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 Quality Assurance practices. It wasn’t uncommon for developers to ask, “Why is quality control important?”, or “Why we need a QA team?” Still these views are less commonly held today, Quality Assurance 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 QA is important and matters for successful business outcomes.
The Importance of a QA Team
As stated in 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, after all. Here are just a few of the numerous benefits of quality assurance a skilled QA team can bring:
- QA teams help meet clients’ demands and expectations most fully
- They build trust with customers and beat the competition in the long run by producing a better product
- They save costs by detecting and fixing issues and flaws early in development
- 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 useful 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 usually 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 greater 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 software quality assurance 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 usually hear questions like, “Does Google have a QA team?” or “Does Facebook have a QA team?” The answer is yes! This way 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. A QA engineer questions the developers’ work on improving software by dealing with finding and fixing all kinds of flaws.