Testing a product and verifying its quality is an integral though in many cases not a primary step in a product’s life cycle. First, the team aims for their idea to simply take shape and be brought to life; then, you need to make sure that the technological creation has found a response from the target audience. Of course, testing should be carried out at least at some level, because without it the product will be completely raw. One thing is clear, the sooner your company starts regular quality control reviews, the better.
Why Implement QA Checks in General and Early Stages in Particular
In practice, testing is often carried out in parallel with the development process, for example, code review or prototyping and soft launch of games. However, many companies ignore testing as an activity that deserves a specialist or even an entire department. And the functions of testers are performed by the programmers themselves. Whether this is enough or not depends on the amount of work and the size of the startup. But you must admit, an extra pair of eyes can always find more errors, both aesthetic and critical. It’s the same as giving written material or translation for printing or reading without careful proofreading by the editor. Only in this case, the inoperability of certain features and user dissatisfaction are at stake.
The truth is that the modern user is very selective and spoiled by the presence of a large number of programs and applications. And it doesn’t matter if we are talking about a technological novelty or about online entertainment industry, video games, or online casino business with online gambling for real cash. User encounter with a bug or an inability to proceed with some actions can lead them to write a negative review and no longer give your product a second chance. You will have to blame yourself because, in fact, the developer has done their job, and the tester should also be involved in additional verification.
The issue of ensuring high quality should be raised already in the early stages so that the product has a smooth start, and does not tolerate evasions. You can understand whether you need to expand the QA team or you can get by with one specialist on the go – with a small budget, it is important to be flexible and at the same time strive to make the testing process meet the goals and requirements of the organization.
What Should QA Engineers Do?
So, the implementation of the important goal of quality assurance is entrusted to testers, or QA specialists/engineers. Unlike the text parallel mentioned above, it can be much more difficult to fix errors in a few clicks when working with a software product. Therefore, a good tester must identify weak points and, if possible, prevent the occurrence of defects in the future. In addition, their responsibilities include:
- development of testing strategy
- work with the product at all stages of creation and even after launch
- identifying inconsistencies, challenging developers
- coordinate their work with other departments
Some may think that the testing process is reduced to searching for bug reports, but this is not so. One of the functions of quality assurance specialists in the early stages is to collect and analyze product requirements: are they compatible, can the product satisfy user requests (validation).
After that, QA specialists move on to work on test planning and strategy development. The testing process should be clear, that is, have a test plan that will include a description of the testing environment, the expected results of the project, its scope and purpose. You will have to plan and specifically the steps that the tester will take to check the correct operation of the product – test cases serve for this.
Performing test cases will allow you to see in practice where there are gaps and errors and note in the report that such a check was carried out and this or that function was tested. The report on the results is then given to the developers or other specialists who did this work for them to make changes. Then, it is important to check everything again because the changes made could somehow lead to disruptions in the operation of other components.
Different Testing Approaches to Ensure a Comprehensive Result
In order for an IT product to work properly and be effective, it should be tested as a whole, as well as by component. Requirements testing and prototype testing should also be carried out in the early stages to determine how complete and logical the business approach to the product is and what its commercial prospects are.
Once you have a more detailed prototype, you should test it for usability and maximize this feature of the product. Isolated component testing allows you to make sure that each component, such as a module, works correctly. The tester places such a component in an artificially created environment and checks its functionality. Component testing allows you to avoid making deep system changes and fix the shortcomings of only the specifically tested module.
In turn, regression testing allows you to check the operability of the current version of the program in terms of compatibility of newly introduced amendments with previously working components and functions.
Being at the final stage of development, it is important for the team to make sure that:
- Software is resistant to high loads
- It is securely protected from hacking
- It is displayed correctly on different platforms and formats (cross-platform adaptability)
The work of a QA specialist on a project should not be chaotic and should start as early as possible – but in no case before the launch date itself. Testing is best when it is not rushed, but shows the best results when all steps are planned and logical relationships between different components are established. Timely detection of bugs ensures that product validation is completed on time and saves money that would have to be spent on change efforts at a later stage. And, most importantly, your brainchild will not encounter negative user experiences about flaws that could have been avoided by working with a competent QA tester.