Failing to know the state of your QA
It’s no secret that QA can sometimes be an afterthought, especially with startups that prioritise releasing features over completing them. They may literally lack dedicated people to find and report issues, and devs simply have to make sure that software runs at all. This often brings awkward workarounds that are not easy to pinpoint and resolve a few months later.
Even if you don’t have the resources to fix QA issues at the moment, you need to be aware of them. A few smaller issues may result in a severe defect, and now you can’t trace those smaller issues to do a quick fix. Onboarding QA specialists, once you have the resources, will be a bit frustrating and inefficient when they don’t know quite what to fix and/or which fixes to prioritise.
What you need here is to start listing defects early in an issue tracker solution. You may use a dedicated bug tracker or adopt an Application Lifecycle Management tool that works for both software development and quality assurance. The second approach is better if you pay for a development issue tracker or know that you will have to upgrade anyway.
Proven ALM that saves hours on both development and QA management
Subpar Developer–QA communication
Testers are the key part of quality assurance, but there are no real gains without developers that fix discovered issues. Troubleshooting complex issues may require a dev and QA specialist to go over the same defect several times. This gets pretty chaotic if done on work messengers or, even worse, verbally.
Your best option here is to utilise the discussions functionality of the tool that you use for QA problem management. Public communication is how both the people involved and their colleagues can trace the lifecycle of the bug and pick up the mantle if needed. Opting for the issue tracker over company messenger will also help developers focus on non-QA tasks, then come back to a defect when they have the time.
Improving quality is a noble goal, but it is also hard to tell whether you are succeeding at something so vague. Did you improve the quality by squashing some UI bugs that didn’t affect functionality but were very noticeable? Was fixing a potentially critical issue a good way to apply the effort if the problem never occurred?
The answer is quality assurance metrics. Even something as simple as a reduction in defects that surfaced after deployment is a good indicator that you’re on the right track. Find 11 more ideas in our separate article.
Juggling multiple QA solutions
While your team will likely have just one solution to track QA issues, testers are likely to use additional software in their work. Selenium or Selenium-based solutions are almost always used for automated testing, and then there are test type-specific tools like JMeter or Ranorex. Staying on top of test reports across several tools gets pretty hard.
Our recommendation is to pick an issue tracker that can aggregate input from test automation tools and other QA software. Native integrations with popular tools are convenient but scarce. Most vendors, however, will give you the option to integrate any QA tool via REST API. Ask (and try) before you buy.
Every stage of software development requires time. It can, however, be frustrating for stakeholders to see that QA is taking longer than expected — simply because it is the last hurdle before release. This is how you brew frustration from missing a deadline or deploying an unpolished build, contributing to test management problems.
Formalising the QA timeline would be a great start, but it is even better to visualise it. A lot of modern test management solutions offer sprint planning that you can align with the developer’s schedule. Simplified planning is another advantage to adopt an ALM.
Subpar pre-QA builds
With testers ultimately responsible for the quality, developers can get a bit lazy about what they send them. There are cases when they may send obviously flawed code just to move on. This results in extra work for testers, and you also now have to think how to manage QA team’s frustration.
Unit testing is a great solution that will save everyone’s time. Devs can make simple tests to catch obvious flaws early and receive fewer bug reports from the QA team. Testers won’t have to nudge devs for simple fixes and have more time to go over less obvious potential problems.
Unactionable bug reports
Bug reports won’t always come out perfect even if you have a good culture for making them. New team members will need time to soak it in. Non-technical stakeholders or even external people with occasional problems will probably not abide either. Incomplete bug reports make your team spend extra time reproducing and solving issues.
The best way to make actionable bug reports is to visualise them. One emerging trend is using solutions that can record test execution of a test case or simply take a video of what happens on a user’s screen when they have an issue. We recommend trying a solution called Capture to get a glimpse of how great this tech is.
Long idle time
Devs make code, testers find bugs, devs fix them, testers look for more bugs… This is the usual QA flow until testers can’t find any issues that the product team would be uncomfortable to fix at a later stage. The problem is that devs can be waiting for testers’ response for too long (and vice versa).
The solution is simple: establish workflows that specify exact QA steps and how long they should ideally take. This will work much better if your test management solution allows you to configure such workflows natively and for example auto-nudge colleagues that are taking too long. It’s often okay that they do, but it’s a shame when somebody simply forgets about a ticket assigned to them.
Chaotic test suite
Test management solutions are a great way to formalise your test suite, but you still need a system to follow. It is hard for new team members to navigate tests that have inconsistent naming, while seemingly duplicate test steps are confusing if you want to reuse them somewhere else.
Getting a good naming convention would be a great start to tidy up your test suite. You can go on to define how test steps are created and what testers should write in the description of every test case. Test management solutions can help you here, but the key success factor here is good fundamentals from QA management.
Test automation is a great asset, but it is not the silver bullet. One full run of automated tests can still take up to an hour, and one time won’t be enough. At some point, there are just too many tests to test too many things.
A modern answer is artificial intelligence. You can use AI-powered test management solutions to optimise your existing test suite or enlarge it faster than human testers ever could. You will find such features in tools from both long-time and emerging vendors.
Proven ALM solution with AI test generation and prioritisation