Quality Assurance: The Little Team That Could

   Quality Assurance

The scene…

There is a group of cubicles on the other side of your building. When you visit, you hear jokes that involve record and playback tools and last minute UI changes. And you have heard rumors of little robots they’ve built to hit your code every morning at 3 am. For what purpose? To push back on release dates, of course.
They have to be planting arbitrary bugs into the environment. You can never recreate the bugs they assign to you on your own machine.

Well, it works on my machine. Did you clear your cache?

Sound familiar? You may recognize the above scenarios. Who are these troublemakers? That would be Quality Assurance.
Though many companies welcome QA, there are those who struggle to see the benefits. Many QA teams may have had to push hard to show the value of their work to various groups within the company.

Everyone has a role. Why is QA so important?

QA can provide tools and resources that thoroughly vet a feature. They provide insights into potential releases and the health of a product. They can also save money by finding problems earlier during development. In the end, QA helps your company release features that are more stable and trustworthy.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of those benefits of having a dedicated, quality assurance team.

QA takes the pressure off of developers and project managers. This allows each team to focus on their own goals and not have to worry about how to test a certain feature. For developers, it’s difficult moving back and forth between development and testing mindsets. Code reviews help developers flush out any potential issues in their own code, but the bulk of testing burden should fall with QA.
In addition, PMs should only need to focus on the overall progress of a project and keeping lines of communication open across each team. They don’t need to know all of the little changes that may occur on a daily basis for a project. Testing can be tedious so let a dedicated team manage the company’s test ecosystem. This can include something as simple as a manual test process to a full blown CI infrastructure.

QA Engineers specialize in automation and can build frameworks that test complex applications. This gives an extra layer of confidence in the health of your product. Automated tests consistently check that core features are still working as you develop new ones. More importantly, this automation helps find issues earlier on in development.

This work helps ensure a quality product and reduce costs – which happens to be the primary focus of the department. Everyone has that same goal in mind, but QA is able to provide a different perspective for the product. I mean, how do they find the bugs that they find?
Because of their time spent testing an application, QA has a good view of its overall health. Other members of your team may not have this kind of perspective or may lose it depending on the focus of their work.
When QA and testing are involved early on in a project, costs for fixing bugs are dramatically reduced. The traditional view for development costs show that the price for fixing bugs increase over time. Having a dedicated team focus on finding bugs early and often help limit the amount of issues that are discovered when features hit production.

costOfChangeTraditional

*Fig. 1

A consistent line of quality products is great for a company’s reputation. The work that QA does helps establish trust with your customers. Quality products and trust make happy customers.
And happy customers are great. They post encouraging comments on your social media accounts and spread the word about your product. Sometimes, they even send cookies.

Your QA team helps strengthen the company’s core values by doing their job well. No team wants to release a buggy application and QA supports the great work that everyone else is doing. Some may consider it a part of the “dark side” and eager to point out flaws in an application. However, QA contributes to an ecosystem that pushes teams to produce cleaner code.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many benefits of dedicated quality assurance teams. Like with other teams, they can be an integral part of your company’s success. How has incorporating QA into your development cycle helped your product and company? Let us know in the comments!

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*Fig. 1 courtesy of www.agilemodeling.com


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