Modern QA strategies go beyond bug hunting best practices and have become in-depth philosophical, methodological cultures precisely crafted to an individual business’s goals. For brands that want high-quality digital products, QA is a critical tool in all parts of the dev cycle and the CI/CD pipeline.

As a new year promises new challenges, products, and shifting consumer demands, technicality, functionality, and thorough QA will be critical to business success. A deep dive into our most popular blog posts of this year highlights six insights and lessons to make your QA strategy more resilient and efficient in 2022.

1. Fuse manual and automated testing for optimized QA

Fast product iteration yields low time-to-market, rapid response to user demands, and quicker validation of new features. Automating software testing may be an instinctual response to tight testing windows, but striking a balance between automated and manual testing produces a more refined control over the end-user experience.

While planning your 2022 automation strategies, utilize automation for lower-level quick wins. End-to-end processes can be challenging to automate, so segmenting and automating unit and integration tests can save time while leaving manual testers to perform higher-level tasks. When choosing automation, evaluate the time saved with automated tests vs. the quality and importance of data received. 

A genuinely optimized testing strategy is not complete automation but orchestrated manual and automated testing combined.

2. Make your UX intuitive

A robust testing process needs to be the heart of a user-centered design to determine if an app is usable and intuitive enough for its target audience. Good quality UX is more than decorative fonts, a good color scheme, and functional end-paths. Genuinely intuitive, customer-centric UX must include thorough test cases that ensure: 

  • Comprehensibility
  • Responsive feedback
  • Predictability
  • Efficiency
  • Error forgiveness
  • Explorability

Intuitive design testing will check for scenarios where an app does not receive an expected value from the server in an API response. Will the app crash and reboot? Send an error message? In 2022, create test cases that put the consumer’s intuitive capabilities and desires first and incorporate that feedback into the dev cycle. 

3. Segment your QA strategy for more innovative, thorough testing

From B2B to fintech, individual industries have unique challenges, trends, practices, and solutions affecting QA strategy. Similarly, specific products and new features benefit from personalized QA testing plans. Creating a broad, general QA strategy will not universally apply to all of your complex product offerings.

You should have a unique strategy for each of your products and features. If you plan to run live streams in 2022, create a specific QA strategy that utilizes live stream best practices, like setting up a war room with a QA and development lead and using testers’ geolocation to cover critical markets.

Launching a new in-app payment funnel? That feature has its unique consumer expectations, dev challenges, and QA best practices like:

  • Executing multiple integration test cases
  • Using a scalable testing platform
  • Running a pre-test pilot
  • Prioritizing end-UX to prevent shopping cart abandonment

4. Shift left to prevent bugs before they happen

From connectivity failures to functional concerns, bugs are bound to happen. Fixing software bugs is incredibly costly in the direct cost of mitigating the defects and the indirect cost of decreased consumer trust.

The cost of detecting and fixing defects in software increases exponentially with time in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Shifting left and executing smaller QA tests earlier in the SDLC allows for more time to prevent bugs cheaply, effectively, and before they reach customers. 

One way to shift left is pairing testers with developers to run tests before building and provide feedback to help with development decisions. Remember that tests performed earlier in the pipeline don’t replace the testing done before deployment – they complement them and reduce the chance of having problems go undetected.

5. Write high quality test plans

Creating a good test plan and writing a bug report is still one of the most invaluable ways to keep uniform quality across runs, testing teams, and managers. Test planning should be strategic and to the point, while remaining thorough and providing clear metrics for testers.

A well-defined test plan maps out testing resources and creates an overview of runs, including the following:

  • The scope of testing
  • What O/S, platforms, and devices to run tests on
  • Writing test cases
  • Allocating resources for testing
  • Creating test data
  • Reporting and validating bugs
  • Delivering meaningful feedback
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Here’s how to write a bug report that will make your engineers love you.

6. Find a partner you trust to help execute your QA strategy

As a professional QA manager, it can be incredibly complicated to deliver an optimized product constantly. You have fluctuating demands on device types, connectivity, mobile settings, and new features, and you can’t do it alone. 

However, multiple platforms and external resources across different testing management platforms make collaboration more complicated than it needs to be.

When releasing a web or mobile app, having a centralized team on a single platform ensures that the product can roll out successfully to end-users. Teaming up with a single QA partner is an efficient way to extend your device coverage, increase the utilization of in-house testers, and immediately improve your QA and UX.

With so much riding on a single partner, QA leads need to research and comparison shop like a procurement manager. Resources like our Ultimate App Testing Buyer’s Guide offer insight into the pros/cons of various software testing services and 20 questions to ask software testing vendors via a comparison shopping worksheet. Assessing software testing partners is a challenge, but critical indicators like NPS and industry intelligence can offer insight into a company’s ability to aid your QA strategy successfully.

Testlio helps organizations augment QA testing teams with a global network of experts providing experience-focused client services. Contact us for a demo.

Kassidy Kelley serves as the Managing Editor for Testlio and works from her home base in Boston, MA.