What is QA? And How Does It Apply To Agile Development?

By Lavanya Sukumar | Jun 25, 2016

Agile Mobile Development QAOnce an application is developed, we need to ensure that the application is responsive to changes. The application needs to perform a step beyond “what the customer asked for”; it needs to ensure complete customer satisfaction. So, how do we achieve this? The answer is Software Quality Assurance (SQA).

QA makes sure the software does what the clients wants

Ensuring that an application is responsive to changes and does what the customer wants, not just what the customer asked for is software quality assurance (SQA). It is not just Conformance to requirements or passing a bunch of tests. The primary objective of a Quality Analyst (QA) is to check and continuously improve the quality of any software product. This is achieved through a series of verification (testing) and validation processes.

Quality Analysts, as the name suggests, are responsible for analyzing the software based on:

  • A set of standards
  • Current market trends
  • Client expectations and demands

While doing so, they need to keep in mind:

  • Project timelines
  • Budget
  • Feasibility of the project

Defect Analysis: finding root causes of problems

As part of the SQA process, the secondary objective of every QA is to conduct a Defect Analysis. As part of Defect Analysis, QAs identify the most commonly occurring defects along with the root causes of the defect. The Defect Analysis helps the development team take preventive measures.

Some of the verification and validation processes that help QAs achieve both the objectives are:

  • Functional testing
  • Regression testing
  • Usability testing
  • Load & performance testing
  • Defect causal analysis
  • Risk management using FMEA

Agile development elevates the importance of SQA

With the adoption of Agile methodology, the need for SQA has increased tremendously. QA has become an integral part of the team and is included in the project right from kick-off. As part of the Agile process, the QA is required to participate in the project kick-off to gather the requirements directly from the client.

The QA then begins the user interface reviews during the design phase itself. This ensures that bugs are identified and fixed at an early stage in the project.

No one wants to call their own baby ugly. Hence, the developers need an independent Quality Analyst for the verification process. This throws in a fresh perspective for a review which helps uncover even the most unapparent issues.

No one wants to call their own baby ugly.

The client needs an independent vendor quality analyst to share the bugs they find. The QA can reproduce these bugs and then update the developer as needed.

SQA is vital

To summarize, SQA is a vital part of any project. QAs interface with clients to understand client needs and act like “internal clients” while reiterating the ultimate project goal to the team. Since QAs do not have the pressure to develop, they spend sufficient time testing the product from every possible angle (positive and negative testing) to ensure highest software quality. This enables the developers to simply concentrate on their development activities. Developers create the product, and QA’s team up with the developers to reach the quality standards they want for the product.

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