment

At this point, QA prepares all the standard guides and manuals. Their goal is also to make sure no issue has been left behind, in order to avoid  problems with software deployment.  

Why is it worth applying QA early on?

Some people perceive QA as some kind of a bureaucratic requirement. That kind of thinking might be a trap, though. Instead, we should treat quality assurance as something integrated with the DNA of the project, starting from its early phases.

Involving testers at the very early stages of the project, such as planning or even conceptualization, will be helpful for the team to achieve the common goals better. QA experts have a better understanding of, what needs to be tested, how that testing should be conducted, what systems may be impacted, and what exactly is even possible to test. This should also help the team choose the right tools.

Giving QA more time to process the project can result in them providing more interesting insights that developers would not have, giving the team preemptive guidance. Additionally, including QA earlier can save time and effort, since they make it possible to fix bugs and defects earlier.

Summary

We hope that we have answered at least some questions you might have had concerning QA and have helped you understand that you do need that set of experts for your project. QA officers are a great asset to have throughout the entire software development life cycle, as they can offer their expertise in all areas, from analysis through development to the deployment phase. As a result, your team will be more efficient, the production costs may lower and deadlines may shorten. One thing is for sure – your product will achieve better quality overall.

If you are looking for ways to improve your company’s testing strategy or processes, or you just wish to have a chat about this subject, reach us by clicking the link below.  

Created by

Dariusz Żelasko

CTO

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