Quality assurance, or QA, is an important part of a design or development process. Its purpose is to detect process and design flaws early. Quality assurance helps build credibility and client confidence. It also works as a form of research in development, refining and improving process efficiency. This, in turn, increases a company’s competitiveness.
Why You Need One
QA consists of methodical processes, or test cases, which resolve a product’s ability to meet design requirements. Many companies throughout the world define these requirements according to the standardized ISO 9000 guidelines as a universal means of communication. QA creates scenarios for design tests based on customer requirements and expectations. It keeps design and production costs down by proactively identifying and searching for performance results early rather than testing complete prototypes. It’s also important to remember that QA is different than QC, or Quality Control. QA focuses on design flaws. QC focuses on manufacturing defects.
Keeping Track of Test Cases
Test cases involve a series of steps to ensure that a product or application design works as required. Keeping track of bugs as they come up, instead of finding ways to predict them, slows down how fast you can deal with them. Cases normally work in groups or test suites, which run a gamut of scenarios. Tests should also be plug and play while keeping the end-user in mind, allowing any tester to execute them.
A good practice for keeping track of test cases involves the following things:
- Giving each case a relevant title and clear description, communicating pertinent information and end expectations
- Providing setup requirements and test assumptions
- Providing a simple test definition with all the necessary data
- Providing clear expectations that determine a test pass or fail
- The test applying to future scenarios, cutting down on test creation time
What to Test
There are a few different things you should address when testing your software. For example, you should always do unit testing. This ensures that all the code in the software is working and doing everything it is supposed to do. This is the first type of testing that should be done when doing QA for your product and will make debugging easier. Next, your software should go through integration and system testing. This helps to make sure that the software works with other products the way it should and is functional as a whole. Other things that are important to test are the security of the software, its usability, performance, and compatibility in different environments that your users may be using. Testing all these things will help to ensure that your software is of the highest quality.
QA tests take some additional up-front time to set up but save on unexpected mishaps and mounting costs down the line. QA helps the developers and designers learn, keeps production on track, meets customer expectations and keeps company competitiveness high.
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