Are you planning to create an application, and find it crucial to ensure its smooth and reliable work? Then, you should never neglect one of the most critical parts of the software development team - Quality Assurance specialist. Who is QA, what’s their role in app development and why is it so important?
QA in the software development process
Creating software is not a piece of cake. There are many logical pitfalls, business requirements (which may change over time) and technical challenges. Quality Assurance is a kind of a bridge between business requirements and technical team. QA will be present at every stage of software development, to make sure that we will meet the company standards.
At AppUnite we’re trying to be not only a technical team, but also a business partner, so we’ll put an extra effort to share our experience with clients, and make sure that app features make sense and are designed correctly.
As most of the IT companies, we’re working in agile, where QA is an integral part of the software development team. We’re all actively involved in delivering features to complete the project as per client’s requirements, with quality and reliability standards. Quality Assurance will proactively address issues and try to find potential bugs during development, to make sure that it will be in the best form, when it will go live.
As you can see, QA in software development is much more than testing. In fact, it’s a complex set of skills, actions and measures implemented in the software life cycle, in order to prevent bugs and ensure the right software quality.
Responsibilities of QA team
To begin with good practices, taking care of app quality is a responsibility of a whole team, but there are at least a few reasons why it should not be assigned only to developers.
The main one is that developers specialize in… software development. They are capable of preparing excellent code, but software testing requires a slightly different skill set. As we’re focusing on finding gaps and defects, it’s easier to find more scenarios where something could go wrong. Also, programmers may lack the perspective that is necessary for QA testing. As they are familiar and maybe even sentimental about their code, they may overlook some little details and mistakes and not be able to look critically at their own work. This is why you definitely need a third party to double-check your application.
For instance, at AppUnite, we have a dedicated QA testing team with a wide scope of responsibilities. Quality Assurance engineers are an integral part of the software development crew and are involved in the projects from a very early stage. They perform a variety of tasks including:
- collecting requirements
- proposing improvements and adjustments during the production stage
- writing project documentation
- preventing failures
- monitoring the development process
- identifying risks
- re-testing fixes
- creating bug reports
- managing and educating developers and other team members in terms of quality-related issues, tasks and tools
- reviewing the final product
This approach allows us to assure that the produced software will meet quality standards and all set requirements.
Benefits of Quality Assurance
Why is QA important? We have already discussed it briefly, but in case you would like to mull over this topic, here you are.
As you are already aware, bugs appear at every stage of the development process. If they are not detected and removed on time, they can cumulate and cause severe consequences to the entire software. This is why QA in software development should be treated as one of the top priorities and integrated at the early stage of the process.
What are the benefits of QA in software development? Well-implemented Software Quality Assurance positively influences aspects such as app performance, extensibility, usability and security. To provide you with more details, let’s name but a few of them:
The rule is pretty simple: the sooner you will detect bugs, the faster you will be able to remove them. This is why it’s so important to integrate Quality Assurance at every stage of the software development process.
Analogically, early detected bugs are much cheaper to remove. Moreover, early error detection will mitigate the risk of rebuilding the software after errors cumulate and will make it impossible to continue development.
The compliance with software requirements is undoubtedly a relief and the security that the product will deliver value to both founders as well as to users brings a huge comfort to the entire software development team.
Great product quality
To put it simply, Quality Assurance leads to developing a stable, reliable product meeting market and industry standards and working as intended. With such an asset, you will be able to satisfy customers and build competitive advantage.
A well-optimized, bug-free app will be much easier to scale. Once you don’t have to deal with errors and technical failures, you will be able to head in the right strategic direction, focus on reaching a bigger audience and develop new functionalities important to your users.
Obviously, the bugged app can immediately decrease customer satisfaction and ruin your reputation as a software provider. Then, never stop your Quality Assurance in the software life cycle. A well-optimized, bug-free, attractive app will help you gain users’ interest and build your market position.
Costs of Quality Assurance
And last but not least: how does QA testing influence the costs of software development?
As we said at the beginning of the article, testers, as a part of an agile team, will be present at every stage of the software development process. The thing is, that the sooner we find a bug, the less expensive it will be. Let’s imagine that we skipped some scenario in our requirements, or there's a logic gap. QA will be there to point it out before we’ll start working on it. In other cases, this bug can be found after release and cause some issues for final users, or just (in a better scenario) take more time to discover this issue and money to change some part of the code that has already been done and fix it.
As we already know that this process helps to save time and money, let’s look at a few examples that prove this thesis. Here are the most famous and expensive software mistakes:
- In 1998, NASA lost the Mars orbiter due to a trivial software error caused by the inaccuracy of metrics. The orbiter’s software sent all the data in metric units, while it was later on processed in imperial units. It generated a loss of 125 million USD.
- In 1988, the Morris Worm led to a crash of several computers. The infected software designed to detect vulnerabilities in security systems was copied in an uncontrolled way and overloaded the processors. The final result was the damage of 6000 devices and a loss of 100 million USD.
- In March 2008, due to inefficient testing of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 software, the system failed. As a result, thousands of pieces of luggage remained at the terminal after the flights left, and over 500 flights within 10 days got canceled. The cost of the error amounted to 50 million USD.
- In January 1990, customers of AT&T company reported that they couldn’t place long-distance calls. The reason for that was a software bug that caused switches every time a client tried to make a call. The overall cost for the company was around 60 million USD.
As you can clearly see, the impact of software mistakes on costs can be significant. This means that Quality Assurance is not only about fixing bugs, but a strategic investment that will surely pay off in the long term.
If you wish your software to be not only bug-free but reliable, reputable and scalable, it’s a must to integrate QA in the software development process. And the sooner you will do it, the better - preventing bugs and searching for the most efficient ways for software development at the earliest stages of the process are simply invaluable.
If you’re searching for a team of specialists that could support you in this challenge, feel free to contact us. With our highly qualified Quality Assurance team, we will lead to you producing a top-quality product that will satisfy your customers and stakeholders.