4 Challenges Every QA faces and How to solve them
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - November 19, 2019
In the software development process, QA testing occupies a unique position. Testers are responsible for ensuring that every piece of code developed in a project is bug-free and operates in alignment with technical and business requirements.
This means QA engineers must possess a comprehensive understanding of each project and what it means to accomplish. Additionally, they must have clarity on what can go wrong in the operation of a certain website or app. They must also keep abreast of technical and digital innovations so that they know if there are newer bugs or threats to test for.
Given the purview of a QA tester’s job, it is natural that they will face numerous challenges in their day-to-day tasks. This article intends to highlight the most common of those challenges, as well as suggest ways to resolve them.
1. Last-Minute Changes to Requirements
It is quite common to change project requirements mid-sprint in agile development projects. While this is frustrating for the entire team, testers can be especially affected. They might have to redo the entire scope of testing since even the smallest changes to a codebase needs to be run through multiple tests to ensure its stability and compatibility with existing code.
For example, if a browser introduces an update, testers will have to perform browser compatibility testing to ensure that the website’s existing features run flawlessly even after the update. On the other hand, if a new feature is added to the website last-minute, cross browser testing is necessary to ensure that the feature works perfectly across multiple browsers.
Naturally, last-minute changes can be quite hard for testers to handle, especially if there are tight deadlines within which to deliver results.
There’s not much of a workaround here since the digital world is constantly evolving. It is entirely possible that a feature needs to be changed or modified due to some changes in user feedback or software updates. For example, a feature might have to be modified because of a recent browser update.
Testers must expect that this will occur frequently. If requirement changes come through towards the end of a sprint, testers can opt for running as many tests as possible within the time available. It must be made clear before the project begins that last-minute changes to software may not be fully tested within predetermined deadlines.
By communicating the real-world limitations of testing, QAs can be sure that they do not appear unreasonable at the end of a sprint. Additionally, developers and other stakeholders will also be aware of what can be expected from QAs and can set timelines accordingly.
2. Inadequate information on user stories
A tester’s primary job is to formulate test cases based on possible user journeys. However, to create test cases, QAs must have in-depth information about user journeys. This information must come from product owners who have the best understanding of what the software is expected to do and how users are likely to navigate it.
However, if the product owner(s) themselves do not have clarity on user journeys, they cannot communicate it to the QAs. The QAs, in turn, cannot create test cases that will comprehensively test the website or app for flaws in user experience. To a large extent, this defeats the purpose of QA testing.
This is where testers must somewhat depend on their own judgment. Instead of relying on detailed requirements and user stories, testers can start thinking about high-level scenarios a user would be likely to face when using certain software. For example, instead of waiting for full clarification about a feature, testers can formulate a set of likely user scenarios based on the website or app concept.
When test cases are written on the basis of high-level use cases, changes in feature details will result in minor variations in test scripts. This is because the context and the wider user journey remains the same. Hence, QAs will have to make less of an effort in this regard.
3. Inadequate Experience with Test Automation
Agile development projects require testers to be technically competent, especially with regard to Integration Testing and API Testing. They are also required to create scripts for UI automation tests with automation tools such as Selenium.
If a tester is mostly experienced with manual, exploratory testing, they will face major challenges in delivering results with the speed expected in an automation-driven project.
Anyone looking to work in QA testing should have some knowledge of programming languages frequently used to write test scripts. Ruby and Java are common examples of such languages.
Even if a tester is familiar with languages, they should also be proficient with the right tools for the job. As mentioned before, Selenium is highly effective for browser automation purposes and knowledge of how it works is very helpful.
Similarly, JMeter is an open-source performance testing tool that is also quite easy to pick up and quite useful in automation scenarios.
4. Inadequate collaboration between testers and developers
Professional tension between development and testing teams is still quite common. Development teams might feel like testing is a final stage process and testers do not need anything apart from a list of user journeys and technical requirements.
However, testers end up having a difficult time identifying flaws in the code if they are not acquainted with the development process. If they do not understand how a piece of software works, they will have trouble creating test scripts that can adequately detect all possible bugs.
Collaboration between developers and QAs facilitates better testing. By sharing knowledge with testers from the beginning of development, developers equip testers to make better decisions about what tests to run to ensure software quality and functionality.
When testers are empowered to make informed decisions, developers will also benefit since comprehensive testing of software components ensures that they are decidedly ready for deployment after every sprint.
Addressing the challenges above will not only make the lives of QA testers much easier but will streamline a software development process to make it more effective and time-efficient. By making it easy for QAs to do their job well, organizations can ensure that their software products are developed to meet all business requirements and function in the best possible way.