How to do efficient QA when hotfixes alter your test plan and sprint
Best practices Management Testing talks
5 mins read
January 4, 2022

How to do efficient QA when hotfixes alter your test plan and sprint

"How to adopt & do efficient QA in a situation when hotfixes alter your test plan and Sprint?" — that's an interesting question we found in a r/softwaretestingtalks community.

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Tania Zhydkova

“How to adopt & do efficient QA in a situation when hotfixes alter your test plan and Sprint?” — that’s an interesting question we found in a r/softwaretestingtalks community.

You can see how our CSO Paul Elsner is answering it on our Youtube channel or continue reading this article to learn the main points of his answer.

So, a hotfix is a term used for a critical fix deployed on production to patch the client business issue.

What does a typical hotfix test and release look like?

Hotfix test and release process are composed of the following steps:

  1. The customer reports the issue.

  2. The Dev & QA Team checks whether it’s a valid issue or not.

  3. Product Owner creates a ticket in case of a valid issue.

  4. The developer starts working on the reported issue and deploys its fix on the QA/Staging Environment.

  5. QA team starts testing the fix and executes various necessary regression tests to check its impact on the SUT (Software Under Test). 

  6. DevOps deploys the Hotfix to production after getting the “Green Go” signal from the QA.

  7. QA tests the fix on production

If you want to reduce the number of hot fixes, you need a good testing strategy. We have prepared a template that covers 20 years of our experience in QA of any scale. Download that now, and you won’t have to worry about hot fixes later.

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So, how does the development and QA of hotfix fit in the running sprint?

One basic rule of scrum is not to take any new or additional tickets that can be impacting the sprint goal. Thus, all the nice-to-have features are parked for the next sprints and not considered in the ongoing Sprint. 

Any newly created ticket during the Sprint is marked as a backlog. A hotfix has become common in the Agile methodology due to the tight deadlines and continuously changing requirements in functionality. The business flow issues are an exception to this rule and become priority #1 in the running Sprint. 

Let’s take a quick look at the operationalizing hotfix best QA practices

Would you deploy any code without a QA process? Of course, No. Follow the same Development and QA practices on a smaller and faster scale for hotfixes. 

  • Define the scope of the Hotfix.

  • Determine timelines for the code fix, testing, and deployment.

  • Have an automated CI/CD process with Unit Tests, Integration Tests, Automated Regression Tests.

  • Perform the exploratory testing by QA.

Hotfixes should not be frightful or painful experiences for QA teams in the sprints. Instead, Hotfixes can be a learning experience that helps the QA to prevent future emergencies by having some common-sense barriers and procedures. 

So, stay calm and let Hotfix endure in your sprints and test planning. Proper designed automated tests will reduce the testing effort of the QA Team, and hotfixes can be deployed in the production with full confidence.

What’s your experience with altering sprints? Share your experience in a r/softwaretestingtalks community.

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FAQ
What is a typical hotfix test?

A hotfix test is a type of software testing that is performed on a small, urgent code change that is intended to resolve a critical production issue. The primary goal of a hotfix test is to verify that the code change fixes the issue and does not introduce any new problems into the system.

Hot fix, however, is often a compromise: if quick regression testing shows that a hotfix causes new non-critical problems, then you still have to deploy it if rolling back the build is not an option.

Can the test plan be changed?

Yes, a test plan can be changed. Test plans are created to guide the testing process and ensure that the necessary tests are performed to validate the quality of the software. However, as development progresses and changes are made, it may become necessary to adjust the test plan to reflect these changes.

What are the operationalizing hotfix best QA practices?

Hotfix QA best practices: define process, test in pre-prod, document steps, have rollback plan, review regularly, collaborate with dev teams, use automated testing, encourage communication, monitor production, continuously evaluate and update.

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