High quality. These are the ultimate “holy grail” words in any business niche, project life-cycle, service implementation, etc. It’s easy to save on a “small” thing or two – the long-standing results of such “cost-effectiveness”, however, are truly nasty in 9 out of 10 cases. This is an especially relevant state of things during the current global quarantine situation.
The virus caused a full-on crisis that touched most existing commercial directions and made IT market players shift focus towards the importance of software testing, QA, support, and maintenance. After all, regular user traffic has grown tenfold and this interactive intensity won’t diminish for some time.
Why is Thorough Software Testing Especially Important Right Now?
The “all-consuming” global COVID-19 outbreak creates huge traffic of online users. There is but no choice for everybody to go online when the need to stay home is, pretty much, destiny-defining. This is why it is even more important than always to keep software resources in check and running smoothly.
For one thing, each and every provider of software that connects to the web in its operation must be prepared to handle rising stress-load. On top of that, people that are right now bored out of their minds at home have all the time in the world to swipe through tons of offers, looking for something truly standing-out, reliable, and satisfying.
In a broader sense, like all areas of world business, IT software production is significantly slowed down by the quarantine situation. This means that it’s all about quality rather than quantity for current users. People simply won’t bear any downtime in operation, lack of functionality or bugs, preferring to try better performing alternatives immediately.
Relevant risks of poor testing
When it comes to business and commercial products, there is a lot at stake and not everything depends on the size of investments. Rather, the all-around approach (QA and testing cycles based on a wide range of up-to-date tools and methods) beats the pricing and status of a “hyped-up” QA/testing agency.
Why is quality assurance important to implement with all dedication? In particular, the following risks of testing readymade software half-heartedly grow in significance by the day in the current situation:
- Losing clients/users – software users have their demands and expectations. These are the pillars of your business success. Undermine their anticipation with design or performance flaws and you will get yourself a bunch of dissatisfied clients leaving unhappy reviews online;
- Losing money – it is easy to fix bugs and optimize software’s “rough patches” at the pre-launch stage. Once the readymade solution is out there in the public, however, everything becomes that much more difficult. Thus, post-release QA and bug-fixing results in lost profits, decreased productivity, and lots of time wasted due to software downtime. For instance, in 2013, Target lost over $300 million on the Black Friday security breach. Had the security measures been reinforced beforehand, such a giant financial and reputation loss would have been easily prevented.
- Losing the ability to compensate initial expenses – getting back to the importance of wholesome testing, if you focus solely on investments (the “richer”, more expensive QA/testing cycle, the better), you can get a bunch of bugs and errors eventually with no money left to fix them timely;
- Losing reputation – even a single nasty software experience provided by your brand may spoil your business reputation long-term. Thus, Google’s good name lost its decency for many users when the Nest thermostat glitched back in 2016, leaving ALL customers freezing for a few days.
- Losing future potential – with the underdeveloped software solution launched into release, you have to polish it up instead of expanding the functionality and growing promotional opportunities further.
What QA Specialists Do
QA is something more than your regular software testing. The generalized QA practice includes a whole complex of optimization procedures. Rather than only making software meet functional requirements, this approach also covers user experience, design trendiness, and other aspects outside of “dry” software performance.
QA is simply irreplaceable when it comes to introducing projects in niches with high competition. As you may have heard – quality is not only about how it works but also about how it feels. QA is focused on reaching quality all-around.
Thus, a QA expert handles:
- QA/testing planning – composition of a test plan and QA strategies, assessment of the general scope of work and further tasks;
- Development of testing scenarios – the selection of testing frameworks and environments, creation of test cases and testing scripts;
- Implementation of testing scenarios – from standard testing procedures to functional testing to smoke, system, and load testing;
- Reporting – respective reports on results of testing procedures.
All in all, having a dedicated QA force at your side, your chances to stand out among competitors in your business niche increase dramatically.
Avoiding the Risks & Preventing Flaws
There are a bunch of ways you can guarantee smooth performance, hence the ultimate success of your software solution in the conditions of increased demand and as a whole. Non-standard approaches, advanced tools, and well tried-and-tested practices help a lot. However, keep in mind that it is best to implement all the following methods in complex and beforehand.
Combining automated and manual testing
Automated testing has reached a new level of efficiency with advanced tools and in-depth approaches. The Continuous Integration and Delivery practice (CI/CD), for instance, make QA and product delivery as a whole more accessible, intuitive and rapid.
In particular, CI implies that the software code is available in a centralized repository for different experts to access and improve when the need be. CD, on the other hand, makes it possible to deliver the continuously optimized code to the production, which gives more flexibility (fix bugs and optimize “on the go) and leeway before the full-on market introduction.
In addition to that, Big Data and AI technologies allow saving lots of time, effort, and costs while “polishing up” software. But you shouldn’t stop on that, as manual effort should still be involved while working on certain parts of the project. For instance, parts of the project that should be worked on continuously, sorting and description of reporting data are better off handled by experienced manual testers.
All in all, automation can replace a manual expert only to a certain degree. That’s why it is best to reinforce automated tests with live specialist input to grant the highest quality of testing and QA. As a matter of fact, an expert is still required to launch and monitor automated testing procedures as well.
Useful automated testing tools
CodeceptJS – a testing framework focused on polishing up UI via a huge range of end-to-end testing features and simple, time-saving approaches;TestCafe – an efficient open-source solution for extra end-to-end testing that helps to cover all the basic stages from starting browsers for testing to generating reports based on the received results;Appium – a versatile open-source framework for intuitive test automation via WebDriver protocol (a convenient user simulation interface) and numerous other tools for rapidly testing native, hybrid, or web mobile solutions;Serenity BDD – an automated acceptance tests writing library that boasts in-depth reports and interactive (living) testing documentation that is utterly accessible to analyze;SpecFlow – a handy collaborative framework for .NET-based behavior-driven development that helps produce great living documentation with simple syntax and wide test automation capabilities.
Useful manual testing tools
TestRail – a centralized tool for creating test cases and test complexes that easily integrates with other QA software;qTest – an accessible yet highly efficient tool for Agile and QA workflows that helps to accelerate the essential QA procedures;CucumberStudio – a QA/testing collaborative platform focused on Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) for agile teams that provides great test automation, convenient visualization, and handy expert collaboration capabilities.
For rest-API testing
Swagger Codegen – a convenient generator of client SDKs and server stubs for various APIs to help specialists better move on to and focus on the implementation of a particular API;REST-assured – an efficient tool that makes it simpler for experts to get around Java-based REST API testing and validation without going too far;
For load testing
Apache JMeter – an open-source Java-focused app for functional behavior load testing as well as testing of performance by simulating a stress-load on a single or group of servers, network, or individual objects.
Useful CI/CD tools
CircleCI – a handy tool for rapid software introduction that can be used both in cloud and physical infrastructure for simple debugging, automated parallelization, quick tests, etc.;Jenkins – a widely popular open-source Java-based automation server with tons of useful plugins for easy testing environment configurations, creating distributed builds, and expanding one’s QA wisdom with the help of a huge community;TeamCity – an insightful CI tool that allows running parallel builds at the same time in different environments, conveniently assigning roles, and reusing parent project configurations in subprojects.Travis CI – an efficient open-source testing and deployment tool for scaling software infrastructure builds on demand that offers a profitable tariff plan based on the particular needs.
Benefits of the combined approach
- Full testing coverage – combining manual and automated testing tools, you get true end-to-end testing, which is the only right way to go if you target high quality;
- Boosted flexibility of processes – the manual input allows experts to adapt the software to any shifting conditions while automated capabilities reinforce the results;
- Time-efficiency, including faster time to market – it’s better to cover the whole spectrum of bug-fixing and optimization procedures at once, then to patch the essential flaws in the future.
The implementation of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence methods for tackling QA and testing challenges has come a long way. And while these approaches are still considered to be in early stages in the global IT community, ML/AI-based testing already shows great results.
Thus, ML/AI-powered algorithms are sufficiently used in-house to develop advanced test scripts and cases, QA data and reports. Making each of these aspects much more in-depth, this approach is looking to become a real powerhouse in QA and testing. IT companies are looking to also get smart prioritization of test cases, assignment and classification of faults, and quality prediction capacities.
Useful ML/AI testing tools
Testim – an advanced tool for in-depth automated functional testing that employs ML and AI to accelerate automated tests all-around, including authoring, execution, and maintenance;Sauce Labs – a cloud-based test automation tool that provides a huge number of testing environments and emulators (over 800 browser-OS combinations and 200 emulators and simulators of mobile software) for continuous testing and employs ML/AI to gather and analyze user production data for smarter regression testing;TestCraft – a great AI-powered addition to Selenium for regression and continuous testing, as well as AI-accelerated testing in tons of available environments without any required coding skills.
ML/AI testing benefits
- Predictive QA and testing models – AI-based prediction capabilities help experts make smart, pinpointed decisions as to what components, where, and when to test for the best result;
- Smart analytics – powerful automated intelligent analytics allow to better detect and define faults, clarify areas of risk, detalize test coverage aspects, and much more;
- Intelligent visualization – a great convenient “upper layer” of QA/tests management which makes it easy for live experts to define testing areas, assign tasks, and, generally, find their way around the testing procedures.
Advanced testing environments
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to increasingly grow in popularity and spectrum of use. And the COVID-19 pandemic gives its development a significant push with the increased need to provide all kinds of services for people remotely.
The IoT network architecture implies several pieces of software operating in numerous environments and hardware integrations. This requires lots of manual effort and experience in the field from specialized experts. That’s where the arising challenge for testers and QA specialists lies. And that’s why 2020 will surely see the expansion of testing data and environments approaches, which you shouldn’t miss out on.
Useful IoT testing tools
Shodan – a handy tool for keeping all network-connected devices in check, tracking their operational state, and monitoring the traffic flow;SOASTA CloudTest – a centralized web platform for mobile functional/performance testing and web-based functional/performance testing that allows to simulate millions of user activities coming from dispersed geographical location for improving IoT user experience;Wireshark – free, open-source traffic analyzing software for monitoring regular and unicast traffic in dispersed interfaces with some extra filtering and sorting features.
Testing environments expansion benefits
- Containerized and cloud-based testing environments – the approaches to definitely emerge globally in 2020 that make QA and testing procedures more accessible, testing data more reliably stored, and the related risks less frequent;
- Wider test coverage – distributed systems need more consistent, widely covering methods, which the IoT in combination with ML/AI capabilities readily brings to the table;
- Focus on emerging markets – working with the IoT-based testing practices, teams get to tackle fresh market grounds and reach for modern appearing QA horizons where there are lots of chances to stand out at the start.
There are specialists for hire that know all the ins and outs of end-to-end software testing and can look at your readymade solution from a fresh perspective. Thus, hiring a third-party QA and software testing team, you get a bunch of dedicated experts with up-to-date tools taking care of your solution’s performance, security, scalability, etc.
- More focused experience and expertise – if you hire a QA/testing team, you get a team of experts specializing in these fields particularly. Thus, company management and other staff may continue keeping the whole business afloat and optimize workflow while QA of a certain project is handled by dedicated specialists.
- Faster time to market – hired independent testers aren’t distracted by other connected tasks. They are fully dedicated to your particular project, keeping it in the spotlight until their work is complete. This allows saving lots of time as compared to the identical amount of efforts made by an in-house team that has many tasks to handle;
- Ultimately higher quality of software right upon the release – third-party teams work based solely on the goals you set. They provide a great opportunity to get expertise-driven high quality while fulfilling all the business and customer objectives.
Opportunities That COVID-19 Crisis Opens
On the flip side of things, these difficult for business times can be exploited to your advantage if you know just how to properly approach the current market. Thus, according to IDC, India’s IT market, despite all the challenges it experiences, is expected to grow in certain aspects as well.
For instance, you can provide consulting services in various IT fields to build a great strategic foundation by helping other businesses overcome corporate and managerial challenges during the COVID-19 times. Help others while keeping your own enterprise above the water and gaining good profits.
The IT job market is visibly transforming: while it can seem that the job seekers have fewer options now, the situation can be quite the opposite. The employers give more freedom — working remotely is becoming standard for many workplaces. Such flexibility allows those looking for software testing jobs to consider opportunities from different cities and even countries.
Moreover, remote capabilities are in the highest demand right now. If you have an efficient remote communication/collaboration/management solution to offer, a good share of market attention is in your pocket (provided, of course, it is truly high-quality and promoted accordingly).
Quality Assurance in Software Testing – Summary for 2020
Based on all the above-said – yes, you do need to focus DRAMATICALLY more on testing. Thorough testing means higher quality. Not all companies, however, can afford to gather an in-house team of qualified QA and testers with a proper tech stack and set of devices to work on a regular basis. Many companies simply don’t need such services regularly.
QAwerk is here to guarantee the maximum quality of your readymade projects. We have specialists with in-depth expertise and extensive arcenal of both software and hardware solution for end-to-end testing. Contact us to pave the way for a truly successful piece of software in the market. We will help you use the current crisis situation in your favor.