Top 5 QA practices to make your testing more efficient

Software testing is used to evaluate the product and understand whether it really meets the declared functionality.

The quality assurance (QA) process for software testing provides the product owner with information about the project status and whether all the requirements have been taken into account during the development process.

In this article, we'll outline the best QA practices to make your software testing process way more efficient. 

1. Make sure QA processes are planned and documented

Test planning includes activities aimed at determining the main test objectives and the tasks that must be performed to achieve these goals.

During the planning process, you need to make sure that the goals and wishes of the customer were understood correctly and the level of risk was assessed objectively. Once you achieve this, you can proceed with setting goals and objectives for the testing itself.

To ensure the effective planning for QA processes, good documentation is a must. Which types of documents support the whole QA process? Let’s look through the most important ones.

Test policy: Test Policy is a high-level document that describes the principles, approaches and main goals of the company in the field of testing.

Test strategy: Test Strategy is a high-level document that describes test levels and approaches to testing within those levels. Operates at the company or program level (one or more projects).

Test plan: Test Plan is a document that describes the tools, approaches, schedule, and resources required to conduct testing. Among other things, it defines the testing tools, the functionality to be tested, the distribution of roles in the team, the test environment, the test design techniques used, the criteria for starting and ending testing, and risks. That is, this is a detailed description of the entire testing process.

2. Combine automated and manual testing 

Automated and manual testing have different goals. Autotests cannot completely replace manual testing, but they can be used to save time when performing a large number of repetitive tasks. Automated testing is necessary in complex projects with long development cycles, implementation of CI / CD practices and a limited number of testers. Manual testing takes more time, but allows development teams to test the website or application from the user's point of view, as well as the overall functioning of the system.

Only a combination of these two types of testing helps to achieve high standards in terms of product functionality and usability, expand testing coverage and find bugs that were not automatically detected.

3. Use Shift Left testing

The sooner you find errors, the less resources you will spend on fixing them. This is the main idea of the Shift Left testing approach. Under this approach, testing is pushed toward the early stages of software development. 

As a result, QA engineers can clearly understand the requirements, software architecture and develop test cases already at the initial stage, and it becomes possible to fix all failures as early as possible. This understanding allows testers to gain the complete knowledge of the product, analyze and design various scenarios that will help the whole team identify defects even before the coding is done.

4. Prioritize bug fixes

New releases are often accompanied with new bugs to be fixed. 

To understand which bugs need to be fixed first, develop a prioritization system. Choose a scale based on the severity, frequency, impact level, or other attributes of errors that are most relevant to your project.

A good practice is to leverage data to make the right decision. Let’s illustrate this with the following example. One area of an app is used rarely, while another one gets hundreds of daily interactions with end users. In this case, a bug found in the first part of the code will get a lower priority than a bug found in the second part of the code. The same can be applied to browsers - for example, if an issue is found when using a browser preferred by less than 1% of users, this issue will get lower priority.

5. Apply risk-based testing approach 

To ensure the proper quality of software, it is better to conduct not only classical testing according to the given parameters, but also to carry out check ups based on real risks.

For such tests, it is worth choosing the most risky moments of the logic of the software being developed. This tactic allows you to foresee all negative scenarios of the software product's behavior and as quickly as possible to implement all the business goals set by the client.

There are two types of risks:

1. Product risks 

These risks include product vulnerabilities, threats, data loss, and other kinds of risks. Product risks can be managed or unmanaged.

An example of a managed product risk is the rapid growth and complexity of functionality, which increases the likelihood of defects in stable parts of the system. As a solution, there is a clear test base and subsequent automation. 

Unmanaged risks include those aspects that we cannot influence - dependence on external systems; their failure in the integration process. Nevertheless, you can still get prepared by planning your actions to reduce the impact of risks on the whole system. The possible solutions include using a backup, handling exceptional cases, displaying warnings for a user, etc.

2. Project risks

This group includes the following risks:

  • Incomplete assessment of labor costs for the project / testing; 
  • The test plan is not tied to the project plan; 
  • Dismissal / illness of employees.

Among the possible solutions to mitigate project risks are regular reviews and audits; attracting a QA specialist to work on a specific risk. The main thing to remember is that most of the project-level risks can be tackled by the collaborative efforts of the testing, development, and project management teams.

Summary

There were the top QA practices that will definitely make your software testing more efficient. Following these practices will prevent “messy” testing by keeping the workflow clear and organized. This will consequently help you save hours of time and shorten the development cycles.

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