Why would you need Quality Assurance?

Many companies still have the testing done by their developers, managers or end-users only. This negatively impacts the quality of the end-product, the satisfaction of the client and the end-user's experience. In addition, it distracts developers and other team members from their core function and takes up a chunk of their valuable time. Fortunately, more and more companies discover the advantages of adding a dedicated, specialized and qualified Quality Assurance (QA) Specialist to their development team. That said, of course every team member is responsible for the quality of his part in the project:

  • A Developer checks his (or his colleague's) code
  • A Web Designer checks the lay-out
  • A Project Manager checks the overall quality of the product
  • Your Client checks the usability and functionality of the application

So, why do you still need a QA Specialist? Here are the 5 reasons:
1. Save money and time
2. A QA Specialist sees more
3. Checking ≠ highly structured testing
4. A QA Specialist has an overall view
5. A QA Specialist makes it easier for the developer

1. Early discovery of bugs saves lots of money (and time)

Although a company might prefer an extra developer instead of a QA Specialist, a QA Specialist can save a lot of money when he's involved as early as possible in the project. A good QA Specialist can even find bugs and errors before the software is built by reviewing the specifications and other technical documentation. During the project, he will support the developers by testing small pieces of software and writing clear bug reports. A late discovery of bugs or missing functionalities makes it harder to fix and when they are discovered by end users or clients, you have to deal with reputation damage. Back to top

2. A QA Specialist sees more

Everyone has blind spots when it comes to his own work. That is just a human thing and now and then you need help from someone with a fresh view. Besides that, testing is for many team members not a favorite task. A developer just want to develop, a designer just wants to design, a project manager just wants to manage the project. Testing should be just a very basic and small part of their jobs. Intensive testing can be done by the QA Specialist . Who just wants to test. Back to top

3. Checking is not the same as highly structured testing

There are many different levels of testing:

  • Checking that it works
  • Testing the happy flows in one browser
  • Testing the happy flows and exceptional paths in different browser and Windows versions
  • ...

This is called coverage. A QA Specialist will choose the right coverage based on:

  • Risks (e.g. payment systems, databases containing personal details)
  • Complexity of the software
  • Project budget
  • Time

A QA Specialist will also choose the best mix of testing techniques. Back to top

4. A QA Specialist has an overall view

A good QA Specialist is in contact with all of the team members so he can tell you a lot about the development processes and the system:

  • Quality of the software (statistics of reported and fixed bugs, weak and strong parts of the system)
  • Correct implementation of specifications defined by the client
  • Progress of the project

He can be a great support to the project manager. Back to top

5. A QA Specialist can ease the job of a developer

When an end user will find a bug, he will probably say something like: "The button on the About page doesn't work for me" When the developer can't reproduce it, he has to get back to the reporter of this bug for more information. When a QA Specialist finds the same bug, he will report all relevant information: "Tested in Windows 8, browser IE 10. Action: I click on button "Next" on the About page. Actual results: I'm not redirected but I see the following message: "javascript error X" . Expected results: I should be redirected to the next page, according to Requirements paragraph 11.2. Note: in Firefox, this button works correctly." The QA Specialist will always add a screenshot to his bug report when necessary. With this information, a developer doesn't lose time with asking for missing information or testing by himself but he can usually reproduce and fix the bug immediately. Back to top