Outsourcing QA leads to a higher-quality product and faster releases. It allows you to ramp up the skills and resources of your software development team when needed to ensure you realize the full potential of your product.
Managing the talent and input of an outsourced team of experts requires a keen mind for organization. In addition to the technical aspects of launching a QA process, you also must balance the communication and workflows of both your internal and external teams.
That is why we have put together a comprehensive software quality assurance checklist. The steps outlined below will take you from initial internal planning through to the final stages of test execution and release.
You should be focused on:
- Project scope review
- Kick-off meeting
- Framework design
- Tool selection
- Types of testing
- Test case strategy
For further step-by-step guides on specific QA processes, consult these QA testing checklists:
Project Scope Review
Every project begins with a comprehensive internal assessment of the scope of the QA process ahead. Before contacting your QA partner, you must establish clear project parameters, such as what elements can and cannot be automated, the role of internal engineers, as well as the languages, platforms, and devices you need to service. You will also want to consider outsourced solutions in nearshore and offshore locations. Both nearshoring and offshoring present unique benefits for resource savings, domain expertise, and workflow. And both offer substantial advantages over domestic outsourcing.
Essentially, the scope review is your chance to properly align your ROI with the breadth and budget of the project to maximize value. And it allows you to anticipate the collaborative efforts ahead and the need for clear goals and communication.
Your QA experts, development engineers, and other stakeholders meet to discuss the purpose, needs, requirements, and plans for the testing phase. This crucial stage will establish the test framework, tools, and types of testing you will employ, along with the communication protocols between your internal and external teams. You will have to establish a balance between automated and manual testing and determine when and how each will be deployed.
You should also agree on a shared set of metrics that will measure the effectiveness of your QA process. In an automation process, for example, your metrics should include:
- Automation progress
- Percent of automated test coverage
- Script maintenance time
- Breakeven in automation
These metrics are an ongoing measure of the effectiveness and ROI implications for running specific types of testing. You should regularly check these metrics to ensure your project is running as intended.
Your QA provider should have the expertise and skills to take an agnostic approach to your test requirements. That means being able to select the right balance of tools and technologies, as well as the right balance of reporting processes and user scenarios to produce a framework specific to your requirements.
The framework should consider your development environment. It should consider the skills of your engineers and their optimal input in the QA test phase. Will you employ a data-driven, keyword-driven, behavior-driven, or modular test framework? How often will you be running automated tests? What kind of reporting is necessary? And to what extent will you need to be involved to check in on your teams along the way?
All these questions are addressed within the design of your test framework architecture.
Depending on the technologies used in your application and the complexity level, your QA team will need different types of testing tools. Your QA provider will be able to guide you through the range of paid and open-source tools available to discover which best suit your application. There are dozens of tool options available, but the right product will bring a balance of:
- Platform compatibility
- Test report quality
- Ease of maintenance
- Value measured against the cost of licensing and support
A QA provider can help in suggesting the right tools for sprint planning, test cases, and defects management to manage the software testing process in an efficient way. Again, a quality outsourced partner should have the knowledge and facilities to take advantage of whichever test tool best suits your specific product, the talents of your engineers, and your project ROI.
Types of Testing
Every QA process employs a range of software testing types to reach the highest standards. The dominant Agile QA methodology today demands that more than one specialized tester perform these tests at the same time to produce project efficiencies. Your QA partner should be an expert in all the necessary test types and be able to ensure that the process fits together seamlessly.
The three most powerful forms of software testing are:
- Manual testing: Requires a human tester to emulate the role of the end user
- Automation testing: A scripted version of manual testing that operates with greater speed and volume
- API testing: Tests the functionality and reliability of programming interfaces
These tests carry the bulk of your QA load. Most applications will also require three additional layers of testing:
- Security testing: Exposes security design flaws within an application
- Performance testing: Assesses the responsiveness, scalability, throughput, and stability of an application
- Accessibility testing: Depending on potential users of your product/application, you may also need to get your application validated on accessibility parameters, which can ensure that it is usable for disabled users
In addition, you should be able to employ key manual tests, such as usability testing and user acceptance testing.
Test Case Strategy
Your QA partner will provide a list of test cases and their priorities. It is their responsibility to identify how the tests will be prepared, what test language to use, the test interface, and the test data (inputs/outputs) to ensure a maintainable and portable solution.
The goal here is to have your QA provider write test cases that:
Are simple and identifiable
- Have the end-user experience in mind
- Avoid duplication
- Are properly prioritized
- Are repeatable
- Do not disrupt the test environment
- Provide clear outcomes
With the right test case priority, the test cases which are closer to real user’s experience will be executed first to help discover bugs early in testing. You should regularly review the quality and outcomes of your tests cases to ensure consistency across the test phase.
Your internal and external team leads should provide regular daily, weekly, and monthly reports on your QA progress. This is your opportunity to assess bug reports, employ metrics, and track overall test progress against your initial goals. You should also be willing to use these meetings to escalate any significant problems or ideas for improvement to senior management.
This stage should bring you full circle to the initial discussion of your project scope review and keep your focus on realizing ROI.
The Importance of a QA Testing Checklist
Maximizing the advantages of QA outsourcing requires that you monitor every step along the path from initial planning through to final execution. Your QA partner will be your most valuable asset in plotting this path, but it is important that you understand each phase along the way. It will be critical that you align your teams from the start to optimize collaboration and Agile troubleshooting along the way.
Follow this QA testing checklist to ensure that nothing gets overlooked as you guide your teams and bring your product to market.
Only a QA provider as experienced and well-equipped as QASource can guide you through every facet of the testing process. Our dedicated team of more than 700 engineers has the domain expertise and multimillion-dollar testing facilities to handle every aspect of your testing requirements. Let our QA experts guide your test phase with a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 today.