Quality assurance is crucial to launch, but integrating it early in the software development process might get you faster to your goal.
— When should Quality Assurance (QA) be involved in software development? The commonly held belief is that it reaches peak relevance once the software is closer to launch — which stems from another misconception that testing is all there is to QA — but kicking off the process as early as planning can help reduce the risks to the team’s resources and efficiencies.
The Shift Left Model has seen rising popularity in software development in recent years. The idea is to take tasks typically done at the end of the lifecycle and bring them closer to the start or the “left” (following a chronological picture of the process). It is not a ‘shift’ in the sense that you no longer test towards the end, but to do it at every step as a preventative measure. After all, QA becomes more valuable to software development when it’s viewed and functions in a holistic manner.
So what does QA look like in the early stages of software development? Let’s take a look.
Your QA team doesn’t need a functioning product to start reviewing for quality. They can begin by going through project requirements and documentation and ensure all available information provides a solid foundation for development. The sharpest of QA engineers may even be able to anticipate bugs and formulate improvements even before coding. Experienced QAs will review user stories, create test scripts, make recommendations for enhancements, and raise challenges other members of the team may not be able to think of.
It only makes sense for QA to be present when development plans are beginning to take shape. Because they are considered experts on user behavior, QA engineers can act as consultants for designers who may have questions on particular elements, functionalities, or experiences to include in their design.
This is also a good time to write a test plan. The discussions they have with designers can also add color to the steps they will take during testing. Understanding why a certain feature was included, for example, can help them balance the intentions of the product team and the benefit to the end-user.
The further you are in development, the number and complexity of bugs that may go unnoticed are likely to increase—and so will the cost to address them. Involve QA in development sprints to check if your output is progressing as planned and determine priority fixes from there.
If your team is following an agile methodology, then it’s only sensible to incorporate QA in every step. The specifics of their engagement may vary according to your setup and needs, but the benefits to speed, cost, and output quality are clear.
Get QA engineers who can add value to your software development process from start to finish. Schedule a consultation with Get Devs today.