As a software development company, we know that every project is different and has its own unique characteristics and challenges.
It is also well known that there is no magic recipe when it comes to developing software projects or quality assurance processes. However, there are key elements to consider that can ensure grade A quality assurance.
1. Know the Business Logic
There are different roles within a software project, such as the Product Owner. It is very common for this person to have all the information regarding the product. In general terms, the Product Owner only shares information directly related to the part of the project that is going to be developed.
This is -without a doubt- good, but it can also be counterproductive as it can decrease a quality engineer's scope; this may cause failures when integrating the final product. It is important to know the business logic behind a product to have ample quality.
Working with comprehensive knowledge of the business’ logic allows the quality engineer to have a more heuristic approach to the project. The more investigative an approach, the wider the testing coverage. This results in fewer defects and reduces costs.
2. Know the Programming Language
There is a programming language for every need, be it for mobile, desktop, or web apps. Though it is almost impossible to know all programming languages, it is essential to have knowledge of those that apply to projects that a quality engineer will be working on.
It is vital for the quality engineer to know the programming language that is being used to develop the application and, if possible, the logic behind it. Will a component be used? What is it for? Does it depend on other components to work properly?
Knowing the answer to these types of questions helps quality engineers widen their perspective so that when an error arises, they can not only report it but provide possible solutions for it as well. This helps developers in turn and allows them to find solutions faster, reducing the time it takes to fix errors. As a result, the team can achieve faster project delivery.
3. Let the Quality Engineer Take Ownership
As we mentioned before, the Product Owner plays an important role in every software project. However, it is important for the quality engineer to take ownership of the project as this contributes to effective decision making.
A quality engineer that does not take ownership executes tests but does not provide the client with any valuable advice.
On the other hand, a quality engineer that takes ownership and knows the project’s limitations can provide solutions, valuable suggestions, and advice that can help with decision making when test results, time estimations, quality assurance efforts, or any other specific topic related to version releases, are presented.
Last but not least, a quality engineer that takes ownership will provide further assurance for the client regarding the product’s quality and details.
4. Let the Quality Engineer Provide Solutions
From the very beginning of software quality assurance, it was understood that a quality engineer’s main task was to report errors. Yet this is only one of their multiple tasks.
Quality engineers also look for solutions. When the business’ logic and programming knowledge are included in the required skill set, they become part of the development squad.
As quality engineers take ownership and report errors, they become solution makers, seeing things from the client’s perspective on top of providing possible root causes for any bugs. This, as we mentioned before, reduces error impact and results in faster delivery.
Quality engineers are not ‘error reporters’, they provide solutions and bring a fresh perspective to the development team. The overall mission is not only to deliver a bug-free product but to make sure said product also adds value.
These four key factors are all interconnected and can help us improve our quality assurance process, making it better with each iteration and allowing us to achieve repeatable successes in our projects.