Understanding QA software testing can be ambiguous and complicated. The article will break it down by starting with a basic overview to give us a better understanding of what is most important for your QA engineering team and QA software strategies.
1. What is Software Testing?
Software testing is a foundational component of your product’s success. On one hand, software testing involves validating that the software product does what it was built to do, or in other words, that it functions correctly. On the other, software testing deals with capabilities beyond the mere functionality, concerning itself with qualities of security, scalability, accessibility, and more. The diligent review and feedback of software development engineers in test (SDET) and QA analysts ensure that the released product works well for the customers and users it is intended for.
The most successful product development strategy shifts testing left, engaging QA testing services upfront and continuing throughout the development cycle until launch. SDETs and QA analysts work in tandem with developers to ensure new or modified code continues to function correctly and does not break other parts of the product. As defects are identified and remediated, the QA team can quickly validate fixes to ensure the software meets the desired quality standards prior to launch.
Software testing encompasses many approaches and forms of QA testing. Depending on business objectives, a variety of testing solutions may be used to ensure a successful product launch. At QualityLogic, software testing is our specialty. In fact, according to the research firm Gartner, we’re the fastest-growing pure-play software testing company in the United States. We offer every type of testing that your team might require. Let’s break it down.
- Functional Testing: Your code should perform as intended by your product and development teams. Functional testing validates that the software works correctly by comparing current functionality against detailed acceptance criteria. Functional testing can be performed in a variety of ways depending on the QA strategy, ranging from manual testing to automated testing, or from exploratory testing to test case-driven testing. Functional testing is one of the key focuses of the QA team.
- Non-Functional Testing: It’s critical to look at more than just the immediate functionality or features of the software, which is exactly where non-functional testing comes in. Non-functional testing examines other aspects of software quality, like scalability, security, accessibility, compatibility, and beyond.
- Manual Testing: Manual testing is a no-code way of assessing software quality, and involves interacting with the product in the way typical users would while looking for ways to break the software. This type of testing is often quick and less expensive and can be performed in a structured manner guided by clearly-defined test cases. It can also be in an exploratory manner, in which the QA team uses their independent judgment to “explore” the application and look for ways to break it which may not be clearly documented. QualityLogic’s team utilizes both approaches, providing the reliability of test case-driven testing while catching additional edge cases or defects by using exploratory testing in and around product areas defined in test cases.
- Automated Testing: Manual testing does have its limitations. Sometimes the same testing must be performed repeatedly over long periods of time. In cases like these, test automation may be much more efficient and cost-effective. Test automation involves developing executable scripts which interact with the application in an automated fashion, reporting whether interactions were successful or unsuccessful. Test automation is, however, more complicated to set up and implement. Having a partner to provide strategic guidance and specialized automation can radically reduce your time investment and help you avoid costly mistakes.
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Taking automation to the next level, CI/CD involves implementing and enforcing automation across building, testing, and release activities throughout the software development lifecycle. CI/CD practices can greatly accelerate code releases and quality outcomes, however, successful implementation is challenging for many businesses without the right partner.
- Usability Testing: Your team works hard to write code, but the overall user experience determines your application’s success or failure. It is not enough to build the product correctly. You must also build the correct product. Usability testing focuses less on correct functionality and more on the overall workflows, intuitiveness, and feel of your product in the hands of users. It deals with ensuring your product is meeting needs and expectations, and that it is easy and enjoyable to use.
- WCAG Compliance and Accessibility Testing: You have a great foundation for your software, but is it meeting the needs of all users? Accessibility testing helps ensure that your product complies with digital accessibility requirements, such as WCAG 2.1 AA, and is usable to individuals with physical or cognitive impairments. True accessibility requires both automation and manual testing, so find a partner that will help you deliver an exceptionally accessible experience by providing a blended team of individuals with and without impairments to provide real user feedback. Once receiving that feedback, the partner should then show you how to remediate issues and incorporate accessibility as an ongoing and sustainable part of your software development lifecycle.
- Load and Performance Testing: Don’t let your website or app become a victim of its own success. Be sure that your system is up to handling anticipated traffic, as well as peaks beyond what you anticipate, with well-orchestrated load and performance testing. A properly designed and executed load test is much more than testing your system for maximum traffic levels. While they may not cause a disastrous crash, sub-maximum levels can as easily degrade performance and cause failure over time. QualityLogic verifies your product’s performance at several load levels, both less-than and above what it is designed to do.
- Regression Testing: Your development and QA teams work hard to find and fix every defect in your code releases. A key part of that effort is creating tests that verify fixes and ensure that bugs are corrected, without impacting functionality in other areas. This process, called regression testing, is vital for any product release.
- Interoperability Testing: In an ideal world, a protocol definition is the gold standard of technology specification – it specifies exactly how devices negotiate and communicate with each other. The reality is that specifications are subject to interpretation, and interpretations vary widely. Even if your system meets the protocol specification exactly, you can still lose business and market reputation by failing to effectively interact with another system that doesn’t. QualityLogic’s interoperability testing examines these connections and resolves discrepancies between systems.
A holistic understanding of the project is key in developing the right QA testing strategy. The good news is you don’t have to take it all on yourself. A strategic partner like QualityLogic can do the heavy lifting by providing managed QA services, quality engineering, and test advisory to make your QA program a success.
2. What is a Managed Service in Software Testing?
A managed service model is the most popular of two primary service delivery models in the market, the other being staff augmentation. Whereas a staff augmentation provider focuses primarily on serving as an intermediary between you and testing headcount, a managed service provider takes accountability for the delivery of the work you outsource, managing not just the recruiting and staffing of the right talent to your program, but also the training and management of the testing team to meet predefined program outcomes. In a staff augmentation model, you primarily pay for the input of hours and your management team is fully responsible for delivery. In a managed service model, you primarily pay for the outcome and deliverables, leaving the managed service provider to handle all aspects of management and freeing up your internal teams to focus on their key roles and value delivery to your organization.
Whether you need additional quality assurance expertise to augment your internal QA team or need a partner to manage everything, consider integrating a QA managed service team. Experienced managed software testing service providers like QualityLogic make it a priority to understand not just your product but your team, culture, and customers, and focus on partnering to successfully deliver to your users as part of the team. QualityLogic offers maximum flexibility while rapidly integrating into the existing QA environment, tech stack, and development methodology.
Our QA managed services team can help define the problem statement and develop the strategic vision for the QA program, while also advising on testing priorities or the ROI of different quality investments such as automation. From there, QualityLogic can establish or refine the QA process and establish a team of dedicated software testing experts to build out the test suite and handle all aspects of quality, from manual functional testing through to automation, performance, accessibility, and beyond. We can implement existing test cases and provide advice on areas that need additional testing focus as well. A managed service team can operate in Agile, Scrum, DevOps, or similar methodologies as an integrated part of the team and software development lifecycle.
This team is typically led by a project manager who manages the program’s budget and deliverables, working with the client to adjust the team size to meet business needs, scope new efforts, and provide strategic consulting and advice. With strategic management and an expert delivery team, your managed services provider offers a highly-responsive turnkey testing team that drives quicker release times, lower cost, and higher quality.
3. Should I Outsource Software QA?
The decision to outsource is significant and the decision will have lasting impacts on your organization’s performance. Outsourcing in many ways is delegating, which either reduces your direct influence or significantly frees you up to focus on what makes your business most valuable. The commonly observed wisdom is to, in the words of Peter Drucker, “focus on your organization’s values, mission, and vision, and consider outsourcing everything else.”
With software companies, the development of the product itself is the essential purpose of the business, however, quality assurance serves to complement the core capabilities. For this reason, many organizations outsource quality assurance to improve their competitiveness and drive better overall performance. Adding an outsourced testing partner can allow you to access hard-to-find skillsets, reduce the cost of testing, add flexibility in headcount (meaning you do not need to commit to permanent overhead), and, with the right partner, adds seamless and fully-managed support that allows your team to stay focused on what they do best: building great software.
Here are some of the benefits of partnering with QualityLogic for software testing and managed QA services.
- Onshore test lab that provides exceptional value at competitive prices without the language, culture, time zone, and distance challenges of offshore outsourcing.
- A long-standing partner that has provided testing technology and services to enterprises and high-tech industries for over 30 years.
- QA engineering and testing services trusted by industry leaders.
- Technical depth, derived from a legacy of developing award-winning test tools.
- Open-source test tool expertise that allows us to deploy powerful industry standard test tools on our service projects.
- Forward-looking technology utilization, such as virtualization and cloud computing, allow us to scale our testing environment with minimal cost impact to you.
4. What is the Difference Between a QA Engineer and a Software Tester
There is a lot of jargon surrounding any kind of tech and the same is true of software testing. Software quality assurance engineers are sometimes confused with software testers, and while they both play a pivotal role in the process, they have very different responsibilities. The main difference is at what point they engage in the product development cycle.
While software testers test components of the software at different phases of product development, it is the software quality assurance engineer who is largely responsible for monitoring every phase of the software development process to ensure quality in design and functionality before release. They oversee the entire development process from end to end. QA engineers also work to make sure the product meets governmental guidelines and compliances and are responsible for managing the timeline for a software release.
5. What Else Can I Expect from QA Testing Services?
While the software and product advantages are tremendous, engaging the right QA software testing partner can also boost overall business performance in terms of revenue, customer acquisition, reduced churn, or other key metrics, by ensuring the quality of your releases outshines your competitors. QualityLogic thrives on helping clients accelerate their business growth by delivering the quality their users demand.
QualityLogic helps you:
- Get to market faster. Expand your testing team to get through a QA bottleneck or engage on an ongoing basis to make sure deadlines are met.
- Maintain control. Benefit from our ability to work seamlessly with your internal software testing teams and integrate with your agile development process — we adapt to you, to deliver what you expect.
- Eliminate costly mistakes. Your investment in expert quality assurance testing services pays off when you get it done right the first time.
- Maximize your ROI. Our testing team will be responsive, efficient, and accurate, and you only pay for the services you receive.
It’s clear that there is a lot involved when considering the right strategy for your QA software testing, but we hope we have provided some clarity and direction to start. If you have more questions on QA software testing, let’s connect!