The Role of Quality Assurance in Digital Transformation [Interview with a QA Expert]

The Role of Quality Assurance in Digital Transformation [Interview with a QA Expert]

Quality assurance plays an integral role in digital transformation, though businesses often tend to undervalue its importance. 

Many organizations allow software quality to lag behind other objectives, but that lack of attention comes at a steep price. In 2020, the cost of poor software quality in the US was approximately $2.08 trillion.

The fast-paced companies that realize the risks involved have stopped treating testing as just a subsequent step in software development. They incorporate quality assurance and testing activities right from the beginning when the requirements are being discussed.

In this article, we want to look at why quality assurance is important in software development, discover QA team roles and responsibilities, and the benefits of testing activities based on one of our projects - emergency button app development. An expert QA engineer on the project - Nataliia Kubai - will share her insights with us.

So, what exactly is QA?

Quality Assurance (QA) focuses on processes that make sure software during its development meets the necessary business requirements and quality standards.

Software testing is an integral part of software quality assurance. Testing involves tactical activities to validate the function of a digital product and detect issues. With the help of numerous techniques, software tools, and platforms, QA engineers can orchestrate and automate testing with the goal of getting a completely reliable software solution.

According to the report by Global Market Insights, Software Testing Market size exceeded USD 40 billion in 2020 and is estimated to grow at over 7% CAGR from 2021 to 2027. The growth of the industry is fueled by the following factors:

  • Increasing adoption of AI and ML in automation testing
  • Growing demand for DevOps services
  • Dominance of agile development environment
  • Rise in the consumption of mobile applications
  • Increasing digitalization in developing economies  

With QA, companies can create products that meet the needs and expectations of their customers. Testing activities increase the company's credibility and foster customer trust and loyalty by helping prevent product defects before they arise. They enable organizations to gain a strong competitive advantage.

The importance of quality assurance in the digital transformation process

To stay relevant in a fast-moving marketplace, businesses are eventually pushed to embrace a digital transformation. Though the process is time-consuming and costly, the effort invested is critical to securing customer retention in the long run. 

However, when organizations invest so heavily in digital solutions, they may wonder if the benefits really outweigh the costs. And that is the case only if the quality assurance and testing processes are in place.

When a business undergoes a digital transformation, it encounters challenges at multiple fronts such as software, devices, and system interactions. The main challenge is to embrace transformation without sacrificing product/solution quality and coordination of connected systems while also delivering a smooth user experience.

During this transition, QA and testing services are essential to encounter any flaws as quickly as possible, in the earliest stages of the software development cycle to prevent damage on a bigger scale later on. 

We can outline the following benefits of QA

QA teams ensure the software meets customers’ requirements and expectations more fully. Involving the QA team at the beginning and on every other step of the development cycle allows testers to question the business logic, detect any contradictions in the requirements, make sure the software product has a solid foundation, and that the development is going in the right direction. QA and testing services ensure your business gets a final product that is perfectly aligned with your business vision and requirements. 

With QA and software testing in place, businesses can easily scale their digital products. If you want your business to grow, regularly update your software, expand its functionality, but not lose its position as a high-quality product, you can’t ignore testing. While adding new features, the product's integrity is at risk. With agile testing, you can count on continuous improvement of your product and also save time on creating new tests each time your digital solution gets changed. 

QA processes help to save costs by detecting and fixing bugs sooner rather than later. Adopting testing when the first issues arise may turn out more complex and damaging than you thought. Finding QA experts at the last moment and spending lots of costs on urgent debugging will be a waste of time and resources which could be spent on your product’s growth. 

QA shifts focus from debugging to bug prevention. Having a consistent strategy for maintaining a high quality of the software paired with agile methodology practices will result in saving more time for testing UX design and looking for improvement possibilities. A QA engineer makes sure that using the software for end users is easy and highly intuitive.

Read more about the importance of quality assurance and testing in digital transformation: From Startup to 16 Million Dollar Venture - How QA Processes Influence Company’s Growth

Importance of Quality Assurance and Testing services: benefits, best practices, roles and responsibilities

 

Software QA and testing services during the digital product development

The increase of consumer interest in digital services such as e-learning, online banking, online shopping, and others, is what fuels the software testing market demand. These digital services are highly dynamic so there is a great need for businesses to constantly update their products and use efficient, cost-effective procedures to spot different flaws. 

QA and testing services reinforce the reputation of a brand by providing a high-quality product to customers. By detecting bugs and fixing them in time during the software development process, businesses ensure the continuous improvement of their services and steady growth. 

To maintain the necessary quality standards that meet customers expectations and requirements, QA and testing teams use different methods and tools to:

  • Create the QA/testing environment required for the software testing success. A testing environment is a setup of software and hardware for the teams to execute test cases.
  • Design test cases that include the test steps, conditions, and expected results. They ensure software testing is done in line with the set requirements. 
  • Perform manual and automated tests during the overall software development life cycle and maintenance to ensure that product is cleaned up from top to bottom.
  • Keep the test documentation at hand with the necessary test cases and set the order in which different functionalities of the app have to be tested.
  • Manage multiple apps, services, and platforms to ensure the smooth development of complex systems.

Investing in QA and testing is highly beneficial for any digital project. To have a better understanding of the matter, we've asked a QA engineer at Apiko to tell us more about the purpose and importance of quality assurance, team responsibilities, and a testing process on one of our software development projects. So, let's read on.  

Quality assurance and testing on the emergency button app development project

Interview with a QA expert at Apiko - Nataliia Kubai

 

The Apiko team has been working on the emergency button app development for more than a year now. The idea behind the app is to improve the situation with personal security in Sweden. It simplifies and speeds up the process of calling the police and alerting family members.

The tech solution consists of a mobile app, a portable smart button Flic that is connected to the app, and an admin system. The smart button triggers audio streaming, sends GPS coordinates, and enables some other functionality in the app to help ensure the person's security.

To guarantee the flawless work of this digital solution, quality assurance and testing services have been involved in the project from its beginning. We've asked Nataliia Kubai, a QA engineer on the project, to share with us how they manage software testing and ensure the top quality of the product.

Here's what we've found out.

  1. Based on your extensive experience and expertise in QA, why is quality assurance important? What are the most important benefits of testing in software development? 

The most important benefit of testing for the stakeholders and the development team is having fresh information about the product’s quality.

Testers explore and investigate the product to gather and deliver valuable information to the development team and the stakeholders who can use that information to make important development and business decisions and deliver top-notch user experience.

  1. What steps are involved in the testing process? 

Testing involves learning and exploring the product, experimenting with it, modeling different situations and conditions, studying and testing the requirements, observing the product, risk assessment, test design, reporting issues, bug advocacy, investigation of problems, analyzing competitors, resolving conflicting information, discovering new information, and more. 

  1. While working on the emergency button app development project, how do you ensure the top quality of the product? Can you share the details of the testing process and its best practices? 

Emergency app development team consists of highly motivated skilled professionals who care about quality. We study business needs and make suggestions on how to achieve business goals, brainstorm ideas on how to improve the product, test our code and the product, make retrospectives on how we can do things better, and incorporate feedback from the stakeholders.

At the emergency button app project, we follow a context-driven approach to testing and development in general, and are careful about applying “best practices”. What works well for one project, can be harmful to another. However, there are two things I’d like to mention that can be applied to any project: don’t make assumptions and be empathetic. 

  1. What role does a tester play in ensuring the project’s success? 

A tester keeps a finger on the pulse of the product’s quality. We test and report the issues to the team in a timely manner. We advocate for bugs to be fixed and champion users’ needs and satisfaction. You could say that we do the glue work. Then developers do their magic and make the product better.

If I had to describe a tester's role at the security app project in one sentence, I’d say it’s investigating a product and providing stakeholders with information on its quality. 

  1. What are the challenges of working as a tester? 

There is a lot of stigma and misunderstanding around testing. People assume all kinds of things: that testing is easy, that testers are the only people to be held accountable for the product’s quality, that if something goes wrong it’s always the tester’s fault, that testers assure quality or add quality to the product, that testers are the only people on the team that do testing, that testing is a bottleneck in software development, etc.

For testing to bring the most value, it should be respected, taken seriously and planned accordingly. I always advocate for starting testing as early as possible and planning testing effort needed ahead of time. If you treat testing as an unnecessary nuisance, eventually you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Summing up 

Having analyzed all of the above, we can say for sure that by not realizing why quality assurance is important and by neglecting QA and testing services, you're putting your whole project at risk. If you need any help to ensure the quality of your software, feel free to get in touch with us right away.

Read more: End-to-End Testing: Driving Digital Transformation with Quality and Automation

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