What Can a Software Quality Assurance (QA) Team Do For You?

Quality assurance (QA) might be the most important component of software development, with QA teams ensuring that the software meets quality standards before deployment. By meeting customers and clients expectations regarding the quality of products, QA teams also help support the reputation of businesses and their brands.

This article will cover:

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance (QA) is the process of articulating and maintaining standards for the development of products. QA team members ensure that the products customers receive consistently meet or exceed expectations, which helps boost brand reputation.

As businesses work with their QA teams to create standardized practices, they will naturally see improvements in their workflows. When it comes to software development, the QA process often involves the creation of specific metrics and designs, such as:

  • Running simulations
  • Testing the software function
  • Inspecting the code
  • Inspecting the design

These processes provide a concrete understanding of the functionality and quality of the software.

How does quality assurance work?

The quality assurance process takes software developers through several steps that allow them to define the methodologies they’ll use to ensure quality products. These QA activities benefit production processes by helping businesses create resource and equipment schedules that are predictable and easy to plan for.

Review the project and requirements

The QA team will begin by reviewing the project and quality requirements while working directly with the developers. It’s important for them to know the goal of the software and how it will be judged based on its functional and non-functional qualities. Functionality describes the software’s conformance to the jobs it was designed to do. Non-functional quality standards look at factors like the user-friendly interface of the software, the level of security it offers, and how easy it is to maintain.

For example, if a sports business wants to develop a gamified fitness app that encourages healthy lifestyles while encouraging people to patronize their store, the QA team might review their main project requirements, such as:

  • A high degree of intuitive usability
  • Integrations with the business’s virtual store
  • Engaging alerts to keep customers coming back
  • A game that customers enjoy

Assign core tests based on the projects

Next, the QA team will assign core tests based on the project requirements. These tests help businesses identify how well their products perform in several areas.

In our example above, the QA team will look for ways to quantify the different requirements of the app to measure their level of success. For example, the team may test the integrations with the virtual store at different points in the game. They may look to see how easily customers can interact with the virtual store without interrupting their user experience in the app and how the app encourages people to make purchases. They’ll also verify that the code directs people from the app to the proper places within the store.

Create tests

After identifying the key areas to test, the QA team will create tests that allow them to gauge how well the software performs. The tests should target significant metrics so that their success can be quantified.

In our previous example of a business developing a fitness app, one test the QA team might implement includes an automated script. The script might work through the game and test how well the integrations with the e-commerce store work.

Report the issues and software defects

Once the tests have been developed, the QA process will call for reporting any issues and software defects to the developers so they can make the necessary adjustments.

The QA team also needs  to uncover the root cause of any problems. This will allow the software development team to make the necessary quality improvements.

In our example of the fitness app, if the QA team found that customers encountered errors while trying to connect to the store, they would inform the software development team to correct the code.

Re-run the tests for confirmation

After any necessary corrections have been made, the QA team can re-run their tests to confirm that the fixes have been successful. This will allow them to monitor improvements and ensure that no new problems have arisen.

In our example, if re-running the tests uncovers that the sports app now runs significantly slower, that new problem would need to be fixed as well.

Report the findings and fixes

Once they finish running their tests, the QA team usually makes a full report regarding their findings and fixes. The goal of software quality assurance lies in improving processes that will allow the software development team to prevent errors from occurring. Documenting each step of the testing and correcting processes will help everyone understand the necessity of the different steps in the development process and what they safeguard against.

The report should include:

  • What test was run and why
  • The problem discovered
  • The steps taken to correct it
  • The outcome of the re-testing

Browse & Buy QA testing services on Project Catalog.

Testing vs. quality assurance (QA)

Although testing is a part of QA, it’s not the entire description. When you search for a QA team (or even an individual QA professional), you’re not just looking for someone to test for bugs—you’re looking for someone to provide oversight that will ensure that your software follows business requirements, functions as expected, and offers an easy user interface that facilitates intuitive workflows for your users.

It’s important to distinguish this difference because many clients often expect simple testing from a QA team when it’s much more than that.

Let’s use an example. Suppose you have an e-commerce application that requires users to log in before they can add a product to their cart. This stipulation is a part of your documentation, so it’s clear that you want the login process in your shopping cart workflow. If your developers miss this requirement, allowing users to add products and log in only when they are ready to check out, it’s a clear violation of your business requirements.

The QA team is there to catch this error and send it back to the development team. They will still test for any errors, but the entire workflow process will also be checked and verified before the application is deployed.

Types of QA Testing

QA teams usually employ a combination of automated testing and manual testing. With manual testing, an actual user tests the system after reading through your requirements. The benefit of this flavor of testing in QA is that it allows them to find minor nuances that don’t follow UI standards and don’t match with your software goals.

Manual testing has its advantages, but many QA teams also incorporate scripted (automated) testing. Scripted testing finds code-based errors where a manual reviewer might not but requires the testing scripts to be written, which can be time-consuming. For instance, you can have numerous possibilities in logic and workflow with form submissions. The QA team will create a script that goes through all of these possibilities (e.g., 50 states in a drop-down menu). If just one causes an error on your site, an automated script will find that “needle in a haystack” that a human reviewer might miss.

What are the benefits of a quality assurance team?

A quality assurance team is an important part of an Agile workforce and can help your business create processes that avoid future problems with the development of your software deliverables. These professionals bring their experience and expertise to give your brand and the products you produce a competitive advantage. A quality assurance team can help in the following ways:

  • Saves time. As process improvements become standardized, you’ll find that the workflow improves and your team can produce high-quality products quicker and more confidently.
  • Customer experience. The QA team works to ensure that the software released to the consumer provides them with an exceptional experience. This includes not only eliminating problems and software bugs but also creating a user-friendly interface.
  • Customer satisfaction: Customers purchasing software have expectations of what they should see. Quality management systems, the business processes you implement to ensure your product meets standards, helps your product meet those expectations and provides customer satisfaction.
  • Can help drive the product in the long run. As customers discover they can rely on your software product, they will see it as a quality investment. This can help encourage purchases for a long time to come.
  • Saves the company money. Your company can produce high-quality products more efficiently while also avoiding potential problems that would need to be fixed later. Resources will also be used more wisely throughout the entire product life cycle.
  • Builds the company reputation. A company that releases products that customers can count on regularly will be one that people come to trust. These positive associations with your business will build your company’s reputation and give all of your products a lift in interest and sales.
  • Prevent expensive mistakes. Mistakes that don’t get caught by software quality assurance teams can be very costly. If the software directly harms customers, such as health care software that doesn’t reliably track patient information, it can result in punitive action. Stakeholders want to avoid any final products that could cause such lasting problems.

Which projects should have a QA team?

Whenever a team wants to deliver a product that will meet or exceed their customers’ expectations, the quality assurance team should be present to analyze the process and help establish strategies for maintaining error-free steps. This includes:

  • Launching new software. The QA team reviews goals with the software release, customer expectations, and what the software should achieve to create their testing and review procedures.
  • Launching software upgrades. The QA team can reference the problems customers have experienced and how the software development team wants to improve the software to manage quality assurance throughout the process.
  • Creating a new user experience in existing software. The QA team will review the user experience the brand wants to create, test new material, and create a quality assurance checklist to keep the rollout smooth.

What do I need in a QA team?

Collaboration. The first requirement you should have for your QA team is that they work with your developers. When the QA team has a question or needs to kick something back to the developers, they must be able to work closely with the developers to understand what needs to be fixed and the requirement that was missed.

Some software teams come with their own built-in QA team. This can be helpful because communication plays such an important role in the QA process, and this keeps your development team from “throwing it over the fence” to the QA team to fix it. However, bear in mind that an independent QA team that isn’t dependent on the software team can often provide a more raw opinion of your application and its workflow, but they still must work directly with your developers to incorporate their feedback and changes.

Deadline-oriented, thoroughly testing your software while staying within your deadlines. Because deadlines are always important for continuous deployment, it’s important to look for a QA team early in the development process.

Although it might take some time to put together a team with these key qualities, finding a QA team that works well with your software development team provides a number of advantages that you will appreciate throughout your product’s life cycle.

What roles are there in a quality assurance team?

You’ll have several professionals within your QA team, each with a critical role within the process. By working together, these different roles help provide the best possible quality assurance monitoring.

Manual QA engineers

The manual QA engineer is tasked with manual software quality assurance testing. This involves using the software from the perspective of the end-user to make sure that your team meets its functional and non-functional goals. These engineers step in whenever automation is not the right fit for the job.

These testers work in the pre- and post-release phases of the product life cycle. They not only look for bugs before deployment but also continue to test software to identify problems experienced by customers. For example, they might investigate claims of an app quitting or freezing while customers engage with it.

Automation QA engineers

Next to your manual engineer will be your automation engineers. These professionals oversee any automation testing for your software. They write automated software testing scripts according to the guidelines set during the “create tests” phase of the process. For example, automation QA engineers might look at the speed of the software and its integrations.

Technical QA leads

Whenever issues arise during the testing process, technical QA leads help monitor documentation on the QA team while also directing the team’s efforts. For example, this position will develop documentation about how the team plans to monitor and check the software and their schedule for testing throughout the development process.

Team QA managers

The QA managers oversee the group as a whole. They help the team function effectively and make sure that the established processes proceed as planned. The manager will occasionally audit processes and documentation, provide training to other members of the team, and guide the team to work together effectively. For example, the team manager may help organize meetings to discuss the progress on certain software development and the testing process, and to keep the quality assurance process moving forward effectively.

Performance QA engineers

Performance engineers work to make sure that software works even when it’s at its peak capacity. They test the software and look for bugs that could indicate problems if the user load were to suddenly increase. In other words, if that fitness app discussed earlier becomes immensely popular, how well will it perform with a large number of users employing it at once?

How much does QA cost?

Average costs for QA can depend on how much time it will take and the type of testing you need. It also varies based on the number of people you want for the team, which could just be one individual for a smaller project.

Costs can range anywhere from $20 per hour to $50 per hour depending on your requirements, the details of your application, and the expertise of the QA team. The overall costs depend on the time it takes to fully QA an application and the number of bugs found during the software life cycle.

Do you have a software project or application that needs a thorough round of QA and testing? You’re in luck—there are plenty of expert QA testers on Upwork ready to help ensure your project is the best it can be before it’s launched.

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What Can a Software Quality Assurance (QA) Team Do For You?
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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