Have you ever wondered what Quality Assurance (QA) is? Or what it means for your business? You’re in luck, this blog post takes you through what Quality Assurance is, why it’s important in software development and for a business, all from the perspective of a QA Engineer.
So, what is Quality Assurance?
According to everyone’s favourite source of knowledge (Wikipedia) Quality Assurance is “the term used in both manufacturing and service industries to describe the systematic efforts taken to ensure that the product delivered to customer meet with the contractual and other agreed upon performance, design, reliability, and maintainability expectations of that customer.”
For software engineering QA is “simply a way to assure quality in the software. It is the set of activities which ensure processes, procedures as well as standards are suitable for the project and implemented correctly.
“Software Quality Assurance is a process which works parallel to development of software. It focuses on improving the process of development of software so that problems can be prevented before they become a major issue.“ – Geeks for Geeks
For us at GCD, QA is a process for preventing mistakes, defects and ensuring quality throughout the development of a software solution or product. It is part of the development process that ensures the prioritised requirements set at the beginning of a project are met and that the final product is to a high standard. Our QA team works with developers and other members of the project team to ensure quality during development, best practice and ultimately catch issues as early as possible.
In some cases it is a process which can often be overlooked or left to the end of the development cycle due to the fast-paced nature of software development and the pressure of release deadlines. But as you’ll see, it should be a priority from the outset.
Why is Quality Assurance important?
Without a QA process, and one that is integrated from the beginning, there can be knock-on consequences to the development of a digital product, which leads to much slower and more costly releases. But there are also upfront benefits to implementing QA. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Quality Assurance Saves Time, Money and Effort
Imagine a world without QA – a product has just been released, and a massive bug was found by a user. It needs to be fixed. So it’s all hands on deck. Additional time and resources now need to be spent on debugging, fixing and then checking to make sure there are no knock-on consequences from the fix.
It’s easy to see that the additional time, money and effort spent could have been avoided if QA had been involved from the beginning.
Implementing a thorough QA process from the beginning of a development project can help minimise issues and defects in the later stages of a project when the ‘cost of change’ is high.
Quality Assurance Means Consistency and Customer Confidence
Consistency is key across many business functions, and it’s also true for QA. By having a clear QA process in place, each product is developed and tested to the same high standard.
Achieving a reputation for quality digital products is something to be proud of (we certainly are). When you consistently maintain a high standard across the board for quality, it is a signal to clients that you prioritise quality and testing and are a digital partner they can rely on to develop solutions that are robust and reliable and meet their needs.
Quality Assurance boosts User Experience
When you use a product that has endless faults, challenges and obstacles, you question if you really want to continue using that product, which also impacts how you see the brand in question.
QA helps to prevent gaps in user experience, it eliminates those annoyances and allows for a more facilitated experience with a drastically lowered number of challenges. This improves user adoption and helps maintain users in the long-run.
Quality Assurance prevents Costly Downtime
A simple bug within software or an application can have severe consequences to a business, it could cause unexpected downtime or loss of data. Having QA in place, will help prevent and mitigate the risk of this occurring through bug detection happening during the development process and not during release.
Quality Assurance generates higher profits
From a B2B perspective, implementing QA from the beginning of a development project will help save money in the long run, due to not having to spend additional time, money and effort on fixing defects at the end of development or in the worst case scenario after release.
From a B2C perspective, whether you are trying to sell a subscription service or digital products directly to the customer, customers are often willing to pay more for quality, having a bug-free, intuitive application or software will help to showcase that quality.
Quality Assurance bolsters Efficiency
Defects found in production can lead to hurried patching and solutions, which can easily lead to further defects being created, worsening the issue. Having a robust QA process in place will help relieve these pressures by spotting issues early, reducing the amount of defects making their way to release. This in turn helps productivity, as developers can deal with any issues as they arise, managing their time efficiently.
The Importance of Quality Assurance
There you have it! Quality Assurance is a very important process and should always be a priority in the software development lifecycle.
It helps identify errors and flaws in the software code and design throughout the development process. Along with being able to save the company money and improve user experience and adoption.
An established QA culture and process, with appropriate time and capital, will help to significantly reduce the risk of defects, delays, refactors and future failures. It will ensure quality throughout the product and will assist with increasing the efficiency and productivity of the rest of the team.
Why wouldn’t you have QA?