Would you believe that Quality Assurance (or QA) is one of the most crucial stages of software development?
Although there are some speculations that QA specialists are less respected in the tech community than let’s say software engineers, it’s nothing but a myth. Everyone who is familiar with the industry from inside will assure you of QA major importance.
Another misconception: Quality Assurance is the synonym of testing. Well, it’s not. Experienced professionals know that QA can’t be compared to testing. Ensuring that the product is on point, QA brings unique values to the table. But before we dig into the details let’s talk basics.
WHAT IS QA IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT?
It’s a complex of activities focused on defining and maintaining all the requirements needed for assuring product reliability. A well-equipped QA system boosts the company's presence on the market, builds customer trust and improves workflow efficiency.
The cornerstone of QA in software business is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This is the reason QA is often associated with the ISO 9000 international standard, established in 1987 as part of the Quality Management Systems and rooted in the manufacturing industry.
QUALITY ASSURANCE VS SOFTWARE TESTING: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Some people think that these processes are quite the same. All in all, both are intended to guarantee the accordance of the final software product to industry top quality standards.
Nevertheless, the main focus of QA is slightly different. It is more on the client’s requirements side. QA specialists do their best to make sure that the devs team goes through all the approved stages of the product development lifecycle. It’s a more of proactive mindset comprised of continuous enhancements and deviations alerts.
At another point, there is software testing, aimed more at finding faults and errors every program code has. The main responsibility of testers is to check all the product aspects, making sure everything is fixed before the release.
Important note: testers are only in charge of finding bugs. They are not supposed to fix them.
TOP FIVE QUALITY ASSURANCE RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Technology transfer
Collecting trial and error data, evaluation of technology and preparing product design documents for their release and approval.
This is where a master plan for the entire system is designed. Approving product validation criteria and resource planning for a master plan execution.
Proper processing and keeping of all the project documents. Any changes should be noted and approved within set procedures.
- Assuring Quality
All the product aspects should be properly tested and conveyed to the client and the teams involved.
- Quality improvement
Plans for further quality improvements should be developed and presented to the team.
MANUAL TESTING VS AUTOMATED TESTING
Now, when we know that both QA and software testing are vital for any successful project, it’s time to discuss the eternal debate – whether it should be automated or manual. But first, let's find out the difference.
What is manual testing?
Manual software testing is the testing performed manually by a QA Analyst. It is executed in the development stage to detect bugs in programs.
Manual testing includes checking all the key features of the product as it's seen by a user. This process consists of test cases and further test reports done by a human without any automation software.
It’s a traditional method of finding bugs, performed by an analyst at the stage of software testing.
What is automated testing?
On the other hand, to perform Automated Software Testing, QA specialists write scripts for tests execution. They use special automation tools both for software testing and validation. The primary goal here is to finalize the testing stage in a shorter period of time.
Key differences between manual and automated testing:
- Manual Testing is performed manually by a human (QA analyst). Automation Testing is the product of the scripts and automation tools performed by a computer.
- Manual Testing can have human errors. Automation testing is coded and machine based.
- Manual Testing is time-consuming. Automation Testing is rapid.
- Manual Testing can be realized without knowing programming languages. Automation Testing needs to be programmed.
- Manual Testing allows for random tests. Automation Testing doesn’t.
IN A NUTSHELL
Quality Assurance and Software Testing are inescapable and crucial stages of every serious product development cycle. As for whether you should implement manual or automated testing – there is no universal answer. Each project is different.
Manual testing is cost effective but on the slower side and more prone to human errors. Automated search is much faster and error-proof but less representative of user experience. However, in most cases the best bet for your project might be a combined QA strategy. Keeping aligned budget, deadline, and team's skillset, you can benefit from the advantages of both methods.