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How to set up QA processes from scratch

By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor -

Testing is essential for customer delight and retention. A well-tested software application will not cause unpleasant user experiences due to an undetected bug or a defect. As more people use a website or app, any bugs that might escape into production will be more visible and more likely to get negative reviews for the product from end-users.

This is when stakeholders have to start building and managing a QA team. It usually starts with hiring a senior Quality assurance testing professional and building a QA team. This article offers a few guidelines for this phase by detailing how to set up a Quality Assurance process that fulfills the organization’s objectives and requirements.

Common Problems in QA Process

When establishing the quality assurance testing process, a few issues may come up:

1. How and where to store test documentation?

  • Each quality assurance testing professional usually works on multiple projects simultaneously. In that case, it’s essential to securely categorize and store test data and documentation.
  • Initially, something like Google Drive works, but as the number of projects and team members expands, management will be better off transferring the information to a more professional test management tool.
  • With BrowserStack Test Management, let your QA teams effectively collaborate and manage test cases. Manage manual and automated test cases in a central repository. Moreover, track test cases & test runs through two-way binding via Jira App

How to set up QA processes from scratch

2. How to train new QAs?

As a QA department grows, newly hired personnel must be trained and informed about the processes, ongoing projects, and other data relevant to the team.

  • Handle this by creating some knowledge base (perhaps a cookbook) that would contain how the particular quality assurance testing team works, what tools it uses, common bottlenecks, best practices, and the QA flow followed on projects.
  • Once a new QA engineer joins, they can find all the information in one convenient location.
  • However, remember to keep adding new information as QA processes keep evolving.

3. How to ensure comprehensive testing?

While working on multiple projects, testers may miss out on testing certain features or functionalities, thus allowing bugs to pass into production. To prevent such omissions, create a practical software testing checklist that details exactly what to test, check for, and verify.

4. How to account for personnel changes?

Let’s say a QA is working on a big project and needs to go on leave in the middle of it. The project has to be transferred to another QA engineer who might not have any context on the project or the software structure.

  • Instead of going through the entire project every time someone new comes on board, it’s easier to create a map detailing the structure and flow of each project.
  • If someone new is involved in a project, they must refer to this map to understand the product and the methods required to test it.
  • Through user management, access controls, and version controls of the documents, this problem can be managed well.

Why should QA Processes be implemented?

Quality Assurance for Software Testing ensures the product is built correctly without too many iterations. A worthwhile QA process clearly defines requirements, gives testers a thorough understanding of the features, and gives them a blueprint for progressing.

Note that testing should not follow development but should support it. Ideally, testing activities should occur in parallel with development – in other words, test code every time it is committed to the repository rather than waiting for the entire website or app to come together. In other words, one must execute the QA process in Agile ways.

One might think, “What is the first step of QA?” However, before implementing a QA process, one must understand the stages of a thorough, inclusive Quality Assurance pipeline.

Stages of the QA Process

1. Analyze Requirements

It costs more to fix a bug detected during testing than prevent them at the stage of requirements design. QA professionals should be involved in analyzing and defining functional and non-functional software requirements. QAs must be offered consistent, comprehensive, traceable requirements and marked. This helps the QA team design tests specifically tailored to the software being tested.

2. Plan the tests

The information gained during the requirements analysis phase is used for test planning. The test plan should comprise the software testing strategy, the scope of testing, the project budget, and established deadlines. It should also outline the types and levels of testing required, methods, and tools for tracking bugs and allocate resources and responsibilities to individual testers.

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3. Design the tests

QA teams must craft test cases and checklists encompassing the software requirements at this stage. Each test case must contain conditions, data, and steps to validate each functionality. Every test must also define the expected test result so that testers know what to compare actual results to.

  • It is recommended that QAs start with a measure of exploratory testing to familiarize themselves with the software. This would help with designing appropriate test cases.
  • If an automation strategy has been defined in the test scope, this is the stage for creating automation testing QA scenarios.
  • This is also the stage for preparing the staging environment for execution. This environment should closely mirror the production environment regarding hardware, software, and network configurations.
  • Other characteristics like databases and system settings should also be closely mimicked.

4. Execute Tests and Report Defects

Tests start at the unit level, with developers performing unit tests. Then, the quality assurance testing team runs tests at API and UI levels. Previously designed test cases run manual tests. All bugs detected are submitted in a defect tracking system for effective defect management.

  • Use BrowserStack Test Observability which offers test reporting, precision debugging, flaky test detection on the same easy-to-use dashboard.
  • Time-travel through every test with access to every log. Fix faster with Smart Failure Analysis, which learns from your testing and identifies the causes of test failures.
  • Detect and fix flaky tests with intelligent suggestions or mute them to avoid false alarms.

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5. Run Re-Tests and Regression Tests

Once bugs have been found, submitted, and fixed, QAs test the functions again to ensure they didn’t miss any anomalies. They also run regression tests to verify that the fixes have not affected the existing functions.

6. Run Release Tests

Once developers issue a release notification detailing a list of already implemented features, fixed bugs, recurring issues, and limitations, the QA team must identify the functionalities affected by these changes. Then, the team must design modified test suites that cover the scope of the new build.

The QA team must also perform smoke tests to ensure each build is stable. If the test passes, modified test suites are run, and a report is generated.

Set up the QA process for Agile environments.

Use a few simple methods to align the QA process with Agile development principles:

1. Make QA result-oriented

Agile development methods prioritize smaller goals and targets to be handled in smaller increments with greater speed. To fit into this practice, QA processes must follow the same tactics – faster, more dynamic, and more focused on specific objectives.

2. Prioritize transparency

Transparency benefits any developmental approach but is essential for procuring Agile success. Testers must be very clear on what the software is expected to do, what features to test in each sprint, and what “good results” look like. This clarity helps teams collaborate, test faster, and deliver results within short deadlines.

3. Make quality assurance testing an ongoing activity

Do not postpone testing until the end of the development cycle. As mentioned before, tests need to take place after every code commit. It must happen throughout each sprint in a way that enables teams to identify issues early on.

4. Implement DevOps

DevOps apply Agile practices to QA and Ops teams, streamlining the build, validation, deployment, and development of software. It eliminates conflicts between development and QA teams, along with multiple other advantages:

  • Provides greater control over the production environment to developers
  • Improves the frequency of deployment
  • Lowers failure rate of new software releases
  • Improves mean time to recovery
  • Increases speed and quality of released software
  • Achieves faster time to market

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Tools Required for Quality Assurance Testing

Every QA team needs the right tools to ensure they are testing software comprehensively and not missing bugs that users might find in production. To start with, let’s talk about testing on real devices.

No matter the kind of test being executed, QA teams must have access to real devices to test on. There is no way to release a website or app to the public without testing it in real user conditions. Whether it’s manual testing or automation testing, real device testing is non-negotiable.

Without an in-house lab containing the latest devices, a cloud-based option provides the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, the tool should be able to support the efforts and activities of teams of any size without compromising the speed or accuracy of results.

BrowserStack’s Live for Large Teams allows the QA team to add as many members to a plan as required. Teams can add unlimited members to their planks. Every tester can run simultaneous tests on 3000+ real browsers and devices – including the latest devices and latest versions of leading browsers.

  • No interruptions or wait times
  • Effortless team management with in-built facilities to create sub-teams, allocate licenses and enforce access control across teams.

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Setting up a QA team can be challenging, especially for a new organization. Doing it without some pre-conceived structure exacerbates the challenge unnecessarily. By detailing the QA pipeline, this article seeks clarity so that QA managers can set up their teams quickly. They can also gear up their teams for maximum efficiency, quick project completion, and visible success.

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