What does the Software Quality Assurance process entail?
In a rapidly growing digital landscape built on complex software applications, system software suites, state-of-the-art hardware systems, networks, and internet technologies, the customers have become very demanding. The demand is for quality products with attributes such as speed, security, cost-effectiveness, usability, and convenience. Software quality assurance is the process to evaluate these attributes by testing software applications based on a set of parameters. It majorly tests whether the software application under development fulfills all criteria that the initial plan entailed. A QA software testing process validates the functioning of all processes, modules, methods, work items, and activities as per pre-defined metrics. It also checks if the software application complies with the industry defined standards such as ISO 9000, CMMI, SOX, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS, among others.
The process of software quality assurance is comprehensive and entails the end-to-end lifecycle of the software development and delivery process. There may be situations when the software conforms to the explicit requirements but does not meet the implicit requirements. These situations are emblematic of suspected software quality and require the hiring of software quality assurance services for mitigation.
Objectives of quality assurance and testing
QA testing services follow the below-mentioned objectives:
- Ensure the software fully complies with the protocols and meets all quality parameters before delivery
- Customers should get a superior experience while browsing the software and using its various features and functionalities
- The software should be well-structured and understandable by any developer or tester
In a competitive business landscape where the requirement is for delivering quality products faster to the market, the software quality assurance process should be continuous. This entails the adoption of the agile way of software development wherein cross-functional teams work in tandem within a QA enabling culture. The other aspects of pursuing software quality assurance methods are implementing test automation and provisioning the requisite test environment.
What activities belong to the Software Quality Assurance process?
The software quality assurance testing process entails the following activities:
At the outset, the testing team along with other stakeholders prepares a test plan outlining the test activities to be performed. The activities typically include the identification of evaluations, the performance of audits and reviews, identifying the applicable standards, tracking and documenting the errors, and feedback offered to the development team.
Setting up the metrics:
The quality assurance and testing team identify and set up suitable metrics against which the quality of the application is evaluated. This helps in better monitoring and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the testing process as per its overall objective. The examples may include measuring the capacity, quality level, performance, design features, dimension, amount, or some other attributes of the software application.
Formal Technical Reviews (FTR):
This process evaluates the design and quality of the prototype. Here, the technical team is consulted about the software’s quality requirements to detect glitches early on in the SDLC. The FTR helps to reduce rework in the later phases and works as a quality control mechanism. The FTR verifies if the software application under test meets specific quality requirements as per predefined standards.
Setting up a multi-testing strategy:
This ensures the software quality assurance testing process is not dependent on a single testing approach. With a multiple-testing strategy, the software application is tested from various angles to achieve better quality. These include black-box and white-box testing, system testing, unit testing, regression testing, and acceptance testing, among others.
Here, a mix of manual and automated testing procedures is used to create a mechanism for change control. Through the validation of change control, the nature of change and its impact are evaluated to maintain software quality during the phases of development and maintenance. The change control activity determines the impact of change brought about by fixing a defect(s) and verifies whether the change is in accordance with the objectives of the project.
Reports and documentation:
The entire process of software quality assurance testing is documented and shared with the stakeholders for further analysis. The documented reports include test results, review reports, audit results, and change results, among others.
Software quality assurance is the lynchpin to achieve the success of the software product based on its adoption by the customers. It consists of several processes, activities, techniques, and standards, which determine if the software product aligns with the business objectives and performs to its desired level.