August 16, 2023

Quality Assurance (QA): A Vital Process in Ensuring Software Excellence

Quality assurance plays a very important role in software development, but many companies neglect it carelessly

Quality assurance (QA) is a truly important process in software development and a vital stage in its lifecycle. Companies that strive for maximum quality and customer satisfaction invariably incorporate QA specialists into their processes.

During development, it's crucial to ensure that the software functions exactly as initially intended. That's why there is a continuous focus on working on brand-new applications and fresh features for those that are already in active use.

When choosing software for permanent use, people often look not only at the variety of features of a specific application but also at its stability. If the developers have failed to achieve this, dreaming of stable customer attention is out of the question.

The role of quality assurance involves the continuous adherence to rules and standards in software development, guaranteeing its quality. QA is a critically important process that must be performed regardless of the scale of the project currently being worked on.

What is Quality Assurance

QA is a very important part of teamwork

Quality assurance (QA) is a special methodology that ensures the software's quality conforms to a set of standards predefined. Thanks to QA, minor issues in the operation of any part of an application can be detected before they become genuine big problems.

Quality assurance is not simply one of the steps carried out after software development, but an ongoing process that occurs parallel to it. That's why companies must have QA specialists who work together with the team of programmers.

QA specialists test applications based on external and internal characteristics. Among the external characteristics, effectiveness, reliability, and the cost of future maintenance are particularly important. All of these relate not only to the quality of the code itself but also to the chosen architecture.

Internal characteristics, which are checked by QA specialists responsible for software quality, include structure, complexity, readability, flexibility, testability, and the coding methods followed by the developers in the development of a website or application.

What are the Principles of Quality Assurance

QA is an important part of the software lifecycle

For the effective implementation of the quality assurance process, it is important to follow a set of principles. They not only ensure the most productive work of the QA specialist but also help ensure that the software consistently meets the highest quality standards.

  • Defect prevention – It's always better to prevent defects and errors in the software rather than fixing them later, so potential problems must be addressed at the earliest stages of development.
  • Continuous improvement – QA is an ongoing process that is crucial to integrate into the software development lifecycle to constantly employ, thereby improving the quality of work.
  • Stakeholder involvement – Quality assurance should involve as many interested participants in the software development process as possible, including customers, programmers, project managers, and more.
  • Risk-based approach – QA specialists should prioritize their professional tasks and focus on identifying and subsequently mitigating the most significant risks in the software first.

6 Steps for Implementing Quality Assurance

1. Define quality standard. Initially, it's crucial to clearly define the quality standards to which any software product must ultimately conform. This process includes defining requirements, acceptance criteria, and performance indicators. All of this is agreed upon by all stakeholders, including clients for whom development is being done, as well as programmers.

2. Plan QA activities. Quality assurance is a plan of actions that will be carried out throughout the entire software development lifecycle. Besides direct testing, this also includes creating documentation. Plus, it's very important to identify responsible individuals for each task in advance.

3. Conduct reviews. Implementing quality assurance also involves engaging third-party experts who do not take direct part in the software development process. They will help identify problems at an early stage and significantly reduce costs for their subsequent correction.

4. Perform testing. Of course, QA specialists also conduct manual and automated software testing, which includes several types:

  • unit testing;
  • integration testing;
  • system testing;
  • acceptance testing.

5. Monitor and measure. Monitoring and measuring software is performed throughout its development process. This concerns tracking defects, as well as tracking various indicators:

  • code coverage;
  • defect density;
  • conducting root cause analysis.

6. Improve continuously. Ultimately, it's important that the quality assurance process continuously improves to achieve maximum efficiency in professional activity in this field.

What Approaches Are Used in Quality Assurance

An important part of QA is to improve the usability of the software

It's important to understand that various approaches can be used in the quality assurance process, and there can be many of them. The selection largely depends on the specific team or entire company that is engaged in software development for someone.

Software Quality Defect Management Approach. This approach focuses on counting software defects for effective management of them. Moreover, it also involves the classification of software issues' severity with the aid of various tools that, for instance, include defect matrices.

Software Quality Attributes Approach. The approach using software quality attributes allows developers to analyze its performance. This approach centers on drawing engineers' attention to multiple quality factors. Usually, the primary five are highlighted:

  • Reliability — reflects the system's ability to continue functioning under various conditions.
  • Usability — software products must be simple to learn and navigate from a UX perspective.
  • Efficiency — a metric that determines how well the system utilizes all available resources.
  • Maintainability — how simple and economically effective it is to support different versions of the system, its changes, and updates.
  • Portability — the ability to work across various platforms, ranging from operating systems to changing hosting.

The Importance of Quality Assurance

It is only when QA is used that software turns out to be of true quality

Quality Assurance (QA) is a highly significant process that genuinely ensures top-notch quality of software and guarantees that it will meet the highest standards and quality requirements. Websites and apps become reliable and effective.

QA initially requires additional expenses for initial implementation and continuous execution, but it ultimately saves money. This is especially noticeable if errors have occurred in the early stages of software development. Thus, QA also protects the developer's reputation.

Thanks to quality assurance, it's possible to create an extremely stable and competitive software product, with every block thoroughly inspected for compliance with industry standards during development. As a result of QA, websites and apps become efficient and secure.

Most importantly, the software developed by the company must satisfy the client's needs 100%. It must operate flawlessly, meet the highest data confidentiality requirements, and match expectations. And all this is just a very brief justification of why QA is so important.

Ready to Elevate Your Software Quality?

Author

Mykola (Nick) Hrytsaienko

Tags

Software Development