20 Software Quality Assurance Best Practices for 2021 (Updated)
Software quality assurance is a broader term and the whole process spans the entire life cycle of the development of software, application or program. Below are some of the best practices for 2021, that a quality assurance tester should apply:
1. Include Risk Management with Quality assurance
Most people think that QA is a synonym to testing but actually, quality assurance is a much broader term. Risk management, as well as other processes and activities, should be considered a part of assuring the quality of your product. It is one of the building blocks of adequate quality assurance. A good quote that sums it up is:
Good Risk Management Includes a Real Improvement of Software Development to Organize Quality Assurance Activities.
2. Cover entire SDLC
Software Quality Assurance is a concept that should span across the entire lifecycle of software development and the entire self-development process.
3. Focus on improvement in quality
The QA testing should focus on improving the process of development of software in order to optimize the end products' quality. The aim of the quality assurance process is to provide assurance to climb senior management and other stakeholders that the processes and activities used through the development of your software are designed to maintain the high quality of the end product.
4. Continuous monitoring
It involves the continuous monitoring of the process and making sure that the agreed-upon standards and procedures are being followed all along the development process.
5. Unbiased procedures
Software QA also needs to be unbiased and the Quality Assurance team should be given some freedom and authority for the process to work correctly. Through this way, the company's reputation is also affected, positively if it can consistently deliver reliable and high-quality products.
6. Apply effective methodologies
With an effective QA testing methodology, the cost of the overall lifecycle of the software can be reduced because QA testing ensures that software is conforming to requirements and standards; which is a fundamental stipulation in the development of life-critical products.
7. Reduce maintenance cost
The maintenance cost of the software is also reduced since the software requires less modification afterward with adequate QA. Of course, the correction and modification of errors that are discovered only after the software's release and implementation can be costly and might affect the reputation of your company. So, it is important that QA procedures would identify errors sooner before the software gets released therefore resulting in the overall reduction of the entire lifecycle cost.
8. Transform entire organizational culture
The Quality Assurance and testing process should spend the entire lifecycle of the product and every stage of the process of delivery production or maintenance should be covered by QA. The concept of Quality Assurance isn't to test your software all at once at the end to report the bugs and then fix those bugs but is to create a quality product in the first place and then also test the quality product so in order for QA to work and to result in real process improvement. The entire organizational Culture has to be transformed and QA has become a continuous effort.
9. Follow two basic principles
Regardless of what product you're developing, there are two principles the Quality Assurance follows. These are "fit for purpose" and "right first time".
10. Apply Fit for Purpose
The "fit for purpose" means that the product does what it is supposed to do and is suitable for its intended purpose.
11. Practice Right First time
"Right first time" means that all errors should be eliminated. Basically, your products should do that thing right reliably over extended periods of time so there are many ways and techniques to achieve this twofold Bowl.
12. Formulate requirements concisely
Good Quality Assurance starts with requirements.The way requirements are captured, phrased, prioritized and managed greatly affects the quality of the end product. This means that requirements are formulated in a concise and easy-to-understand manner is crucial and this helps developers as well since they can understand what is required of them and more functionality is needed as the lifecycle moves on.
13. Use of Mature Processes
It is important to define the right processes to be used in the development of your product and ensure that those processes are used as planned with no deviations from those fixed processes.
14. Comply with industry standard
It is also becoming important that your development team can prove that they have only used those classes that have been designed to call it in mind which helps with compliance with standards in industries like medical, automotive or avionics, embedded systems development or railways software development and other safety-critical areas. The development is then followed by the testing of your software product and the QA team has to thoroughly test the products key functionality to a reasonable death.
15. Perform QA after the release of the product
When the testing is completed, the work of the QA team is still not over because there's virtually no software that gets released without any single bugs. So, user rule and users will have to be able to submit those bugs that they discover and the operations team or QA and development teams together will have to treat these bugs to resolve all issues.
Related article: When You Need to Stop Testing
16. Close Collaboration with Development team
The term "DevOps" is increasingly used which refers to the close collaboration of development and operations teams in an agile environment. whatever methodology the team is using, the collaboration is important as it helps fix all bugs in a timely manner.
17. Consider End user's mindset
Testing is one of the key points of quality assurance so while unit tests and good development practices ensure that you're building your product correctly; QA and testing also try to make sure that what you're actually building is also correct. This means that the tester mindset focuses more on the end user.
18. 100% bug-free product is not possible
As mentioned earlier, almost no software can be completely error-free. Which means, nothing ever goes live without bugs and the objective of the QA is not to fully test everything and fix every single bug but to work together with coding to keep the worst ones out of production and only release working products that fit their intended purposes.
Related article: Is There Such a Thing as Bug Free Software
19. Black-Box testing or white-box testing
In quality assurance, you can simply check if the functionality works as planned, which is black box testing; or you can thoroughly review the code of the software which is called white box testing. White box testing tests the internal structures and workings on the program as opposed to black box testing where the software is treated as a black box examining purely the functionality of the software without any regard to the internal implementation. There is also a grey box testing, which is a mixture of the two kinds of where the testers of the software have knowledge of the internal data structures and design tests based on those algorithms but execute those tests at the user or the black box level.
20. Ensure the most suitable methodology for software development
how you achieve quality also depends on what methodology used for your software development. For example, in scrum you would test all of your iterations after, they are complete ensuring that each part of your software is tested separately and then after integration together when the entire product is complete depending on how small your iterations are. While for the water pond, when you model everything is tested at the end.
The best quality assurance testing practices should inculcate all other processes in general and risk management process in particular in them. The focus should be to improve the overall quality of the software while aiming for reducing the cost with continuous monitoring during and after the release of the software. While doing quality assurance testing, the tester should ensure to comply with all the fundamental principles and industry practices; along with looking at the product from the end-users' perspective.