Editor’s note: If you choose between delivering quality software and sticking to a release deadline with a little chance of having both, read on! In the article, we summarize best practices ScienceSoft’s QA team applies to help our customers enjoy on-time releases of high-quality software. And if you want these benefits without having to set up the described QA practices yourself or lack sufficient QA expertise to do it successfully, turn to ScienceSoft for QA outsourcing, and our experts will take good care of your QA.
During 19 years of QA outsourcing and consulting practice, we have come up with many QA process improvement ways and developed a set of best practices that help our customers achieve their quality goals. Below, we share these best practices for you to implement in order to speed up the testing process, improve software quality, and reduce QA-related efforts and costs.
In Agile projects, the key to speeding up the testing process is optimizing regression testing, which may take up to 70% of the sprint testing efforts. For that, we employ the following best practices:
- Taking a risk-based approach to test prioritization
Arrange two regression test suits: a partial regression test suit with test cases validating high-risk software functionality and a full regression test suit with all the test cases created throughout the project. To pinpoint the test cases to be included in the partial regression test suit, identify the risks each software module is prone to and assess their probability and impact. ScienceSoft’s QA team includes the test cases covering high-risk software modules in the partial regression test suit and executes them at the end of each iteration. In its turn, we run a full regression test suit only before major releases and other project milestones.
- Automating a regression test suit
Test automation can reduce the time a regression test suit is run from days to hours. Such outcome, however, should be preceded by substantial effort devoted to designing, developing, and maintaining test scripts, as well as setting up and maintaining an environment for test execution. Therefore, we opt for test automation only if the efforts required to get the automation initiative up and running are lower than the efforts required for performing manual regression testing in the long term.
To speed up the testing process in Waterfall and thus, reduce the overall project duration, we advise starting testing activities before the development phase is finished. To exclude the chance of regression, we make sure that the share of test cases executed during implementation validates isolated, high-risk software modules that won’t be affected by the implementation of new features.
Software quality issues may arise due to an unstructured quality assurance process, insufficient test coverage and testing in an inappropriate environment. To address these issues, ScienceSoft’s QA team advises taking up the following best practices:
Establishing a well-structured QA process
To achieve an efficient QA process, define the maturity level of your QA, for instance, relying on such maturity models as TMMi and TPI. Based on the QA process assessment outcomes, reveal the areas for improvement and plan the required changes. Roll out the changes in increments and continuously monitor the effect of the introduced changes on the general state of QA.
In addition, we make sure that the quality assurance process is aligned with the software development process and establish project management in a way that facilitates this alignment. Well-integrated QA and development processes allow easy mapping of defects to the corresponding test cases and the test cases – to the corresponding business and technical requirements, which increases defect traceability and fosters the quality of software under test. When we collaborate with a customer according to an outsourcing model, we take care of establishing efficient horizontal communication between a ScienceSoft’s QA and a customer’s internal development team to provide for the QA and the development processes alignment.
Planning QA activities with potential risks in mind
To prevent quality issues, we advise you to manage, plan, design, and execute testing activities based on software risks. For that, analyze the functional modules of software under test based on the probability and impact of defects and classify the software modules accordingly. ScienceSoft concentrates effort on testing high-risk software modules: experienced, domain-trained test engineers validate them early in the SDLC, employing optimal testing techniques, e.g., decision table over equivalence partitioning.
Performing testing in a relevant environment
For better quality outcomes, we execute testing activities in an environment that conforms to the objectives of a particular test process stage. For instance, functional testing of an enterprise app may be performed on a device that is close to the majority of target devices in terms of hardware and software characteristics but is rarely used in real life. In its turn, performance testing of an application with strict requirements for stability needs to be performed in the production environment or its close copy.
To reduce QA efforts and costs, we optimize testing of low-risk software functionality by validating it indirectly or by covering such functionality with unit tests only. In the first case, a test engineer makes a verdict about particular functionality based on the testing results for related features. In the second case, the development team validates the newly implemented functionality at the unit level only.
Make a positive change to your QA process
ScienceSoft’s best practices can help you improve the quality of software and increase testing process velocity with reasonable effort. We are ready to assist you in pulling off your QA objectives in three ways:
- QA consulting. We audit and redesign your existing QA process to make it fit the needs of your project and software and let you enjoy quality at speed.
- Test automation. We automate functional, API and performance testing of your application to accelerate your releases and improve test coverage.
- QA outsourcing. Our self-managed QA team takes over planning, designing, and executing the whole scope or a part of your QA activities to let you release quality software in frequent iterations.
If you seek professional QA assistance but are not sure which option suits you best, feel free to discuss your needs with our QA consultants.