Quality assurance testing is the backbone of any great piece of software. Your developers and system architects can spin gold all they want, but without a dedicated team with an eye for detail ensuring every aspect is working correctly you’ll be left without much to show for. If you’ve been experiencing functionality issues with your applications, there’s a good chance this is due to a pattern of failed quality assurance tests. But why is this general failure happening? And how can you prevent it from becoming a vicious cycle? While there may be many variables causing issues there are several common ones that have become prevalent in the world of software testing.
Testing to Pass Instead of Testing to Fail
Though it may sound bleak, the ultimate goal of any QA test should be to break the software. By pushing an application or software feature to its limits with a barrage of demanding scenarios, a development team is able to visualize where a possible error may be. Too often we see tests that are either sloppily designed, or even ones that are performed to produce a desired result of “pass.” These tests ultimately fail because they’re not able to test for a requirement, instead testing a block of code without evaluating if the software performs the function it’s supposed to.
Let’s say a ticket for a new application function is submitted and subsequently handled by an engineer, such as for a feature that produces a specific accounting report; when this request is processed by the system, it should provide the report based on multiple variables selected by the user. The quality assurance tester should then be trying every possible combination of input variables, rather than simply running one or two tests to confirm that the new function is working okay. Though it may seem like a convenient shortcut, failing to experiment or go beyond the obvious can eventually lead to delays and huge costs to fix it when it eventually breaks down the road.
Automating Gone Bad
If poor testing practices are already plaguing your QA team, there’s a good chance this will eventually lead to further issues. This is certainly the case when automation is added into the mix. There are many reasons why a quality assurance department may choose to automate testing, as it can be a great way to save time and labor hours. For repetitive tasks like regression testing, load testing, continuous integration, or working with particularly large data sets, automation makes sense and can help the team focus on more involved QA work. However, when automation is chosen to meet tight deadlines, or is used to simply speed up the process, this can lead to more failures in the testing process. In short, automating bad tests will only compound the issue of sloppy work.
Lack of Practice and Experience in Testing
Another reason your quality assurance tests might be failing could simply be a personnel problem. If you’re employing a group of inexperienced or out of practice QA testers they may simply be failing to meet the vital standards required in this important field. The ideal candidate for quality assurance specialist should be a critical thinker, always looking to tweak test conditions to root out underlying defects in the software code; they should also be a quick learner, as your application features may be changing and developing quickly in an agile or DevOps environment.
All of this isn’t to say that your current team can’t learn some new tricks. At iLAB, we’re not only leaders in software testing, but can also work to train your team to meet your requirements. Instead of having them aim for a bare minimum, testing to pass instead of to fail, choosing the wrong time to automate, or simply lacking the knowhow to get things done right, we can provide them with tools and guidance to become a dynamic and effective backbone in your software development process. We offer a variety of courses on a number of testing topics, and are ISTQB certified. Contact us today to find out more.