One of the most difficult parts of software architecture is quality assurance planning. Brian Foote and Joseph Yoder said “If you think a good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture.” Poor development and testing workflows will result in slow progress, high costs and an unusable product.
You need to consider quality assurance planning in combination with the entire project planning as it dramatically impacts scheduling, cost, labor, and other factors. A project is more prone to carry a high risk of dis-satisfactory outcomes and unhappy clients without strong quality assurance planning.
Components of a QA plan
There are many tests to be run throughout your software development process. In our previous blog post Software Testing Basics we already listed out 7 different testing approaches for different scenarios. Today we will talk about what needs to be planned for the most effective use of those tests.
Functional testing is mainly about checking source codes and code coverage. So first you must provide the testers to have full access to the codes. It is also necessary to be very specific about what to test and what the expected outcome is.
Because you can expect a large amount of bugs to be uncovered, you should plan on how to file and communicate the issues. Where to log the bugs, how to label and categorize them, how to follow up the issue with the testers?
Testing the performance of your software and ensuring that it works as expected and can stand up to heavy usage tend to take time and be kind of tedious. Luckily this process can be automated by some tools. To save time and costs, you and your team should do research in advance to employ the right tools.
It is best practice to get fresh pairs of eyes to try out the UI/UX of your new product. Planning questions, formats and even how to get external testers can all take longer than you expected if not prepared in advance. You want to create a real-world environment to really see if your product is usable from the end user’s perspective.
You may want to outsource the testing process or get some tools to make it tests more pleasant and more accurate for your testers.
Last but not least, it is important to confirm that your software is free of vulnerabilities that might compromise your consumer’s sensitive data. And in order to do that, understanding the outside environment and the laws of your operating country or state is mandatory.
Each of the QA testing methods outlined above should be integrated into your development projects. By combining the most important testing methods into a single strategy, businesses can increase the odds of success during their next software rollout.
“Quality assurance activities are actions that a team assures for quality and outcomes so that SOP’s and productions are implemented accordingly for an assigned project.”Savannah Lynn, Head Of Quality Control Unit, Premium Jackets
How Google and Facebook do Quality Assurance Planning
Conventionally, Google and Facebook have employees to write codes to test and control quality. Now, both organizations have emphasis on making quality testing as their cultural and moral value in the company’s vision and mission.
At Google, there is a team of API developers who work with engineering teams to improve quality by giving feedback and reviewing API designs along with test features. They have engineers who don’t fear to test every aspect of their software critically.
Same goes for Facebook as it has an entire team of engineers to make necessary testing procedures and submit an analysis report. They manage source codes, automate builds and regression testing and monitor software deployments.
Both of the companies use the same approach that is now carried out by many startups. Hence, they are doing prominent wonder and users are much satisfied as well.
Reasons to focus on Quality Assurance Planning
You know the value and importance of quality assurance, but just simply doing it would not bring you the best results. Designing and reforming the process is just as crucial. Here are the top reasons why the planning your QA, regardless what size of your team or company, will make your actual workflow more successful.
1) Setting standards
It helps to determine the scope of process measurements, metrics, and individuals’ responsibility. It should define and implement the constants of product testing, bug reports, user acceptance, or other measures. Without standardizing, projects can be derailed with different interpretations of determining the acceptable quality of projects and processes.
2) S.M.A.R.T. benchmarks
Despite the process and project is short term or long term, quality assurance planning includes benchmarks. These S.M.A.R.T. (S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Assignable, R=relevant, T=Time-based) parameters can serve a massive area of analysis to keep projects on course. As well as to identify problems early by measuring to benchmark for each component on various scales in time. These analyses let project management know if the quality of materials, machines, and artistry is damaged before it is converted to an end product or service.
3) Responsibility delegation
An effective DevTest plan should enable the team to have a balanced responsibility to development and testing.
A sense of responsibility and accountability helps to mitigate risks. Like the above case studies from Google and Facebook, each developer has the duty to conduct tests to their own work.
4) Cost control
A cost vs. benefit analysis is conducted to determine the incremental improvements that affect the bottom line for revenue. In the competitive digital world, it is essential to measure the software performances to eliminate rework and cost of remapping. We can save the overall cost of appraisal, anomalies correction and pilot testing. Software can be developed to meet demands with corrective measure. Hence, assuring quality during the development of a product assures cost and time saving.
5) Gets reviews for improvements
After creating a successful quality management plan, it is recommended to set implementation for a periodic study to check the area for improvements. This may include correction and growth as two critical elements to ensure quality work management system. It elaborates the ways of how to handle corrective measures when a process goes wrong and to prevent recurrences. Moreover, it helps to establish performance against determined goals. After that, these objectives and goals have been reviewed. It is often difficult to take stock of the situation and make adjustments when it is not included in planning.
6) Clarifies TQM activities
Once the objective of communicating an implemental quality assured development process is achieved, the next step is to determine what and how to meet those standards without adding efforts to the software. To meet the TQM (total quality management) objectives consistently, the next step to get things to standardize is to carry out the development. This can be done through upgraded methods that define the processes best practices to carry out the SOPs to save data metrics.
7) Sets priorities and goals
The most essential aspect of a quality assurance system plan is to support priorities and goal setting.
Clearly communicated project mission facilitate the goals of an organization and client that enables informed priority setting tasks. Once it is clear to everyone that what is required in a product or an app, and then they know what they should be doing to make them as per instructions and what can be put off.
QA Methods and Tools
How you decide to architect your quality assurance plan is up to your company goals and team structure. It should not be a rigid set of checklists, in fact you are creating a culture for QA. Allow your team to enjoy the process by keeping it engaging and empowering.
You should also be on the lookout for modern tools to support your workflows. Always ask yourself: “is there a faster and smarter way?”
Some examples here to shed light on you. For user acceptance tests you can install Usersnap’s visual feedback tool to your staging environment. It helps testers to capture screenshots and make annotations to illustrate bugs and suggestions all within the product. This will make your process less tedious and more streamlined.
For functional and performance testing, you can consider ways to automate it. When you see your developers constantly updating the same or similar unit, that’s an obvious sign to think about test automation.
In a nutshell, a good quality assurance plan clearly defines every step of when, how and why to incorporate the tests. It helps to put every member of the team to work on the same page towards the same objective. Also, it defines and standardizes the procedures to keep you running with the same pace every time and save you from surprise hassles.
If you know where you are going, any road will get you there. That’s the real benefit of a quality management plan.
John William is a passionate writer that has worked with many reputable I.T organizations. He keeps himself updated with the latest tech trends and loves to communicate his learning to his readers. Currently, he is working as a Technical Writer at Australian Master, Educator House and King Essay UK.