There is nothing more exciting than your first experience of success. Watching your vision and hard work take shape and become a real product in the hands of real users can be like actualizing a dream. For many startups, those early days are about pulling together as a small, dedicated team with everyone pushing the limits of their skills and experience to produce innovation within the tightest of resource limits.
With success comes the promise of growth, and your dreams and goals become larger. If all goes as planned, that growth will take you beyond the capacity of your small team of developers and push your enterprise to a level where hard work and determination alone are no longer enough.
Reaching that point can be daunting, but it is also an opportunity to set yourselves up for continued success. By establishing a series of best practice standards right from the earliest planning, you can build a platform for sustained growth.
That process should begin with QA and adopting test automation best practices that grow with you into the future.
Test Automation Best Practices for Success
Your product journey does not begin with QA, but it is often the activity where the most sacrifices are made early in an enterprise’s lifecycle. So, it is often the first area that needs an upgraded as you expand.
It is typical for developers and business-oriented team members of startups to pull double-duty and help with QA as a business emerges. As you start to build customers and establish a brand, however, the functionality, reliability and user-friendly nature of your product becomes crucial. You have just gained some attention; you do not want to become known for an interesting but ultimately flawed product.
The tips and advice below will help as you dedicate more resources to QA. Establishing good practices from the earliest possible stage sets a platform for sustainable growth.
The 6 test automation best practices for startups are:
- Plan ahead to avoid disaster
- Target your testing
- Adopt an Agile approach
- Catch bugs early
- Scale your QA investment
- Get ready to ramp up quickly
As with any major undertaking, planning is the difference between arriving at your destination and getting lost along the way.
1 – Plan Ahead to Avoid Disaster
Test automation will save you time and resources, and it helps you produce better products to deadline. The array of tools and processing power now available lets you do in hours with machines the amount of work that would tie up human resources for days. That is a powerful advantage to a growing team, but you must plan ahead to make it work.
Each project should start with a comprehensive scoping study that defines:
- Clear business goals for the product
- What can and cannot be automated
- The test framework and tools
- An accurate testing schedule and resource allocation
- The integration of development and testing
Once you understand the testing requirements needed to produce a quality product, you can begin making decisions about how best to invest your resources. By planning ahead, you avoid costly delays, brand damage and wasted resources.
2 – Target Your Testing
Success should increase ambition, but you do not have to go from startup to global powerhouse in one step. Instead, focus your automation testing requirements around what is most important for capitalizing on your early progress.
A solid test automation strategy should focus on these four primary areas:
- Component tests, which aid your development team’s continued product evolution.
- Business scenarios, which test the end-to-end business processes.
- User tests, which simulate the user experience.
- Functional tests, which measure the performance, load capacity and security of your product.
Simplifying your QA objectives around these four elements will help you gradually increase your testing resources in line with product growth.
3 – Adopt an Agile Approach
As your success grows, so does your product evolve to meet new demands. Modern test automation best practices are built around integrating testing with development so that each can aid product evolution in real time. This Agile approach to QA breaks down the SDLC into short sprints that continually test and refine code over a series of ever-changing iterations. It is a team-oriented approach that draws on the skills of every stakeholder in your enterprise.
This continuous cycle of design, coding, testing and analysis saves you time by incorporating change as it occurs. And it saves you resources by detecting bugs earlier in the release cycle when they are less costly to remedy.
4 – Catch Bugs Early
Nothing brings a product release to a halt faster than finding a bug late in the SDLC. The unanticipated delays and expenditure can severely compromise your product’s success. You should run automated regression tests every time code changes are made to reduce the risk of negative knock-on effects throughout the application.
5 – Scale Your QA Investment
As we said earlier, you do not have to go from zero to 100 in a proverbial few seconds just because you have enjoyed your first experience of success. You can introduce test automation incrementally into your development cycle. In fact, it can be wise to outsource your QA requirements early on so that you avoid the resource-intense pressures of hiring a full-time test team and fitting out an internal test facility with the latest technology and infrastructure. Outsourcing is a particularly appealing option for startups because funding is often limited, and this smart use of effective resources benefits the bottom line.
By outsourcing your QA, you gain the expertise of an entire company instantly, rather than investing compounded resources to start from scratch with uncertain results. An external QA expert can share the burden of product quality while relieving the financial pressure that comes with increasing production.
6 – Get Ready to Ramp Up Quickly
Further to the point above, outsourcing your QA requirements gives you the freedom to maximize your early success. An experienced QA provider can onboard quickly with a minimum of training and provide domain and technology insights that rapidly expand the capacity and efficiency of your core team. You can maintain control over your project by scaling your external resources as and when you need them within your product release schedule. And you are free to pursue new innovations and product changes that meet the demands of your growing customer base without your automation testing getting left behind.
An experienced QA partner would have been through the growing pains of new business before and can act as a guide through the crucial early days of growth.
The Next Step for Your Software Startup
Now that you have experienced your first success, it is important you keep the momentum going. Each new brand is only new for so long. Eventually, your customers will demand more from your product, and more customers will demand your product.
In order to sustain growth, you have to establish a foundation of product delivery best practices that set you up for future success. An expert QA partner can do more than make sure your product is bug-free. They can help you design and install a set of standards that maximize the benefits of test automation and balance continued product evolution with reliable product performance.
QASource understands the thrills and risks of software startups. We can design a cost structure suited to your needs that gives you the resources and experience necessary to reach your product potential. Contact us today for a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 to get started.