Like in many other fields, quality assurance in software development has always been given a back seat, and the jobs of quality assurance engineers and software quality engineers were looked down upon as mundane and bland activities. “Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution, and it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
Even though that notion has been gradually changing, there is still a large section, especially in the software fraternity itself that not only believes in the myths regarding quality assurance but also helps raise new ones for the outside world to believe in them. If you are a QA Engineer or a QA Specialist reading this, take pride in what you do because you are the guys who take the software craft to the level of art and make it into a masterpiece by carefully identifying every minute flaw and fine-tuning the final product. Let’s bust some common myths about Quality Assurance in SDLC.
- QA is Just Testing
- QA is Easy
- QA vs Software Team
- QA Specialists are a Failed Programmers
- QA is Not Technical
- QA can be Automated
- AI Overtakes QA
- QA is Expensive
- QA Delays Release
- QA Ensures Bug-Free
1. QA is Just Testing
This is the most common myth out there. Many people think Quality assurance in the software development lifecycle is just testing the finished software product whereas, in reality, QA must start from the planning stage of SDLC itself. Testing can be viewed as a subset of QA. It is observed that most of the errors that are identified in the testing phase were already introduced in the design and requirement phase, and with a proper QA in place, these can be identified during the initial stages of SDLC itself thus saving time and money.
Hence testing can be viewed as a part of QA which include in every stage of SDLC whereas Quality Assurance is the process that involves everyone in the software team. Yes! Even though there is a separate QA team, when it comes to quality, everyone should involve!
2. QA is Easy
People believe that QA means testing the software for bugs and think anyone can do it. It is the most complex job that requires not only technical knowledge but also creative thinking and analytical problem-solving abilities.
Technical knowledge is required to understand the software product they are testing for quality and analytical thinking is required to plan, inspect, execute, and implement various test scenarios, reporting the bugs found to the development team for rectification, assessment of risks, re-testing, and suggesting improvements. And most importantly, QA has to get into the shoes of the end-user or customer to understand user experience and UX. So, the QA team has to do many hats, not an easy one and definitely not for anyone!
3. QA vs Software Team
Quality assurance is ensuring a smooth, flawless experience for the end-users and to achieve this, the QA team should try to find as many defects as possible in the software so that those can be rectified. This “fault-finding” has often led to a popular myth that the QA team is just a bunch of people trying to find faults in their development team and that they hate each other. People who think so should understand one thing. Quality is never limited to a separate team or a group of people. It is a collective effort to bring out the best in everyone involved. Not just developers, but the QA team too, hate finding bugs and will be happy when they find none.
While developers are responsible for a specific component or area of the whole project, the QA team understands the overall impact of the whole software, its dependencies, and various relations between the modules of the project. QA and software teams should complement each other in bringing the best out of each other!
4. QA Specialists are a Failed Programmers
It is often viewed that QA Engineer or QA specialist jobs are precursors to the software programmer jobs. It is not! Both are as different as chalk and cheese. While a software programmer writes a program for a specific function, the job of a QA Engineer or QA specialist is to challenge the program by finding any errors/bugs. When working together, they come up with an error-free software program that is optimized and fine-tuned.
5. QA is Not Technical
This is the most common myth in the software industry. Most developers, coders, and technical guys think QA is a non-technical branch in SDLC. To perform various tests on the code written, the QA team has to understand a lot of technical stuff – be it software specification documents, coding, databases, or version control. Without being a quality assurance engineer or software quality engineer, it is impossible to understand the nuances and test software without understanding technical architecture.
6. QA can be Automated
The truth is, only a few tests can be automated, for example, regression tests. Automated tests cannot be performed for error guessing or these automated tests cannot assess the user experience, and user comfort while using the end product. Moreover, these automated tests cannot be performed at the beginning of the SDLC and can be performed only towards the end.
Automated tests, at best, can be used for unit testing, smoke testing, integration testing, regression testing, etc. Manual tests are best when the results of one test are used to design the other following tests, assessing risk management and when some Adhoc out-of-the-box testing has to be done. It is a combination of both manual and automated tests that brings quality to the table as automated tests save time and resources while manual testing can help identify human emotions and needs while using the software by a human.
7. AI Overtakes QA
This myth is just an extension of the previous myth. While AI has been adopted in many areas of technology and many processes have been automated using AI, QA still needs a human touch. The biggest feat that AI cannot perform is the ability to “feel”. AI cannot assess the difficulty or ease of browsing through a site and cannot “gauge” the feeling of an end-user experience. AI is no doubt a revolutionary aspect in speeding up the testing process since it cannot replace the human touch, AI cannot overtake QA, at least not in the near future!
8. QA is Expensive
The truth of this myth is QA “appears” to be expensive at first. This is because, when you opt for a good QA team that will cost you a little more, you may not be aware of how much it costs to fix bugs that are found post-development and other unexpected problems that may arise due to lack of QA.
Only when you compare the costs of fixing all those bugs at the end without having a proper QA in place you will understand the importance of QA and how QA is not an expense but a thoughtful investment! Preventing a bugged and error-prone software is always better and less expensive than finding a cure by shelling out more bucks on fixing the same.
9. QA Delays Release
Actually, it is quite the opposite if planned properly. When bugs are found at the end of the SDLC, and when a release date is announced without taking into consideration the time to fix the bugs that are found during testing, it appears that QA and testing are the culprits for the delay in the project.
However, when Quality Assurance in Software Development is a part of SDLC from the start and the bug fixing is going on concurrently with every stage, then the releasing the final, error-free product will not be delayed and in fact, the release may happen much before the deadline.
10. QA Ensures Bug-Free
To begin with, no one should believe in this as none of the software out there is error-free. It is practically impossible to fix every error in the software. Even a successful software that is rigorously tested before release may contain a potentially dangerous bug waiting for an event to trigger. The QA team in an SDLC ensures that most of the potentially harmful bugs are identified and fixed. To envisage such errors beforehand that may crop up in the future requires the expertise of the QA team and their critical thinking.
So, those are the 10 myths in the QA arena. QA teams, rather than just providing the solutions, should be passionate about solving the problems; only then they can excel in their field because, quality in a service or a product is not what you put into it, it is what the client or customer gets out of it. Only when you are passionate, you can achieve that!