4 Ways QA Can Supercharge Your Release Cycle

That’s not really fair, is it?

First off, there may be organizational shifts that have yet to occur (ones that would reduce delays), things like breaking down silos, improving collaboration, clarifying requirements. Also, once a critical bug is found, isn’t that a development problem, rather than a QA problem?

Luckily, the agile approach to software development not only combines project phases into short cycles, but it also helps alleviate the blame game by bringing people of different roles together.

It would seem now that analyzing the market, getting real customer validation and feedback, and creating project requirements is of a greater concern to speed.

We shifted the bottleneck. It’s not tests anymore. Now it’s requirements and business analysis.

Matt Heusser, Excelon Development

Collaborate early on with user stories

User stories are not intended to tell coders exactly how to code or to tell testers exactly what to test. Rather, they detail what the user will do with the small facet of an application currently being worked on.

Have software testers (not developers) do unit testing

But getting these tests done is a must for QA engineers, who need to verify the success of small components as early as possible, so that at the end of the cycle testing is being done end-to-end.

That’s why one of the best practices a QA team can adopt is to learn to do their own unit testing. They’ll increase their skills by learning to code, ensure that they get the results they need to move forward, and free up development to work on other tasks.

Testers learn the flow and function of the code and can use this knowledge in later test design.

Anastasios Daskalopoulos

Stay on top of changes

It’s not uncommon for QA to be handed code that doesn’t meet requirements. Maybe requirements changed due to time constraints. Maybe there was a push back of one small piece of functionality, or it was decided that user feedback would be collected on the smallest iteration of a new feature before developing it more fully.

If QA engineers feel like they’re routinely in the dark, then they probably also are routinely behind. Unexpected changes can cause adaptations to test plans and test scripts or can drag out the exploratory phase.

Agile teams notoriously keep documentation processes lean, but any resulting gaps need to be filled somehow.

Maybe it’s with better standups or daily check-ins with representatives from different teams. Fortunately, writing unit tests can help with communication barriers too because testers will know about changes as soon as possible, rather than be handed code that doesn’t match up to their test plans later down the line.

Use the same tools as development

And sometimes those barriers are more tangible. Namely, tools.

When QA and development work in separate environments, knowledge transfer is that much harder. Whether they work inside a platform that handles just about everything or using an integrated development system that integrates with just about everything, the point is that QA and development can work together. This can help streamline collaboration on:

  • Bug fixes
  • Test automation
  • Cycle pivots
  • Requirements changes

Involved testers are happy testers. Valued testers are happy testers. Testers who have contributed to the meeting of project goals and deadlines are happy testers. When QA teams are supported in the pursuit of practices that obliterate bottlenecks and increase velocity, then not only can businesses get to market faster, but they can also contribute to the skill growth of their employees.

Speed doesn’t have to mean high-stress scrambling at the end. It’s something that’s achieved all cycle long.

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