Quality Assurance (QA) is a field that is involved or should be involved in all parts of the project. Historically, testers were only there to find issues in the products. However, the QA field has evolved with advanced technologies, introducing various testers: manual, automation, performance, and many more.
Even with all the advancements in technologies, a common perception regarding testers is that they are only limited to testing a product and checking if the functionality works as explained to them. There are many more layers when it comes to quality assurance aside from just testing.
It is a deeply rooted myth that testers only do testing throughout their life and nothing else. Manual testers do the same clicks manually, and the Automation engineers only create test scripts for regression testing and play no other roles in the organization.
Any SQA testing flows in the following steps:
- The testers will carry out testing
- Scripts are automated to speed up regression testing
- The created tests are maintained
Testers aren't just limited to the flow mentioned above. In fact, testers play a major role in the product process – The planning, the development and the maintenance. Usually, the new roles defined under the titles of Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Engineer, Quality Control Engineer, Software Development Engineer in Test and others handle the overall responsibilities that arise in the SQA field.
Your SQA Engineers – Your In-house Experts
Software these days is usually complex and tends to be scalable. These typically mean that only the product owners may have a holistic view of the whole system, and sometimes, they may not have the whole scaled image in their minds.
Normally, the system is divided into different modules and may be worked on by different developers. The developers will primarily only have knowledge of the modules they work on and the modules that depend on them. If it's a large-scale project, back-end developers may not know what the full system looks like from the front-end perspective or how the other non-dependent modules work, which may cause a gap from the expected product.
However, the involvement of SQAs is needed in the entire project (preferably right from the start). They must be informed and updated about the modules and their workflow to test the product properly. Thus, they will have more knowledge regarding the overall progress and the current state of the entire product.
In addition, performing usability and user acceptance testing will help the testers gain knowledge of all the "know-how". They can give more insights on what is lacking, what could be improved and what to add for its growth, on top of ensuring the software is verified and validated to the user requirements.
Your SQA, AKA your in-house expert!
Hidden Skills of SQA Engineers
Testing any product extends from functionality to performance, security vulnerability, reliability, stability, and ensuring the specified requirements are met. Furthermore, a product cannot become successful if the end users cannot connect with it, and SQA engineers can perfectly bridge this gap in-between the two parties. After all, what is a product good for if it doesn't satisfy any consumer? The skill of SQA to act as both the user and the product owner serves a vital role in producing a better product and experience.
Identifying Product Gaps
As mentioned above, SQA engineers should be involved in the project initially. This will lead to them knowing the intended product in-depth and assist the team in closing any gap with the actual product. As SQA Engineers, this helps us gather insights into user experience and usability testing, greatly decreasing the gap between the expected and actual products. In addition, insights from an SQA engineer will help smoothen the final product and ensure quality.
Simply moving the testing process to an earlier point of project development will help identify various issues and any flaws in the logic of the product. Sometimes, issues behind the implementation logic stay hidden unless implemented in the project itself. Introducing quality assurance in the earlier phase will help determine potential business logic issues. SQA Engineers can also help provide insights from the user side, thus perfecting the user flow from the beginning.
Exploring the product from the user's perspective can give a wide view of user insights, such as which button is less accessible, which feature was hidden from the normal user until being prompted of its existence and many more. Furthermore, performing exploratory testing is a fun way to detect edge cases hiding in the product. Exploratory testing is always a cherry on top of the testing process, especially when hidden bugs can be detected.
Better Quality Practices
Even though the basic foundation line for testers is to test the product, they should not be limited to one part of the job. Not only should there be no wall between the manual and automation testers, but there should also be no gap between the developers and the testers. They should be involved in the overall scope of the project. Utilizing the hidden potential of the SQA department will unleash a new level of quality for your product.
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