There are a lot of variables to make any web, mobile or software project successful. From product strategy to market research, development to ongoing support, a company must make sure all phases of the product life cycle are covered. While QA may not have as much buzz as some of the other steps in the process, testing an application before its launch is crucial. Think about every time an app launches and fails from a technical standpoint – it dominates the headlines and the organization behind the launch must cover for its failure. That’s why the quality of your QA process is so important.
The goal of every QA team is to allow the product team to release a bug-free application, but not all QA processes are created equal. What follows is a list of 4 principles you should look for out of any QA process to ensure the smoothest launch possible.
1 – Make sure you have the right tools
Just like any other process, having the right tools is essential for a QA project. The goal is to find the tools that allow you to work as efficiently as possible with the QA team. This will include applications to manage test requirements, budget, scheduling and of course, bug tracking.
The size of your team and the length of your project will affect which bug tracking tool makes the most sense. Oftentimes a QA partner will work with a variety of tools and make an evaluation based on your requirements as to which one best fits your project. In a recent post, we listed various bug trackers that can be used on a project, including tools for desktop software, websites and mobile applications.
Being able to track your QA team’s time and schedule is also crucial to having a successful test run. It’s important for you to have insight into how the test team is spending its time, so ensure that you have email updates or a client portal that allows you to have regular hours updates. At PLUS QA, we are always evaluating the best tools we can use to track time.
When it comes to managing test cases or requirements, it is possible that larger companies may have their own solution, but many firms look to the QA team for its expertise. Sometimes software is necessary, but often a Google or Word document is sufficient to write a test plan. For test cases, there are many different test case management solutions (such as TestRail, TestLodge, or Bug Hopper) but the easiest and quickest to use remains the spreadsheet. If you keep your test scenarios up to date it’s probably one of the best solutions to write and execute test cases.
2 – Define a process and methodology
It’s essential to define a methodology and test strategy before starting testing. Before beginning on a project, you will want to know what the test schedule will be, your primary point of contact on the QA team, how the QA team will work on daily basis and the workflow for bug reporting and resolution. Work with your QA team to define what works best for you so bugs can be reported to your development team in the most efficient manner.
You will also want to determine which devices and browsers need coverage for your project. Oftentimes your QA team will be able to provide a recommendation on the most used devices and platforms, but if dealing with a web testing project, it’s always good to take a look in your Google Analytics to see how your customers interact with your website as this can influence which platforms are a priority. For app projects, make sure you have a tool that can distribute your app to the test team rather easily.
3 – Manage time smartly
When we say manage time smartly, what we mean is to make sure the right kind of testing is used on your project.There are different kinds of QA testing and each fills a different purpose. Resolution testing refers to the act of checking previous bug fixes, while smoke testing means to test all basic features of an app to ensure it is ready for more in-depth assessment. For some projects, you will need to do a full test of the app after updates to ensure it is still compatible with the changes. This is called regression testing. Other types of testing include accessibility and usability testing.
It’s important to have clear directions on which kind of testing needs to be completed on your application. Make sure the development, product and QA teams are in alignment on which kind of testing is needed.
4 – Communicate effectively
All teams need to find a way to communicate effectively. This is no different for a QA project. It is important to make sure you have regular communication with the QA team. This can come in the form of daily or weekly project updates, in-person or virtual meetings, or even messaging apps such as Slack. It’s also a good idea to inquire with the QA team about its internal communication methods. Speak with the project manager to make sure that the teams have dedicated communication channels and central repositories for project information. You can also make sure you’re plugged into other tools like Jira to ensure of timely updates on the testing progress.
Having a successful QA project takes the right combination of tools, processes and people. Make sure that well before your app is ready to launch you are thinking about ways to ensure your launch is bug-free and that ongoing support of your product includes regular QA testing. Keep lines of communication open so that you can continue to work effectively and efficiently with your QA team on a long-term basis. By following these principles, you’ll be able to ensure ongoing success so that bugs are found ahead of time and resolved quickly.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about our QA process, contact us.