What is Software Quality Assurance? A QA Process Flow Guide
Quality assurance testing is the process of evaluating a system or its components to check whether it meets specified requirements or not. To put it simply, QA testing is the execution of a sequence of actions to identify gaps, errors, and bugs that conflict with the requirements.
In this article, we outline the quality assurance process, overview QA procedures, and discover what does a quality assurance manager do.
Introduction: the basics of software quality assurance
Software quality assurance helps to check the fulfilment of all business scenarios and user requirements, as well as identify all possible problems and bugs in IT products.
Oftentimes, the terms “testing”, “quality assurance” and “quality control” are either confused or used interchangeably. However, these terms characterize quite distinct processes such as:
- Testing which means the process of finding bugs;
- QC (Quality Control) which is the implementation of the testing process like a case description, searching, and establishing defects;
- QA (Quality Assurance) which is the creation of a control system to prevent bugs during the software development stage and reduce the number of defects at the testing stage. It is the construction of the testing process.
We asked quality assurance experts who work at our software development company to review in detail the QA process, QA requirements, and quality assurance testing methodology.
Why do we need quality assurance and QA specialists?
Indeed, can’t developers test products themselves?
Five to six years ago, this issue was widely debated in IT communities. But in 2021 it’s clear that quality testers will not be out of work. Testing should be carried out by qualified specialists.
So, what does a quality assurance specialist do?
- They check all interactions between different pieces of code and environments which are not part of the program that they have built themselves;
- In the process of testing, they put themselves in the shoes of a user who the product is being created to;
- The logic of software QA engineers work is not solely based on the creation of software but also includes the possibility of its breakdown.
When does a QA specialist start the software testing?
Testing at the right time reduces the cost and time to rework and create error-free software. During the software development lifecycle (SDLC), testing starts at the requirements gathering stage and continues till the software is deployed.
However, it also varies depending on the development model used. For example, in the Waterfall model, testing is performed during the testing phase. In an Agile model, testing is performed at the end of each iteration. The application is tested at the end of the project again.
Additionally, testing is conducted in different forms at each stage of the SDLC. For example:
- Requirements gathering phase, analysis, and verification of requirements are also referred to as testing;
- Checking the design during the design phase to improve is considered a part of testing;
- Testing performed by software developers upon completion of the app’s code is also categorized as testing.
When is the right moment to stop software testing?
It’s challenging to determine when to stop testing as it might seem a never-ending process and no one can claim that a given software is 100% tested.
Consider and thoroughly analyze the following to realize the moment to stop the testing process:
- Testing terms;
- Decrease in the error rate;
- No more high-priority bugs.
What are the types of software testing?
For a better understanding of software testing approaches, it’s essential to know the types of software testing. Below you can have a look at the main types that we identify.
Types of software testing by the degree of automation
Any testing can be performed both manually and using automation tools. All quality testers are divided into various groups according to software security, performance, usability. But in the broad sense, they can be divided into those who perform manual and automated testing.
Manual software testing
Мanual software testing is a type of software testing when a QA engineer manually runs tests without any automation.
Automated software testing
Automated software testing is performed using frameworks such as Selenium, PHPUnit, Mockery. It aims to reduce the cost and risks related to the human factor. This type of testing is especially efficient on long-term projects with frequent releases and large-scale regression.
Each of the testing types has its area of application because 100% automation is unachievable. For example, usability testing always has to be done manually. So, what does a QA engineer do in each of these cases? The key differences between manual and automated testing are in the table below.
Types of software testing according to the test object
According to the test object, custom software testing is normally divided into functional and non-functional testing.
Software functional testing
Software functional testing checks the part of the system that is particularly necessary for a user to complete a business scenario from start to finish. It is performed before non-functional testing. A good example of what is functional testing in software testing would be navigation through forum sections.
Software functional testing methods and techniques include:
- Unit testing;
- Gray box testing;
- Black box testing;
- White box testing;
- User testing;
- Regression testing;
- Smoke testing;
- Exploratory testing.
All of these are pretty specific and are mostly talked about among QA specialists and developers.
Software non-functional testing
Software non-functional testing is essential to validate the performance of a given system under various conditions that can impact user satisfaction. Here, we’re talking about reliability, usability, scalability.
Software non-functional testing methods and techniques include:
- Security testing
Security testing is used to identify software vulnerability to various attacks, such as cross-site scripting (attacks in which malicious scripts are injected into websites) or SQL injection (a vulnerability that allows an attacker to interfere with the queries that an application makes to its database).
- Localization testing
Localization testing is the process of adapting a product for a specific country or region. Such a software application usually has already previously been translated into multiple languages.
- Usability testing
Usability testing aims to test the user-friendliness of a software application and the clarity of the software application interface.
Types of software testing according to the positivity of the scenario
The list here is rather brief. It includes:
Negative software testing
This type of software and app testing consists of entering invalid values and committing invalid actions so that to check if the given software or app behaves correctly. It doesn’t act improperly and issues a human-readable error message.
Positive software testing
Positive testing includes checking if the program works correctly when proper data is entered. The result here is no errors are generated and the software behaves the way it is meant to.
QA process: software testing stages
Here we present the ways to describe the stages of software testing. We believe the best way to define what is a QA process is through the software testing life cycle.
The Software Testing Life Cycle model (STLC) consists of six main stages that include:
At this stage, testers examine the requirements from a software testing perspective and communicate with the client for a detailed understanding. Also, if necessary, they perform a feasibility study of automation.
QA specialists often have to deal with situations where requirements are missing or unclear. In those cases, a software tester has to utilize methods and tools to organize testing in the absence of ideal requirements on the project.
At this stage, it is necessary to:
- Develop a testing strategy;
- Identify risks;
- Select tools for testing;
- Assign roles in the team.
All these points are recorded as a test plan and test strategy.
Test case development
Writing a test case means creating a textual description of the testing process for a portion or feature of the project. Test cases are necessary for team members to check the program and get acquainted without reading the entire code.
Testing environment set up
This step is necessary to prepare all the conditions for an effective testing process. It includes setting up a test server, setting up a network, setting up test PCs and devices, and generating test data.
The QC team starts executing test cases according to the test plans and generates bug reports. Also, bugs are quite often validated at this stage.
The last step in the software testing life cycle involves kind of a meeting of the testing team members to evaluate the project performance.
Conclusion: recap on the QA process
Software quality assurance is a very significant part of software development. It can’t be underestimated as it helps to receive a good-looking and good-working software solution, a software that functions properly.
We hope the basics of quality assurance presented by the experts of our software development team will guide you when developing your software solution. We will revisit this topic in our upcoming articles to broaden your knowledge of фgile QA processes.
In case you need application and software testing services, do not hesitate to contact our software testers through the form on our website. NEKLO specialists provide consultation and can help you pick up the testing type that will be the best fit for your requirements.