Why Quality Assurance Is Essential to Any Delivery Team

Today, when the development sphere has gone way beyond the traditional software, most IT practitioners are aware of the value a quality assurance (QA) team can bring. Just a few years ago, this wasn’t the case, as far fewer companies engaged in QA practices. It wasn’t uncommon for developers to ask,  “Why we need a QA team?” Though these views are less commonly held today, QA as a practice is still vastly undervalued in many organizations.

People who define QA teams as the group that “just tests software” fail to realize the true goals and responsibility of quality assurance as a practice. In this article, we’ll explore why it matters and how to make the most out of your QA team.

The Importance of a QA Team

According to Wikipedia’s quality assurance definition, it’s “a way of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers.” There’s more to QA than this, however. Here are just a few of the numerous benefits a QA team can bring:

  1. QA teams help meet clients’ demands and expectations most fully
  2. They build trust with customers and beat the competition in the long run by producing a better product
  3. They save costs by detecting and fixing issues and flaws early in development
  4. They assist in setting and maintaining high quality standards and shift focus from detecting issues to their prevention

Investing into quality assurance is not only worthwhile, but indispensable, particularly given today’s fierce competition in IT. It is important to know and use QA team best practices for the desired results. So, let’s discuss how to create a good quality assurance team and run it effectively.

Creating a QA Team

When building a QA team, it’s crucial to keep in mind its key goals and choose the candidates based not only on their current skills but also on their potential for growth. Before you set off, make sure you have clearly defined QA team roles and responsibilities in order to choose the team members who are most suitable for the role.

Since quality assurance engineers often handle diverse tasks with different complexity levels, the best approach to compiling a team is not to look only for the best and brightest. A solid team is comprised of varying skill levels, not just all-stars. The team will benefit from members who are able to diligently handle routine, repetitive tasks, those who are perfection driven, people who tend to look deep into the root of an issue, team members with leadership qualities, techies, and even freshmen, open to learning new things

Managers should work to discover everyone’s talents and consider an individual’s unique skillset when assigning roles within the QA team.

Managing a QA team

Like any team, a QA team is strong and successful when it’s well organized, features a healthy atmosphere, motivation, a common goal. All of this is the result of good management. Typically, a quality assurance team lead possesses superior technical skills and expertise, but not necessarily the knowledge of how to run a QA team. Aside from the general guidelines on team-building, here are some industry specific recommendations that are worth considering and implementing:

  • Make sure that the requirements for each test case are specified clearly and understood by team members for better performance
  • Establish rules and processes for everyone to follow (you can involve all team members in their creation)
  • Track progress on all projects regularly
  • Encourage ongoing learning, improvement, and support initiatives
  • Provide each team member with the tools necessary for the most effective work
  • Nurture a friendly atmosphere within the team

The aforementioned can be successfully applied both to teams gathered “under one roof” and remote ones.

QA analysts often hear questions like, “Does Google have a QA team?” or “Does Facebook have a QA team?” The answer is yes! And so should you. Behind each successful and high-quality product, there’s a team of professionals who work on maintaining and improving its quality standard and serving a kind of guard against bugs and defects to stop them from getting to users. Quality assurance engineers help developers work on improving software by dealing with finding and fixing all kinds of flaws.

 

Pavel Chechat

by Pavel Chechat

Pavel is Forte Group’s Director of Quality Assurance

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