Is your QA team ready for Remote Testing?
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - September 25, 2020
In a world with continually lower attention spans and increasing demands for top-shelf quality, websites and apps cannot afford to provide anything less than flawless function and visuals. Consequently, Quality Assurance (QA) is an indispensable part of modern software development. To release software without adequately comprehensive QA will inevitably lead to negative customer reviews, disrupted revenue streams, and a serious loss in reputation.
QA engineers don’t just run manual and automated tests to determine product quality. They contribute to development by setting standards for quality requirements the team/organization must follow. They are also responsible for training potential customers/users for user acceptance training and selecting relevant tools such as Selenium, Appium, Espresso, etc.
Thus, when the pandemic hit and testers (like everyone else) had to shift operations to their home, there arose genuine concerns about how effective QA activities would be.
Though remote QA work is not entirely new (plenty of individual testers work remotely), managing remote QA teams is a recent phenomenon. Like all other shifts in global work patterns, QA from home must be adjusted to.
To evaluate if a particular QA team is ready to conduct remote testing and delivery requisite results, certain conditions must be met. This article will outline some of those conditions so that QA managers know what is required to coordinate their teams and continue delivering quality at acceptable speeds.
5 Effective Tips for every Remote QA Testing Team
- Detailed Communication
Regular communication does not come naturally for remote teams. If it did, office spaces would not be required. Lack of adequate communication is especially common when new employees are being onboarded.
There needs to be a codified set of rules or guidelines to establish clear communication in remote QA teams. These include specifics on when meetings should be held, what tools to use, the primary modes of communication – email, video chat, text chat, etc. While most teams do have understandings regarding these within themselves, it is still best to have documentation available to help with onboarding and reduce conflict in remote work settings.
- Focused tracking of progress
In a remote QA setup, tracking a team’s progress – what went wrong, what worked, and the learnings – helps ensure that bugs are not missed, and product quality does not suffer. Managers need to confirm that the team has clear targets for each day, week, and month. These targets can vary from the number of tests run, the number of features tested, the number of bugs detected, and so forth.
Consider implementing a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) system of some kind that assigns a number, label, or color to the performance. For example:
10: Needs Improvement
These numbers can determine team performance as frequently as necessary. Managers can keep track of how their team fares each day and get a handle on any roadblocks or disruptions before they severely affect product quality.
- Single-source Reporting and Result Evaluation
When working in isolation, it is vital to generate detailed reports on completed tasks for clients so that they do not feel neglected or out of the loop. In addition to the targets described in the previous point, this helps managers stay on top of their team’s progress.
A management tool such as Jira lets managers accomplish several tasks in this vein:
- Remote planning each task
- Separate development tasks from QA tasks
- Evaluate the team’s productivity
- Identify areas requiring improvement or refinement
- Generate reports on errors found, time taken to test, and changes made
- Using the right tools
All remote work needs the right tools to be accomplished quickly and without hassle. This is especially true of testing because testers need access to real browsers and devices, automation frameworks, and related resources to get their work done.
Outside of tools for communication, project management, report generation, and the like, a QA engineer on Work from Home needs tools dedicated to running test cases on real devices, browsers, and operating systems. Obviously, this test infrastructure needs to be on the cloud.
Additionally, the tool must allow testers to work as a team. This means that instead of running tests on individual plans, teams can get on a test plan that allows them to work together.
BrowserStack’s Live for Large Teams allows QA managers and senior professionals to add as many users as they want to a single testing plan. This means that every tester on a team can work on a single plan. Additionally, Live for Large Teams provides the following features:
- Unlimited Users: Add as many users as you like. Give access to as many users as you want at affordable pricing. No need to share accounts.
- Advanced Access Control: Create sub-teams, customize dashboard views, and allocate parallel threads to teams based on their testing needs.
- Single Sign-On: Simplified login experience. Integrate with your existing identity provider for authentication.
- Real Device Access: Every tester on a plan (no matter how many) will be able to test on 2000+ real browsers and real devices. No emulators. Legacy versions are also available.
- Personal Device Cloud: Instant access from anywhere for every tester on the team. Real-time debugging with integrated dev tools.
- Real user conditions: GPS and IP geolocation(test websites from over 45+ countries), Natural gestures, Screen Orientation
Live for Large Teams allows users to test from anywhere at any time. It is ideal for remote testers because it lets every tester access BrowserStack work from anywhere, collaborate with integrations like Jira, Slack, GitHub, and Trello. With instant access to 2000+ browsers and devices, Dev and QA teams can focus on testing without worrying about device availability.
It also provides fast feedback for every developer since they can reproduce and debug on any mobile device.
Additionally, it is incredibly cost-effective for large testing teams because of lower per-user pricing. QA managers can lock in a price initially and keep adding users with no extra cost.
- Established bug documentation guidelines
QA from home or office is all about finding those bugs quickly, effortlessly, and in substantial numbers. In remote QA operations, greater focus needs to be on establishing bug documentation guidelines. Since each tester is working on relative isolation, they are more likely to miss out on team norms in this regard,
Bear in mind that even a single bug could consume a strenuous amount of resources to resolve. To ensure such incidents are minimized, testers must have standards to follow when identifying and recording bugs. Consistent bug reporting (ideally including screenshots) is essential. Thankfully, multiple tools such as Jira and GitHub facilitate these functions, thus reducing the time needed to analyze and troubleshoot bugs.
The significance of QA cannot be overstated. Thus, porting comfortably to remote QA must be a massive priority for every software development team. There can be no compromise on the quality of testing because it is impossible to release high-quality software without a consistent focus on QA.