Team Building and Quality Assurance

September 22nd, 2016 by Chris Riley

Ashley Hunsberger, Greg Sypolt and Chris Riley contributed to this post.

How do you build an effective team of quality assurance (QA) engineers? Where do you look to recruit the best QA professionals? How should you integrate your QA team within the rest of your organization? These and other questions related to the topic of team building came up during a recent webinar hosted by Chris Riley, Ashley Hunsberger, and Greg Sypolt. Here are links to the first and second post in this series.

Team building is an essential part of an effective QA operation, of course. Your testing strategy and execution are only as strong as the people who design and conduct them. And in today’s IT world, where DevOps is changing the way different types of engineers interact, and the supply of good QA professionals outstrips demand, having a well-planned and executed approach to team building is crucial.

Below are some of the most important team-building questions that came up during the webinar, along with answers from participants.

One thing I have noticed lately is that QA engineers are getting more respect. With automation, their skillset looks more like those of a developer. Do you agree? (more…)

The Cost of a Reject

September 1st, 2016 by Joe Nolan

You’ve heard about the cost of a bug—The longer it takes for a bug to be discovered, the more expensive it is to fix. But have you ever considered the cost of a reject? Do you have visibility into how much rejected stories and bugs are affecting your Scrum team’s capacity in terms of time?

Let’s take a look at just how impactful rejects can be, and how to mitigate them when they occur.

The Cost

Start with an average story or bug ticket in a hypothetical Scrum team:

  • A story or bug ticket is created and assigned to the sprint.
    • The bug has steps to reproduce—if the writer was efficient.
    • For the story, QA and the Scrum team determine the test strategy.
  • The developer works on the ticket and pushes it to QA.
  • QA verifies or rejects the ticket.

Different tickets take different levels of effort. For the sake of this article, let’s assume it takes an average of 30 mins for QA to verify the ticket.

At least, that’s what happens when all goes well. (more…)

Quality Assurance and Software Testing: A Brief History

July 12th, 2016 by Chris Tozzi

Developers have been testing software since they first started building software following World War II. And quality assurance as a whole has a history that stretches back much further than that, of course.

But have you ever wondered how we got from the early days of programming – when developers relied on ad hoc methods for finding bugs in their code – to the modern world of Selenium and cloud-based testing?

Keep reading for a (brief and totally non-exhaustive) history of quality assurance and software testing.

The Origins of Quality Assurance

I could start by describing quality assurance processes in preindustrial societies, long before anyone had ever heard of software. But that would actually require writing a book.

So I’ll just quickly note some things that are probably obvious if you think about them, but that you might take for granted. Before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of modern capitalism, the calculus of quality assurance was a bit different than it is today. Markets were usually monopolized by guilds. Without free market competition, assuring quality wasn’t necessarily important for keeping customers happy. And in the absence of strong governments, attempts by the state to prevent defects in products tended to be rare or ineffectual. (more…)

Recap: Design Patterns for Scalable Test Automation (Webinar)

June 17th, 2016 by Bill McGee

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our recent webinar, “Design Patterns for Scalable Test Automation Using Selenium and WebdriverIO”, featuring Continuous Delivery and Quality Architect Sahas Subramanian.

In this webinar, Sahas gave an explanation and showed examples of design patterns that can help you build stable and scalable automated tests using Selenium, WebdriverIO and Sauce Labs. The presentation also covered:

  • Rationalized automation – when to use WebDriver and browser-based automation technique
  • Patterns & practices
  • Test, Page Object, UIMap and their respective roles
  • Dealing with asynchronous behavior without using thread.sleep
  • Sharing UI map, Page Objects, and how to avoid redundant code

To learn more about WebdriverIO, check out this recent blog post from Sahas, “Accelerate Multi-browser Testing Using Sauce Labs and Webdriver.io“, as well as this in-depth post that complements the Design Patterns webinar.

Access the recording HERE and view the slides below: 

Why is Manual QA Still So Prevalent?

April 28th, 2016 by Joe Nolan

This past week I casually heard comments alluding to the imminent death of the QA Analyst or Manual Tester. (To be clear, I am not referring to the QA Automation Engineer, who builds test automation.)

Not only does the function not seem to be going away, recruiters are still out their hunting testers down. Out of curiosity I did my own review of randomly selected job posts from Monster and Indeed for average QA positions, and discovered that there are still a lot of jobs available for manual testers.

With the importance of catching bugs early, and the ability to automate all testing, why do companies and projects resist the investment in CI and test automation? I will explore the reasons why now, and whether the resistance is good or bad. (more…)

Mobile vs. Web: Which is Harder to Test?

April 19th, 2016 by Joe Nolan

Have you ever worked on a web-based test team and switched to a mobile team and wondered if your life is about to get easier or harder? There are significant differences between testing mobile vs. web, and yes, one is MUCH harder than the other. Want to guess which one? Read on and see if you guessed correctly.

Let’s Compare

The table below shows the different facets of testing and where its execution is most challenging. (more…)

Test Faster and Smarter by Testing in Production

April 14th, 2016 by Chris Riley

You may dread the term testing in production (TiP). The thought of potential loss of data, downtime, and a damaged reputation to organizations can be daunting. But things need not be that way. In fact, today, testing in production is used by some of the biggest organizations with much success. But can it become a reality for your team?

Accident or Intentional?

Testing in production is not a completely new concept. In fact, you’ve probably seen it in action more often than you imagine. Think of an app that you’ve released or one that you know of that was poorly tested. You likely spent the next few weeks firefighting, and got it to be functional faster than you thought possible. In this case, you were forced to test in production. But, what if you could hone the art of testing in production and use it to your advantage? What if you could spot and fix issues so much faster than you do today? What if you could influence development from start to end? What if you could do all this without risking the reputation of your team or organization? That’s the promise of TiP, and it’s worth a second glance. (more…)

Waiting for Green

April 12th, 2016 by Ashley Hunsberger

Every now and then, you may encounter a time when you need to stabilize your automated UI tests (for myself, that time is now). Although you don’t want to add to a framework that you are stabilizing, you probably don’t want to halt development on new features. (Warning — telling your leadership team no one is allowed to add more tests until everything goes green might not go over well.)

What do you do in the meantime? The answer is simple, and I look to some practices in Behavior Driven Development (BDD) as a guide – build a test skeleton into your current framework.

The First Rule of Stabilization: Don’t Create a Manual Test Suite

While you may temporarily need to revert to manual execution, it does not necessarily mean you’ll want to go back to a manual test suite for a couple of reasons: (more…)

3 Simple Strategies to Get Started With Automation

March 24th, 2016 by Joe Nolan

If your test automation team’s directive is to automate X amount of tests, and you have no strategy as to which tests they should focus on, you are wasting your time. Before you begin writing your first line of automation code, make sure you have a strategy in place. Otherwise, you will have a ton of ineffective tests to maintain.

Don’t Choose a Random Goal

How many times have you been told that the goal of the team is to have X amount of test coverage? This is an arbitrary value picked out of the sky. What is it based on? If a UI automation team were to cover 80% of the stories in a sprint, they would never get done in time.

We all know how fragile UI automation is! How many times will a designer make a change that directly affects the UI and breaks the test? This is almost manageable during a sprint while you are working closely together, but how about when the product is sent to be translated to another language? The translator inevitably comes back with suggestions to allow for phrases more common and translatable. Bugs might be entered and UI changes made by a maintenance team with no heads up to the automation team, and Bam! — You have broken tests that need to be investigated. (more…)

Women In QA

February 23rd, 2016 by Ashley Hunsberger

I’ve been in QA a little over a decade now, and there is so much to learn as the field constantly evolves. To stay current, I have to carve time to learn, read, and see how others are adapting to our changing world. With so much material available, let me point you to some of the people I like to keep up with. And since next month is Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at the ladies in QA!

Women to Follow

Lisa Crispin. Janet Gregory. Two of the more prominent names in the testing world. They are two women I like to follow in the QA world, whether through their books, conferences, blogs, or tweets.

Lisa Crispin, a tester at Pivotal Labs, is perhaps one of the most well-known testers in the world. She specializes in helping testers find their place in Agile teams, and guiding development with business-facing tests. As with many others in QA, she started testing to fill a need while in tech support, and has been a huge contributor to the testing world ever since. (more…)