When outsourcing the Quality Assurance (QA) of your systems and applications, it pays to be discerning of the QA best practices your prospective QA providers can put in place to ensure the quality of your software and systems. If you already have a QA provider in place, how well do you know their best practices and how they impact the overall quality of the software applications that you deliver?
Here are five QA best practices to seek in an outsourced QA provider:
1. Use a Documented QA Methodology
A documented methodology governing QA processes is a necessity to ensure that your software is bug free, stable, and meets requirements. A solid QA methodology includes:
- An Exploration or kick off phase where the vendor defines QA procedures, performs a risk assessment, interviews stakeholders, and does upfront interviews with the stakeholders so they can learn the organization and the project.
- An Identify phase where the vendor reviews the cost and schedule with your organization Other deliverables in this phase include identification of high-risk areas, a gap analysis, and an evaluation of QA tools based on your project requirements and its core technologies.
- A Recommendation phase where the provider delivers their recommendations of a QA strategy for the project; an automation strategy and plan; improvements to the QA process, and any required risk mitigation strategies.
2. Conduct Test Plan Development and Reviews
No QA team should develop the test plan for your software in a vacuum. Look for a QA outsourcing provider that involves multiple stakeholders and the development team in particular in test case development and review. There should be test and quality plan review sessions planned for major milestones during the software development project.
These open test plan reviews can also be an opportunity for communications between the groups and the stakeholders with a definite focus on overall software quality at delivery time.
3. Conduct Root Cause Analysis on Serious Issues
The QA provider you choose should have extensive experience conducting Root/Cause Analysis on any serious issues they may encounter during their QA testing.
Root Cause Analysis is an especially critical best practice because the QA team and developers (if required) take a deep dive into the critical problems the QA testing may produce to learn what is causing the issue and remove it so no customers encounter the issue when the software goes into production.
4. Continuous Improvement
Software and systems QA isn’t just about having a QA group and a QA testing phase in your project plan. You also need to consider QA to be an element of your overall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) so consider an outsourcing provider that has some experience teaching internal workshops and training sessions to other project team members) can adhere to the highest quality standards and use the latest techniques.
5. Include a Formal Approval at end of the Quality Assurance Process
A number of large corporations and United States federal government agencies mandate a formal approval of software and system Quality Assurance prior to a new system going into production. If the QA team recommends against releasing a new system into production, there also need; to be an escalation to appropriate project stakeholders who have the authority to overturn the QA team’s recommendation. Such a recommendation should include formal documentation of the final test plan results.
Overturning the QA Team’s recommendation should require written documentation of the management decision to be filed with the final test plan.
QA Best Practices and your Provider
The institution of QA best practices should help ensure that you deliver bug free software that performs flawlessly for your customers and organization.
CompuGain’s QA Practice can work with you and your organization to implement a QA strategy and processes with testing services ranging from unit testing to user acceptance testing.
What are your QA provider’s best practices?