Security is more important than ever. For any business big or small to stay afloat, it must be as safe as the Bank of England.
Trying to upgrade their products while keeping them trendy, entrepreneurs can resort to some wacky ideas. This can lead to them harming the business instead of improving it. The latest trend that people in the tech world can’t stop talking about is undoubtedly blockchain technology, the reason being that it is supposedly the securest way to store and transfer data.
Here at K&C, we believe that security is a long-term investment, which includes how you perform your talent acquisition, what type of quality assurance process is chosen, and how it’s maintained on a daily basis. If each of these elements is well implemented, then we believe your business can continue to thrive, without needing to employ overhyped technologies.
The all mighty Wikipedia defines Quality Assurance (QA) as “a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers.”
Techopedia has a slightly different interpretation, suggesting that this is a process of verifying whether a product meets the required specifications and customer expectations.
Each definition is correct, as, in the end, the final goal of any QA test is to provide a quality working product.
Giving part, or a full version of the final product to someone who has not been involved in development, allows them to test it as an end-user would. This can garner helpful reactions and feedback.
Checking a product at every stage of its development is a great way to make sure time and money are not wasted. It is always better to correct a few small mistakes than to start from scratch in search of a bug that led to a faulty product.
Quality Assurance isn’t about criticizing the work of developers but helping them reflect on their work. This is essential for every creative employee if they intend to stay productive. Only through a detailed QA process can a tech specialist understand where they are excelling, and what they need to pay more attention to in order to improve.
With all staff responsible for quality, this can help the firm gain marketing advantages, due to greater consistency in the standard of work produced.
Education. At the moment, many people who want to work in the field of IT have no technical education. Companies are usually quite flexible in this regard. However, if your firm has strict standards regarding employment, then you should search among the alumni of tech faculties.
Hard skills. The right QA specialist has to have a basic knowledge of the theory of testing. At the very least they should be able to answer questions such as: What is testing and what is it for? What are the different types of testing? What is a bug, and what is its life cycle? What documentation is used for testing? Along with this, it is appreciated if the candidate develops him/herself by reading specialized literature and embracing programing language, as well as HTML, SQL, CSS.
Soft skills. A good QA analyst has to be able to communicate - the quality of communication in the development team directly affects the quality of the software being created. If this person is attentive to detail, diligent, responsible able to work with abstractions, then you’ll know you have found an ideal candidate.
To give you an idea of how the QA process works if you reach out to an IT company, we will give you an example using the approach of the K&C team.
Step 1. Defining expected results
If you come to an IT company to outsource development and QA services, the first question you’ll hear will be, “what exactly would you like to see in the end?” If you um and ah, be prepared to get a product as the developer sees it, rather than one that reflects your own vision.
Step 2. Defining the most significant activities
It can be defining a test plan and a test strategy, for example. These activities will determine the following steps and will influence the way the QA analyst will achieve test objectives.
Step 3. Discussing project coverage
At this stage, a project manager will present you with checklists and test case documentation. Don’t be afraid to hear that the company can’t give you a 100% successful test case guarantee. That’s life — remember that there are always time limitations, project difficulties, or lack of people, but hopefully not all three!
Step 4. Choosing a testing approach
Currently, there is a relatively large number of different approaches to testing, each with its own starting points, duration of execution and techniques used at each stage. The choice between them can be quite a difficult task. For that reason, always ask the outsourcing company to make clear why one or another approach was chosen.
You may ask why the following actions should be performed and in this particular order. In this model, every part of the given process guarantees the next step.
If implemented well, the first stage minimizes improvement costs if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Furthermore, improved documentation means a higher quality project for a lower labor input and more accurate estimates. The third step helps to check whether the solution is developed properly from a technical standpoint, and meets the initial product owner’s requirements. The fourth step gives you a clear overview of the improvement process. Each issue gets a priority level from urgent to low-priority, which the development team then can resolve based on the time and personnel available.
Although every step is crucial, it is possible to skip some of them depending on the project’s specificity. Such steps as Review of Requirements or Test planning/writing test cases are mostly used in complex, long-term projects and/or more complex industries like healthcare or logistics, where the extra time spent on documentation is worth it when considering the costs an error can generate. For projects limited by time and budget, it is better to spend time on stabilizing and polishing software, rather than producing copious documents and scrupulous test planning.
We hope this article shed some light on the role a good QA specialist can play in your team. The last thing we want to advise you when working with a QA analyst is to stay patient. Not everything can be tested in a day or two.