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How to set up QA processes from scratch

By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor -

Table of Contents

Testing is essential for customer delight and retention. A well-tested software application will not cause unpleasant experiences for its users due to an undetected bug or a defect. As more people use a website or app, any bugs that might escape into production will be more visible and more likely to get negative reviews for the product from end-users.

This is when stakeholders have to start building a QA team. It usually starts with hiring a senior Quality assurance testing professional and building a QA team. This article offers a few guidelines for this phase by detailing how to set up a Quality Assurance process that fulfills the organization’s objectives and requirements.

Common Problems in QA Process

When establishing the quality assurance testing process, a few issues may come up:

How and where to store test documentation?

Each quality assurance testing professional usually works on multiple projects simultaneously. In that case, it’s important to securely categorize and store test data and documentation.

Initially, something like Google Drive works, but as the number of projects and team members expands, management will be better off transferring the information to a more professional test management tool.

How to train new QAs?

As a QA department grows, newly hired personnel have to be trained and informed about the processes, ongoing projects, and other data relevant to the team. Handle this by creating some sort of knowledge base (perhaps a cookbook of sorts) which would contain how the particular quality assurance testing team works, what tools it uses, common bottlenecks, best practices, and the QA flow followed on projects. Once a new QA engineer joins, they can find all the information in one convenient location. However, remember to keep adding new information as QA processes keep evolving. Check out this article on How to train, engage and manage a QA Team.

How to ensure comprehensive testing?

While working on multiple projects, testers may miss out on testing certain features or functionalities, thus allowing bugs to pass into production. To prevent such omissions, create a practical software testing checklist that details exactly what to test, check for, and verify. Check out our 7-Step Checklist for Website QA Testing.

How to account for personnel changes?

Let’s say a QA is working on a big project, and they need to go on leave in the middle of it. Now, the project has to be transferred to another QA engineer which might not have any context on the project or the software structure.

Instead of having to go through the entire project every time someone new comes on board, it’s easier to just create a map detailing the structure and flow for each project. If someone new is involved in a project, they simply need to refer to this map to understand the product and the methods required for testing it.

Through user management, access controls, and version controls of the documents, this problem can be managed well.

Why should QA Processes be implemented?

Quality Assurance for Software Testing exists to ensure that the product is built correctly without too many iterations. A worthwhile QA process clearly defines requirements, gives testers a thorough understanding of the features, and gives them a blueprint for how to progress.

Note that testing should not follow development but should support it. Ideally, testing activities should occur in parallel with development – in other words, test code every time it is committed to the repository rather than waiting for the entire website or app to come together. In other words, one must execute the QA process in Agile ways.

Before implementing a QA process, one needs to understand the stages that comprise a thorough, inclusive Quality Assurance pipeline.

Stages of QA Process

1. Analyze Requirements

It costs more to fix a bug that has been detected during testing as compared to just preventing them at the stage of requirements design. QA professionals should be involved in analyzing and defining software requirements, both functional and non-functional. QAs must be offered consistent, comprehensive, traceable requirements and clearly marked. This helps the QA team design tests specifically tailored to the software being tested.

2. Plan the tests

The information gained during the requirements analysis phase is used for test planning. The test plan should comprise the software testing strategy, the scope of testing, the project budget, and established deadlines. It should also outline the types and levels of testing required, methods, and tools for tracking bugs and allocate resources and responsibilities to individual testers.

3. Design the tests

QA teams have to craft test cases and checklists that encompass the software requirements at this stage. Each test case must contain conditions, data, and the steps needed to validate each functionality. Every test must also define the expected test result so that testers know what to compare actual results to.

Read More: QA Best Practices: How to broaden Test Automation Strategy

It is recommended that QAs start with a measure of exploratory testing to familiarize themselves with the software. This would help with designing appropriate test cases.

If an automation strategy has been defined in the test scope, this is the stage for creating automation testing QA scenarios.

This is also the stage for preparing the staging environment for execution. This environment should closely mirror the production environment with regard to the specifics of hardware, software, and network configurations. Other characteristics such as databases, and system settings should also be closely mimicked.

4. Execute Tests and Report Defects

Tests start at the unit level with developers performing unit tests. Then, the quality assurance testing team runs tests at API and UI levels. Manual tests are run in accordance with previously designed test cases. All bugs detected are submitted in a defect tracking system for effective defect management. Additionally, test automation engineers can use an automated test framework such as Selenium, Cypress, or Appium to execute test scripts and generate test summary reports.

5. Run Re-Tests and Regression Tests

Once bugs have been found, submitted, and fixed, QAs test the functions again to ensure that they didn’t miss any anomalies. They also run regression tests to verify that the fixes have not affected the existing functions.

Do you know Retesting and Regression Testing are not the same? Know the Difference between Retesting and Regression Testing

6. Run Release Tests

Once developers issue a release notification detailing a list of already implemented features, fixed bugs, recurring issues, and limitations, the QA team must identify the functionalities affected by these changes. Then, the team must design modified test suites that cover the scope of the new build.

The QA team must also perform smoke tests to ensure each build is stable. If the test passes, then modified test suites are run, and a report is generated at the end.

Set up the QA process for Agile environments

Use a few simple methods to align the QA process with Agile development principles:

1. Make QA result-oriented

Agile development methods prioritize smaller goals and targets to be handled in smaller increments with greater speed. To fit into this practice, QA processes must follow the same tactics – faster, more dynamic, and more focused on specific objectives.

2. Prioritize transparency

Transparency benefits any developmental approach, but it is especially necessary for procuring Agile success. Testers have to be very clear on what the software is expected to do, what features to test in each sprint, and what “good results” look like. This clarity helps teams collaborate, test faster, and deliver results within short deadlines.

3. Make quality assurance testing an ongoing activity

Do not postpone testing until the end of the development cycle. As mentioned before, tests need to take place after every code commit. It must happen throughout each sprint in a way that enables teams to identify issues early on.

4. Implement DevOps

DevOps applies Agile practices to QA and Ops teams, streamlining the build, validation, deployment, and development of software. It eliminates conflicts between development and QA teams, along with multiple other advantages:

  • Provides greater control over the production environment to developers
  • Improves the frequency of deployment
  • Lowers failure rate of new software releases
  • Improves mean time to recovery
  • Increases speed and quality of released software
  • Achieves faster time to market

Tools Required for Quality Assurance Testing

Every QA team needs the right tools to ensure that they are testing software comprehensively and aren’t missing bugs that users might find in production. To start with, let’s talk about testing on real devices.

No matter the kind of test being executed, QA teams must have access to real devices to test on. There is no way to release a website or app to the public without testing it in real user conditions. Whether it’s manual testing or automation testing, real device testing is non-negotiable.

In the absence of an in-house lab containing the latest devices, a cloud-based option provides the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, the tool should be able to support the efforts and activities of teams of any size without compromising the speed or accuracy of results.

BrowserStack’s Live for Large Teams allows the QA team to add as many members to a plan as required. In fact, teams can add unlimited members to their planks. Every tester can run simultaneous tests on 2000+ real browsers and devices – including the latest devices and latest versions of leading browsers.

  • No interruptions or wait times
  • Effortless team management with in-built facilities to create sub-teams, allocate licenses and enforce access control across teams.

Try Testing on Real Device Cloud for Free

A few other tools that help with running QA processes smoothly would be:

  • Google docs — Can be used to store project documentation such as test plans, checklists, test data while making it easily sharable among individuals and teams.
  • Jira — Useful for bug tracking, raising tickets for tasks, and assigning tasks to individuals.
  • Zeplin — Useful for sharing and receiving design documentation from designers.
  • Selenium – Ideal for automated testing of websites.
  • Cypress – Ideal for automated testing of websites.
  • Appium – Ideal for automated testing of apps.

Setting up a QA team can be challenging, especially for a new organization. Doing it without some kind of pre-conceived structure exacerbates the challenge unnecessarily. By detailing the QA pipeline, this article seeks to offer that clarity so that QA managers can set up their teams quickly. They can also gear up their teams for maximum efficiency, quick project completion, and visible success.

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