A project is not successful just because it is completed on time and budget. There is another factor that is critical to success: quality.
No matter how quickly and cheaply the project is completed, stakeholders will not be satisfied if product or service quality does not meet their expectations. So how can you track the quality of a project and make sure it meets stakeholder requirements? Quality assurance, here’s how.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is a way to avoid errors in a project’s product or service and avoid stakeholder problems. This section of quality management focuses on maintaining the integrity of the product or service, which gives stakeholders confidence that their quality requirements will be met. It is, therefore, a fundamental pillar of project management.
Principles of quality assurance
There are two principles of quality assurance. One is “fit for purpose,” meaning that the product or service meets its intended purpose. The second is “right the first time,” in which any errors are immediately corrected.
Given the two principles above, the goal is to ensure that the product or service runs properly by managing the project variables. To achieve this, quality assurance covers the quality management of products and components, production-related services, and the management, production, and control process.
A history of quality assurance
Quality assurance is not a new concept. Evidence can be found in the Middle Ages when guilds maintained the quality of their members’ goods and services by setting guild membership standards.
Quality control obligations were also imposed on members of the royal family, such as the maintenance of their warships. They also helped to standardize naval training and supplies to ensure maximum safety for long sea voyages.
The industrial revolution has also revolutionized quality assurance. Employees were no longer solely responsible for the quality of their work. Systems and groups specialized in quality assurance have been set up, and the power of supervisors and management has been given to oversee the work.
Quality assurance 101
Once upon a time, the quality was strictly related to the manufacturing industry. Hence the term “quality control” – the aim was to identify and reject defective products at the assembly plant before reaching the consumer. On the other hand, Quality Assurance takes an entirely different approach: it focuses on preventing defects and improving software quality from the early stages of the development process.
Quality Assurance is all about creating the best possible product for the customers. Think of it as checking for errors, weaknesses, and points of failure multiple times. This is done by testing and monitoring the software continuously and pushing its boundaries in different directions. In this way, companies can reveal valuable information that leads to higher quality products.
The secret ingredient that makes quality assurance processes valuable is its “human factor.” Quite different from code-based testing, which is usually more linear and predictable, quality assurance engineers’ role is to anticipate what the user might do creatively. Even if it is outside the application’s goals, you can never really know what the user will do with it until it happens. Ultimately, this reduces downtime and errors in the end product while providing a much better user experience.
Broadly speaking, QA testing can be broken down into two main branches:
Functional Testing: In this type of test, engineers verify that all systems are operating as expected. Each component must function as intended, and all data processing should happen correctly.
Performance Testing: This serves a larger creative part of testing, where engineers run the software in different situations to see how it works. Standard metrics include response and transaction times, quantitative testing, and stress testing.
Implementation of the Quality Assurance process
Since your development team is skilled and knowledgeable, the scope of quality assurance extends further than they do. Software developers already know the software inside out, what each function does, and its performance. They are preconditioned to expect some experience.
How could this be harmful to testing your application? Well, making them linked to “creator prejudices,” inextricably. Working with someone else, especially if they are highly qualified for the task, should introduce a much more comprehensive and broad software approach.
Again, to clarify: software developers are not quality assurance engineers. You’ll find that these two parties have entirely split the work into two different departments into large development companies. Their workflow and communication are dictated by tracking tools that measure progress at all stages of development. However, most companies cannot afford to have both departments in place, making outsourcing the most cost-effective solution.
The value of outsourcing quality assurance and testing services is likely higher than at any other software development stage. Why? Because solving problems (and finding problems) takes perspective. To achieve the best results, QA needs to be as comprehensive as possible. Whether you are reaching out for QA and testing services or doing it all by yourself, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to get the most out of your QA implementation.
The early and ongoing integration
Regardless of the size of a project, quality control delivers the best results when integrated adequately into the development teams’ workflow. Ideally, testing should begin as soon as a functional prototype is available and will evolve with product development.
Running an adapted quality control process is much better than running general operations out of focus – more is not always better. Each software product has particular testing needs that must follow specific goals that provide value to the project. Still, it’s best to run as many quality tests as possible.
Take advantage of automation
Machine algorithms are our best allies to keep everything running smoothly. In the past, quality assurance tasks were somewhat manual, but now automated tasks are incredibly efficient and excellent at producing higher quality results in shorter time frames.
Nobody sees the future, but anyone can prepare for it. An excellent quality assurance process anticipates the most likely (and sometimes the most unlikely) scenarios to maximize both scalability and project flexibility.
Measure and learn
Measuring the performance and results of the quality control process is the only way to get the results you want. Any quality assurance process should focus on gathering quality information, identifying key indicators, and strategically using them to influence all software decisions.
The only way to prioritize QA testing is to implement it throughout your overall product development strategy. Even in cases where companies lack in-house staff or access to the time and resources needed to conduct comprehensive QA testing, outsourcing to a reputed QA services company is the ideal solution to access all the benefits of quality assurance through specialized professionals.