Have you ever used a product that you felt was buggy or sluggish? How'd that make you feel? There's nothing worse than getting your hopes up for the next up-and-coming app only to have them smashed by a buggy UI and sub-par customer support. When it comes to software testing, and the more encompassing concept of quality assurance, Indeema takes all the necessary steps to ensure our clients' confidence throughout the product lifecycle with our in-house QA team. Is there a way to work without a QA team? We'll explore the answer to this question and more.
How did testing come about and how is it done?
A short history lesson on software testing
In order to create a valued, sought-after product, an effective and efficient testing process is necessary. The difference between quality assurance, quality control and testing may be blurred, but this is the way we see it. Basically, quality assurance is the set of processes that are geared toward preventing bugs and making sure the end customer is satisfied. Quality control lays out the ways those bugs can be detected before the product is released. Last but not least, software testing is used to detect bugs.
The famous English art critic John Ruskin smartly said, “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” Like periods in the development of an artist's work, software testing has a long history:
- Pre-1956 is known as the debugging oriented period. During this period there was no clear distinction between testing and debugging.
- 1957-1978 was called the demonstration oriented period where the primary goal was to show that the software satisfied its specifications. Debugging and testing are now separate concepts.
- From 1979-1982 is known as the destruction oriented period. Here, the goal was to break down the code to find errors.
- 1983-1987 saw the arrival of the evaluation oriented period where the scope of testing was broadened to cover requirements, design, and implementation errors.
- From 1988 on the prevention oriented period has reigned supreme. In this period, the concept of preventing defects emerges.
Main software testing methodologies and techniques
Software testing today isn't what it was fifty years ago, because methodologies and techniques are constantly evolving and improving. Testing methodologies are sets of methods that are used to govern the process of software testing from A to Z. There are varying opinions on how exactly testing should be doneб but in any case, some form of functional and non-functional testing is always included in any methodology.
Functional testing is the process of testing software against the business requirement and specifications.
- Unit Testing – involves testing individual modules or components. This is important when the modules and functions are eventually combined.
- Integration Testing – This is the next step. Once the components of a software product are integrated they also need to be tested.
- System Testing – At this stage, the entire product is tested for bugs and errors. This includes using real-world conditions.
- Acceptance Testing – This is the final testing part and includes internal acceptance testing (alpha testing) and external user acceptance testing (beta testing).
Non-functional testing is the process of testing for non-functional qualities like:
- Performance Testing – Includes stress testing, load testing to make sure the software can perform well under expected loads. Failure points are also identified.
- Security Testing – Tests for vulnerabilities that can affect confidentiality and integrity of user data and the software code itself.
- Usability Testing – This step looks at the end-user aspect. This includes UI/UX.
- Acceptance Testing – A very important part of the testing process that identifies compatibility issues between operating systems, hardware configurations, web browsers and third-party programs (extensions, plugins). This step is extremely important in mobile development.
To test for all of the above, there are various methods, but the main three are:
- Black Box Testing – In this case, the person testing the software has no knowledge of how the system should work. Different inputs and test environments are used to simulate how a user would act and respond.
- White Box Testing – The opposite of black-box testing, the tester has in-depth knowledge of the inner workings and can identify where errors pop up in the code.
- Gray Box Testing – Is a mix between black and white-box testing. In this case, the tester has limited knowledge of the internal processes.
If the QA team is versed in programming and scripting, they can also write automated testing scripts to improve testing quality for monotonous testing. A computer program works best for some test cases because a human can miss something that a computer won’t.
Can a project be successful without a QA team?
So what's the big deal with bugs, errors and defects? Why do software companies go to such lengths to identify and fix most bugs in a product before it gets to the end user? Wouldn't it be easier to just let the users test the product and then go from there?
First of all, bugs are mistakes in the code that cause the software to behave strangely, not react at all, or cause some unwanted response. Because we're humans, we can't do away with mistakes altogether, which is why a solid QA team is so incredibly important.
Some small companies simply can't afford a QA team, so in their case, developers and/or users act as pseudo-QA “experts”. This approach is in our opinion inefficient for many reasons. A developer that checks his/her own work won't be as objective as someone dedicated to finding hiccups in code. Having a second or third set of eyes is invaluable and can save loads of time and heartache over the course of the product's lifecycle.
A QA team is essential in all stages of development
Can you imagine a house built without checking for quality work? What would be the point of inviting an expert to check the house after it's already built and changes can't be made to the overall picture? Software products are exactly the same. For your business venture to be successful, a QA team has to be integrated right from the planning stage. This way they can offer their input on UI/UX and identify problem areas that might arise in the future.
QA experts know the product from inside out, unlike anyone else on the team. They combine the technical angle and the user's point of view to form a unique opinion about how exactly it should all come together.
QA experts need to make sure everything is done by the book and by the specifications of the project. They take pride in finding, eliminating and preventing bugs and errors to raise the quality and confidence of clients and users. Apart from the planning stage and presence throughout the project, QA experts should also participate in sprint planning meetings and any meetings/discussions on development.
We've explored the history and methodologies that go into QA, and we've also shed light on the importance and invaluable nature of a QA team. Software testing is a fundamental part of the QA process and without it you can become bogged down or even have to stop the development process to take care of the impending crash and burn that could become of your prized idea. For quality assurance to have any meaning, you need to hire the best QA experts. They're ready and waiting to improve your product and offer criticism when others will just nod their head in agreement. We value our QA department because we believe the quality of our work and your success depends on it. Don't sell yourself short, take our advice and let us show you what quality is.