6 QA Terms You Need to Know
6 QA Terms You Need to Know
At TestCraft, we take QA very seriously. With the proper team, tools, and processes, we believe that QA is essential to delivering high-quality software that propels businesses forward.
Whether you’re just starting out in QA or have been in the industry for many years, there are some terms that you will need to use as part of your everyday vocabulary. Here are some of the most important QA terms you should know about:
Manual testing is the process of testing software physically, without the assistance of other tools, to find bugs or defects. A manual tester assumes the role of an end user, mimicking different ways they would use the software to make sure everything is working properly.
Manual testing is an essential part of the QA process for multiple reasons. First, manual testing brings a human element to software testing. The software can have certain quirks that, while technically correct, can seem strange to the human eye. Pointing out these issues is essential to creating a good user experience. Second, testers can use manual testing to bridge the gap between software development and business objectives. While developers are responsible for creating the software and its functionalities, testers are the ones who normally have a better understanding of larger business goals. This business knowledge will help inform manual tests that will prioritize what’s most important to the business.
Another important term that is related to manual testing is “exploratory testing”. This is one major area where manual testing can make a large impact. In exploratory testing, testers use their experience with the software to innovate new and better tests that will support the software and move the product forward. With exploratory testing as the main objective, manual testing is something that will drive software testing forward.
Unlike manual testing, test automation uses tools to run software tests without human assistance. The automation can range from running the same tests on different browsers and in different versions, to running complicated scenarios to make sure everything works properly.
As companies are looking to achieve shorter and more frequent software releases, test automation speeds up this process by taking care of more mundane and repetitive tasks. This not only saves time and resources but also gives testers the freedom to run more creative (and generally more enjoyable) tests.
There are many areas where test automation can be helpful, but it’s important to note that test automation is not a blanket solution for doing faster and more efficient software testing. Test automation is something that QA teams need to adapt strategically in order to get the most out of it. QA teams need to factor in things such as project size, the amount of maintenance necessary and how much data you need to test.
In addition, QA teams need to factor which test automation tools to use in order to run these tests. While some companies may be happy to work directly with testing platforms like Selenium, others may find that codeless test automation solutions are a better fit for their team’s needs. Yet when applied correctly with the right tool, test automation can do a lot to shorten release cycles in a short amount of time.
One type of testing that is a great candidate for test automation is continuous testing. Continuous testing is an ongoing testing process that happens in each stage of the software development lifecycle to get feedback on changes as quickly as possible. This happens by embedding various types of software testing (unit, functional, non-functional) at every stage of software development.
This type of testing is very effective when building quality software. It allows QA teams to be more proactive with integrating testing into the DevOps pipeline. By automating and testing these scenarios as much and as early as possible, it also reduces the risk of finding vulnerabilities post-release.
Not only does this push teams to create better software, but continuous testing is also a cost-effective option. It costs companies much more to fix tests later on in the development cycle. In fact, it costs 6 times more to fix a bug during implementation than during design.
Regression testing is another type of testing that benefits from automation. When companies release new code, regression testing ensures that changes in code do not affect previously created test scenarios.
Instead of spending time going over old code after a new release, regression tests make sure that everything is working as it should when these changes happen. This can be done either manually or through test automation, but this task is often automated because it’s considered more routine.
When companies are looking to automate regression tests, there are two types of tools that do this: record-and-playback tools or codeless solutions that offer test modeling. The major benefit of record-and-playback tools is that they are simple to use. All someone needs to do is record a tester’s actions and then play it back to make sure that everything is working properly. Where record-and-playback tools fall short is when it comes to running regression tests after changes. When there is any change in the flow, the test needs to be recorded all over again.
To overcome the challenges presented by record-and-playback tools, there are other solutions that allow for creating a model of the test instead of a recording. With a test model, QA teams can add or change steps within the test flows, even as they’re running. This makes automated regression testing significantly easier and much less time-consuming.
When anyone discusses software testing, one of the topics that are sure to come up is how to do proper test maintenance. This means that when changes happen to your software, QA teams need to keep their tests up-to-date in order to make sure that it runs properly.
Test maintenance is considered one of the larger bottlenecks associated with automated testing. Tests that aren’t maintained properly are prone to breaking easily, which means that this is something that QA teams need to stay on top of in order to ensure effective testing. It is a time-consuming process where testers often need to go back into the code, find the issue that made the test break and make the proper fixes in the hopes of it not happening again.
To increase test stability, there are test automation tools that use artificial intelligence to take care of a lot of areas of test maintenance. Using AI can be especially helpful when you want to make sure that the test scenario identifies the right element while it is running, even after there are changes within the element itself (e.g. a login button that changes color, a free trial button that increases in size, etc.). These tests are not changing in logic; rather they are testing software that has changed slightly from the original code.
While this may seem small, the number of tests that can break from these changes add up over time, taking away time and resources from your team. The AI-based technology found in leading automation testing tools can overcome these changes with incredible accuracy, making sure that your tests are giving you the most value through their stability and repeatability.
DevOps is one of those terms that people in the QA world will often say and use, but not know exactly what it means. In his lengthy discussion of this term, Ernest Mueller of The Agile Admin defines DevOps as “‘Agile Software Delivery and Operations,’ which should similarly work in concert with others working on larger organizational initiatives, but without losing sight of its primary value proposition for the organization.”
Essentially, it provides a set of principles and best practices for teams (development and operations teams, but this extends to other teams in IT as well), to do their jobs better and faster. It offers a framework for which teams can release faster, adapt more quickly to changes and align more closely with larger business objectives.
DevOps and QA are often working side by side, but these two teams can often feel at odds as QA works to function in as agile a manner as the dev team. Things such as stronger communication, using automation where it’s necessary and creating for opportunities for collaboration are great ways to bridge this gap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is manual testing important?
Manual testing helps to bridge the gap between developers and testers while still including the human element of testing. Manual testing also allows for exploratory testing, which lets testers get creative.
Is test automation beneficial for QA testers?
Test automation allows for tests to run without human involvement, which saves QA testers time, resources, and allows them to pursue exploratory testing. QA testers need to be aware of the multitude of automation tools on the market today and do the appropriate research in order to determine which one will fit their product best.
What is continuous testing?
Continuous testing helps to give feedback on the ongoing testing of a product. This kind of testing creates quality software and can save a company money by fixing bugs earlier on in the software development process.
How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) help with test maintenance?
Using AI can help with test maintenance when overcoming new changes in the application’s UI. AI helps to ensure that test scenarios identify the right element while tests are running, even after changes occur, preventing tests from breaking unnecessarily.
What exactly does DevOps provide?
DevOps, or development and operations teams, helps to provide best practices and a better framework in order for teams to have quicker release cycles and adapt quickly to changes. While DevOps and QA can work side-by-side, they can often disagree on priorities when testing. Collaboration between the two teams can be enhanced through stronger communication channels, the use of test automation when it is fit, and finding collaborative opportunities when possible.