When developing software, we believe you should be able to have your cake and eat it too. That means a bottleneck-free development process with an end product that motivates customers and clients to take action.
Software development will never be “easy as pie,” but if you avoid the bottlenecks of a weak QA foundation, the probability of avoiding any bottlenecks through the development process as if they were never there in the first place could be a piece of cake.
Engage your QA team from the beginning
Pretend you’re baking a cake. You make all the decisions about how much of which ingredients to put into the cake all by yourself. But after one bite, your friend, a professional baker, notices that you used too much flour and not enough sugar.
If your baker friend had been involved from the time you started mixing ingredients, you wouldn’t have to throw the entire cake away. She could have prevented the problem before it happened.
The same is true with QA testing. A skilled QA professional gets you past the bottlenecks without you even realizing it – because he or she prevents them before they become bottlenecks. They should be involved with the project from the beginning, reviewing requirements, providing input, helping to develop the UI (user interface) and more.
Don’t rush QA testing
Would you bake a batch of cupcakes for a party without trying one first to make sure it tasted ok? That’s essentially what launching an application without proper QA testing is like – except much, much more costly.
If you have software that seems to be working right now, and you’re under the pressure of a deadline and constricted by resources, it’s very easy to rush through QA testing or skip it altogether.
However, your instant gratification is guaranteed to be short-lived. QA testing doesn’t just ensure your application works right now – it tests your software’s efficacy in different environments, user scenarios, devices, operating systems and more.
Your application may function spectacularly in your controlled environment or when tested by the developer – but if not properly prepared for the dynamic world in which it will live, it will end up costing your company even more time and money (not to mention embarrassment) than if you’d budgeted for QA testing in the first place.
Avoid this bottleneck by building in plenty of time and a budget for QA testing from the project’s inception. Involve your QA team from the beginning – they can help you estimate the resources it will entail to ready your software for a successful market release.
Use industry standards as a baseline
Part of a QA professional’s job is to stay up-to-date on industry standards and properly implement them into the software development process.
For example, when developing banking software and applications, the button to submit information should always say “Submit,” never “Enter” or “Ok.”
If released to the masses, a disregard for industry standards will produce a major bottleneck, and the application’s credibility will be lost.
Your QA team should be by your side throughout the entire process to ensure you’re implementing industry standards from the get-go, rather than having to backtrack down the line.
Make sure your systems are stable before you automate
Just like when you’re baking a cake, there’s a formula for the perfect mix of manual and automated testing. Problem is, unlike a recipe on the box, this ratio changes from project to project, and you need a skilled QA team to uncover it for you each time.
Manual testing should always be the starting point for any software development project. Then, your QA team can help you determine which processes are repeatable and may qualify for automated testing.
However, you need a stable system and reliable tools before you can successfully implement automated testing. If your systems are changing from week-to-week, automated testing is a waste of everyone’s time.
Avoid the bottleneck of too much or too little automated testing by investing in your testing systems before your software enters the QA testing phase.
Collaborate across teams
Congratulations! You just baked a delicious cake. The problem is, when you take it to the party, you find out all of the guests are on diets. Now your cake is obsolete. You should’ve brought a veggie tray.
This entire bottleneck could’ve been avoided if you’d been talking to the hosts when you started planning your dessert.
When you’re developing software, it doesn’t matter how many departments are involved, you are one team working for one common goal.
You didn’t know the party guests were on a diet because the host wasn’t involved in your baking decisions. Which is too bad, because you could’ve produced the best veggie tray around rather than a cake no one wanted to eat.
What QA bottlenecks have you encountered, and what steps have you taken to avoid them in the future? Tell us in the comments below!