What is the real meaning behind a company’s quality-focused standpoint?
I’ve been reflecting on the bona fide purpose of an organization’s dedication to quality recently. Could they be implying:
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– Raising process quality?
– Upgrading tools and frameworks?
– Recruiting proficient testers?
It’s pretty unusual for them to strive for all the factors above, although in reality, they should be aspiring for a blend of the trio.
The spotlight seems to hover more around testing tools and frameworks more frequently, rather than the worth that multi-talented testers bring to the organization, going beyond their technical abilities in utilizing these tools and frameworks.
Explore These Key Topics:
Testing Tools Contrasted with Testers’ Skills
In order to genuinely understand an organization’s actual necessities, I’ve assembled a catalog of typical quality-centric roles and how they contribute value within an enterprise.
Delving into Manual Testers
These testers chiefly demonstrate expertise in the manual testing of products or applications, primarily executing manual testing procedures. The exclusive employment of manual testing is most applicable under these situations:
- The application under test (AUT) is compact, lightweight, and highly stable
- Rapid completion of smoke testing and regression testing of new changes in relation to existing functionality
- Active participation of manual testers in requirements gathering and development processes
- Testers have insights into and can influence the coverage of unit and integration tests written by developers
This implies that when functionality is limited, manual testing can invite benefits. However, with the increased complexity of the application or product, excluisve dependence on manual testing poses problems and generates certain challenges, including:
- The requirement to hire additional testers to meet high-quality testing needs of massive projects, potentially escalating operational costs
- Greater costs and time expenditures due to repetitive testing of previously developed functions
- Increased risk of skipping testing of long-existing functionality under the assumption that new functionality hasn’t impacted it
- Declining motivation and mounting fatigue among testers given the repetition of testing identical functions
To overcome some of these hindrances, teams often opt to automate test cases using an array of tools and frameworks.
Unpacking Test Automation Engineers
These testers exhibit a remarkable focus on testing tools. They attribute significant value to test automation employing various tools and frameworks. Organizations often designate them with variant titles like “Software Developer in Test,” “Technical QA,” “Test Automation Engineer,” and so on. Frequently, they are developers engaged in writing tests. Test automation engineers provide the most value when they collaborate with manual testers to achieve objectives such as:
- Easing manual testing workloads by automating both new and previous features
- Ensuring comprehensive test case coverage through a balanced manual and automated testing approach
Similar to a manual-only testing strategy, having a test automation team solely focused on generating tests brings along unique challenges. These may include:
- The entrance barrier of mandatory programming skills to code functional test automation
- Maintenance overhead arising from managing a large volume of tests crafted over time
- The centralization of test automation knowledge within the team
- Deficiency of emphasis on the overall test strategy
While test automation along with manual testing proves beneficial, adopting siloed techniques, where distinct types of testing are performed by separate groups, leads to testers missing a wide range of skills. This consequently drives up hiring costs since two different roles will need to be filled to accomplish the same function.
Adopting Poly-skilled Testers
Being capable of addressing various testing needs throughout different teams, poly-skilled testers do not restrict themselves to only one testing area. Their proficiency lies in their capability to comprehend the AUT and virtually all aspects that influence its quality. They have the technical prowess to interpret development code, can set up tools and frameworks, and can efficiently handle an array of quality requirements within a team. This involves:
- The capability to guide solid test practices covering several testing facets such as performance, usability, and security. They can sway the team’s approach to quality and extend their influence across the company. They can choose suitable testing frameworks based on a variety of factors (not discussed here), manage test maintenance, handle defects, implement CI/CD practices for functional and integration tests, and more.
- The ability to understand an application on multiplex levels. This includes determining the balance between automation versus manual testing based on elements such as business urgency, AUT dynamics, automation effort versus ROI, and similar factors.
- The capability to understand metrics and influence changes in development and testing approaches based on trend evaluation.
Heading back to our opening question in view of these categories: What does your organization actually imply when it claims its dedication to providing quality? If the response is “Let’s secure some tools and bring in developers to author tests leveraging these tools…”, then they are bypassing the main idea.
A quality product is the outcome of merging testing with development. If a company perceives testing as an appended thought or a mere final quality control, then no combination of tools or tests can iron out the quality issues that ultimately present themselves in the product.
Finally, a comprehensive understanding of systematically imbuing quality into the product is what’s necessary.
Tools and frameworks act as gateways to fulfilling testing goals. Poly-skilled testers use a mix of all three key elements – people, processes, and tools – supplemented by their experience, to certify that quality is not isolated but rather seamlessly integrated throughout the software development lifecycle.
About the writer: Roopa Ranganath is an experienced Quality Lead and Agile coach who has significant expertise in test automation. She has led multiple manual, automated, and performance testing teams, consistently decreasing costs while maintaining delivery norms. She shows keen interest in organizations’ quality-based tactics and has assisted mid to large-sized teams in shifting their testing practices from waterfall to Agile methodologies.
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