Integrating QA testing throughout the build process allows developers to resolve issues early, resulting in more efficient product development and launch.
With the increasing variety of technical products and services utilized by people on a daily basis, ensuring products deliver and operate properly has become vital. Integrating testing early and often in the development process allows developers to mitigate issues and adjust designs throughout the build, resulting in more successful product development.
Importance of Software Testing
Software testing is an investigative process that evaluates and ensures the quality of a product before it goes to market. During the testing process, a series of assessments, validations*, and verifications** determine the product’s quality state, and stakeholders provide feedback regarding development changes that need to be made. Software testing for quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) requires a working knowledge of the technical aspects of development and an understanding of the business drivers and strategy behind the product.
Technical ecosystems require that new products and applications operate smoothly for all users, including customers, suppliers, and systems integrators. Stakeholders must ensure that products deliver on the service they claim to provide in order to realize return on their investments, and the growing human dependency on technology is such that many products are critical for users to maintain their way of life. Testing is the part of the process that uncovers any kinks or issues that may ultimately lead to user dissatisfaction and cost stakeholders to lose money.
Integrating Software Testing
With the large variety of available products that are embedded into our daily lives and activities, testing frequently and consistently across multiple platforms is becoming more imperative to a product’s success. The rigid processes employed by the classic Waterfall method are increasingly being replaced by Agile approaches. Continuous testing done at frequent intervals allows changes to be made rapidly in the midst of development. Software testing should begin early in the development process, and continue through each progression and iteration of the product.
Rather than applying user and stakeholder feedback at the end of the development cycle, small and constant batches of testing allow developers to adapt and implement changes without losing control of the build. The added agility often means that code changes and solutions are less complicated the earlier they are addressed, saving development teams time, cutting costs for stakeholders, and increasing speed to market.
Finding Success Integrating Testing
In order to integrate software testing effectively at a company, QA teams require a deep understanding of the company goals and business strategy. Testing procedures and goals should align with those of the business in order to provide effective products and to deliver on stakeholder expectations. Additionally, QA teams should have technical knowledge on both the software development and business levels.
Software testing requires a working knowledge of the development, design, and architectural procedures involved in developing a new product. Testers need to be able to communicate their findings to technical developers in a way that allows them to quickly pinpoint and rectify the issue. Further, testers must have an understanding of the business aspects of the project, including project management processes, business analysis, and metrics designs. Guiding product development and testing to meet business goals is critical for project success.
Trends Impacting Integration in Development
The QA community recognizes that delivering reliable products alone is not enough, and that testing needs to be constant and fast. In response to this demand and along with the nascent maturity of artificial intelligence (AI), automated test frameworks have become commonplace in many development processes. An automated test framework is a set of guidelines and practices meant to streamline testing for QA teams. Automated features require minimum maintenance or interference, simplifying the testing process, reducing manual labor required, and ultimately cutting costs.
Another trend driving the need for integrated testing is the growing practice of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD). Development teams and QA professionals alike are consistently moving toward more Agile methods where code can be changed frequently and efficiently throughout development. CI/CD allows for integrating frequent development changes during the creation and after the launch of new software or applications, and it needs to be supported by a robust integrated testing process to deliver reliable products to users.
*Validation answers the question: Does the product meet the user requirement?
**Verification answers the question: Is the developed feature working properly?