Software Quality Assurance: Beyond the Basics.
Some of the practices, processes, and techniques carried out in Software Quality Assurance
5 min read
Table of contents
- Software Quality Assurance Activities
- Software Quality Assurance Plan
- Implement the Software Quality Assurance process?
- Additional Reading
Software Quality Assurance is all about; — Business value addition, customer satisfaction, reliability, information confidentiality, cost-effectiveness, flexibility, improvement and guarantee of service delivery on Software projects as set requirements and Standards.
Its purpose is to make sure that all software engineering processes are monitored and comply with defined standards by incorporating software development processes starting from defining requirements to coding until release/launch where the key goal is to ensure the quality of the software product.
Read A Basic understanding of Software Quality Assurance in case you want more insight into SQA.
Software Quality Assurance Activities
For SQA to effectively evaluate the quality of a software product in order to enforce adherence to industry standards and follow the accepted processes and procedures during software development, certain activities have to be followed and executed. These are;—
Creating an SQA Management Plan:
Laying down a proper plan of how the Software Quality Assurance will be executed throughout the software project development is very very important. This is where things like a Software Quality Assurance approach the team will follow, best-fit engineering activities to be carried out and ensuring the right team with a fitting talent mix has been chosen is considered.
Setting the Checkpoints:
SQA teams should endeavor to set up different checkpoints which they can base on to evaluate the performance and quality of the project using collected data at each checkpoint/project stage. This ensures that quality inspection is consistent and all tasks are progressing as per the schedule.
Measure change impact:
Measuring Change impact on the software project is important for decision making on how the team progresses on the project. Usually, changes made to correct defects/errors (fix bugs) sometimes reintroduce more errors, therefore measuring change impact can aid in establishing parameters for regression testing to check if the new changes compatibility with the entire project.
Apply Software Engineering Techniques:
- Interviews for gathering information and FAST (Functional Analysis System Technique which aids in thinking about the problem objectively & identifying the scope of the project by showing the logical relationships between functions) can help a software designer achieve high-quality specifications.
- Preparing the project estimation using techniques like WBS (work breakdown structure), SLOC analysis (source line of codes;— a metric in software engineering used to measure the size of a software product by counting the number of lines in the text of the software's source code. ), and FP ( functional point;- a unit of measurement used to express the amount of business functionality, the software product provides to a user. ) estimation.
Executing Formal Technical Reviews:
Conducting a Formal Technical Review (FTR) can help in detecting defects/errors in the early phases of SDLC and also reduces task repetitions in later phases can be done as a way to evaluate the quality and design of the prototype. This would consist of a series of meetings held with the technical staff to discuss the actual quality requirements of the software and the design quality of the prototype.
Having a Multi-Testing Strategy:
Software engineering teams should not rely on a single testing approach, but instead, have a systematic multi-testing strategy, where multiple types of testing are performed so that the software product can be tested well from all angles to ensure better quality.
Enforcing Process Adherence:
This activity insists on the need for process adherence as well as sticking to the defined procedures during the software development process in order to deliver quality software.
Maintaining records and reports:
It’s important for software engineering teams e.g developers, testers, Business Analysts SQA Engineers to regularly document all changes and activities that occur in the software development lifecycle for purposes of software quality assurance.
Managing good relations:
In the working environment, making & managing good relations with other teams involved in the project development is very important. Bad relations between the SQA team and the development team will impact the project directly & indirectly.
Software Quality Assurance Plan
The software quality assurance plan is comprised of procedures, techniques, and tools that are employed to make sure that a product or service aligns with the requirements defined in the SRS (software requirement specification).
A good SQA plan document should at least have a;— Purpose section, a Reference section, a software configuration management section, a problem reporting, and corrective action section, a Tools, technologies, and methodologies section, a code control section, a records collection, maintenance, and retention section, as well as a testing methodology.
Implement the Software Quality Assurance process?
A typical SQA process in Software Engineering follows a Design, Test, Deploy, support, and feedback which is similar to PDCA a four-step approach (
- Plan: Decide on a course of action for system changes,
- Do: Perform a test on the software system,
- Check: Review the results & feedback of the study and
- Act: Incorporate the results into your next plan
) to perfect workflows, behaviors, and other activities.
During a Software Quality Assurance process, you will typically; —
- Defining of the project scope; — which involves researching, Analysis, Planning, and Initiation activities.
- Specifying the baseline system features; — which involves the requirements specifications, design & prototype activities.
- Production; — which involves the building/development and testing of the product.
- Release to Market; — which phase involves delivering the product to the customer/client and offering support.
Which is formally executed as;-
- Requirements Analysis; — Analyzing software requirements
- Testing Planning; — Planning tests.
- Testing Design; — Designing test cases or checklists.
- Test Execution & Defect Reporting; — Running test cases as per prepared checklists.
- Retesting: — Re-testing fixed issues (Bugs & Defects) as well as carrying out regression testing.
- Release Testing; —alpha and beta tests are the best examples for this phase.
Quality Assurance and testing can make or break a business. No matter the type of company, the business vertical, or its services or products, every organization in the software engineering business has to use some form of quality assurance and testing to ensure that they are offering safe, useful, and quality software products to their clients.
And the best way to guarantee that a company releases reliable, high-quality software products is through thorough quality assurance.