Steps for improving Software QA Process
Sometimes during a QA process improvement, a good QA practice implemented without thorough consideration can become a source of trouble for software products/applications. Before applying any updates to perform a thorough Quality Assurance process audit, It’s better that we should consider some important factors in advance. We should closely examine these factors that have molded the current software quality assurance process, considering future potential limitations that may block the changes to implement. So here an overview of some important factors that should be considered for improving the Software QA Process.
Involving the QA team during the sprint/iteration planning process
During the product backlog refinement phase, it can be very useful if quality assurance team members are involved. As they usually have a good understanding from the end user’s perspective view regarding viewing their business requirements. Moreover, they are also helpful to know the application’s technical dependencies very well. So, to get a clear view of requirements and to enhance the end-user experience, involving the QA team members is very useful. It will provide a clear picture of the clarification and prioritization of the backlog items. It gives an overview of the already available and newly created requirements and user stories for more clarity, consistency, and testability.
Analyzing the potential regression process
It is observed that 70% of testing efforts involve Regression testing. Therefore, for a shorter release cycle, one of the major factors in optimizing the regression management process. So it is advised that planning a potential regression at the start of a sprint or iteration plays a vital role in the QA process. For that, the purpose QA team should be able to identify that particular functionality of the software that is most likely to be affected by each new requirement of the user story in the sprint backlog. Once the QA team has acquired an understanding to the extent that to identify the software modules that can experience regression, then make sure the QA team prepares and updates test design documentation covering these modules. Hence, the QA team doesn’t have to run a whole regression test to ensure sufficient test coverage.
Analyzing the need for automation testing
Automation testing can help to speed up the software testing process and considerably improve the quality of the software. If the efforts spent on test automation for design, development, and support of test automation scripts are lower than the efforts spent on manual test execution and for a corresponding environment only then these efforts will be viable. One Important factor for test automation success is regarding the selection of automation candidates. Test cases that are executed quite frequently and do not change much with each iteration can easily be automated. But those test cases require much effort for the automation process which are of complex or frequently changing nature and often exceed the expected benefits.
Preparing a test data management strategy
If the software you are working on has a critical dependency on data, then for an effective QA process, the QA team should design a test data management strategy very early on. For that purpose, the QA team should take initiative to formulate data requirements like the volume of the required data set, the required format of data, and all the permissible boundary values. Therefore on based upon them, identify an optimal approach to test data generation:
- Production’s cloning data: this method is relatively very simple to implement, however, it has one constraint that it requires much time due to usually large production data volumes.
- Generating the synthetic test data – This method guarantees that is the disclosure of the sensitive production data, but it is resource efforts are time-intensive.
- Sub-setting the data from the production: the method is less expensive as compared to the last two methods, but for data integrity, this method requires skilled resources to implement.
Updating the test design documentation
To maintain the testing quality, whenever there is any meaningful change implemented to an application, the same should be updated in test design documentation. At the start of each sprint, the QA team should assess how the changes proposed to the system have affected the existing test design documents. Theater analyzes the test documents and identify which test cases need to be updated, and also remove irrelevant and duplicate test cases
Implementing the shift-left approach for testing
In a Shift Left approach, the QA team performs the testing during the early stages by moving to the left in the project lifecycle. To introduce the shift-left approach for testing, we should involve the members from the development team in the quality assurance process and let them perform regular unit testing and code reviews. From the beginning, Developers need to focus on quality, instead of waiting for errors & bugs to be discovered by the QA team late in the SDLC (software development lifecycle). Shifting left approach enables the project teams to test, provide feedback, and review changes & progress daily.
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