Providing your QA team with the tools for success
One of the core responsibilities of any good quality assurance manager is to provide testers with the tools needed to succeed. Once a project is underway, QA members must be in the best position possible to effectively identify defects, collaborate with other stakeholders and ensure that in-development applications are ready to be pushed to release. This all begins with the team leader. Given how quickly the QA field evolves, it may be difficult to keep track of all the new developments. What was once a standard-issue test tool might become an ineffective relic of the past without much warning. With that in mind, it's important that QA leaders stay on top of industry trends and be ready to implement new test tools when they emerge.
Automate when possible
Automation has always been a major goal for software testers, but the spread of agile testing methods has further driven demand for automated test scripts and other assets. Software Testing Help contributor Bhumika Mehta argued that solely leaning on manual testing is impractical in today's QA industry, as everyone is focused on delivering software faster than ever before. If teams aren't able to achieve the level of automation they desire, they will need to supplement their manual processes with other resources to improve software testing.
"Even if [manual testing] is the only option, it should be supported with scripting knowledge, reporting tools, bug tracking and project management tools," Mehta wrote. "With this, automation tools are popping up like anything and having knowledge about specific tools and ability to select right tool as per requirements is expected at every level of testing."
It's important for organizations that have a good degree of automation built into their testing efforts to implement software to enhance the effectiveness of those tools as well. For example, teams don't always make the most of their automated test scripts because they design them on an as-needed basis. In some instances, automated test scripts are dumped or lost once a project has been completed. With a comprehensive test management solution, however, QA teams can upload and share effective scripts for use on future projects. This reduces the amount of time and money spent on creating automated test scripts as well as streamlines testing efforts down the road.
Take advantage of staging environments
Another must-have tool for today's effective QA team is an accurate staging environment. Staging environments help replicate how an app will perform and function when it is in production. This provides software testers with deep insights into the types of issues that might arise once an app has been released into the hands of its audience. Many problems relating to user experience that might otherwise go unnoticed can become clear within a quality staging environment. In a piece for TechTarget, QA veteran Amy Reichert noted that staging environments are critical for any organization that wants to avoid disappointing its audience with an app that doesn't perform well in real-world conditions.
"As Web applications become more mission-critical for customers, it becomes increasingly important to test on environments that exactly mimic production because it's production where customers use your application," Reichert said. "Any defect found in production is a miss or an escape. Any defects experienced by customers in production negatively impacts your application's and company's reputation."
These are just some of the tools that quality assurance leaders should provide their teams with to support software testing processes. As the industry continues to stress delivery speed, QA managers will need to find ways to meet those demands without taking short cuts in the testing process and adversely affecting the quality of the software itself. Software testing tools that facilitate automation, communication, collaboration and reporting are instrumental to successfully conducting QA operations in today's agile-focused environment.