Every application designed and built for today’s interactive economy will be continuously tested. Software Quality Assurance has become a major axis of the SDLC and is changing in the way software is ideated from the start. Companies such as Google have been pioneering this area in order to adapt to continuous delivery within the Agile Software Development Process. Google has learned that QA’s had to shift towards the test-engineering schema, and in this particular focus paved the way for building automated tests that allowed the team to concentrate better on what they are really good at.
Think about how many applications you used today… I’m willing to bet more than a handful at minimum; all those applications have to be continuously running in order to keep a positive UX return. This means there’s an unseen effort to keep the application from crashing and available 24x7 to the public. Without a solid QA strategy and a staff deeply knowledgeable of its application architecture, the app could face downtime and in a worst case scenario ideas not relevant to the consumer; that could spell disaster to organizations without deep pockets, YIKES!
Today, some organizations like Facebook, place entire accountability on quality on the engineers with huge amounts of automated testing. They take on greater responsibilities to conduct both unit and local tests; the only drawback to this is that at every end of a sprint it poses a challenge to be critical of the details. In the DevOps era of continuous delivery, automated testing is key, however the role of QA is still critical do to its mindset.
A state of thinking
QA needs to be part of the entire design process from early on. Just like unit testing can detect issues early on, so do QA Engineers; It can help ideate-out potential stop-gaps and obstacles before the company committing more budget. This is critical to fledgling start-ups that are looking to leverage budget to maximize product development output.
"I personally believe that Product Managers need do their own QA or work closely with QA staff, even if it means bringing them early on the initial ideation phase; it helps QA team visualize and potentially predict within a fraction of certainty potential speed-bumps I mentioned earlier.
Product Managers know their product better than anyone else in the team and no one can test and ensure quality as well as someone that owns the product. They also have broad expertise across all the moving parts of the product. Though some may lack user experience design, they compensate mostly by being able to detect problems across the entire product spectrum. So one can say that product managers are at the axis of a product keeping a tight reign on testing cycles while optimizing product output.
Sometimes a product can get rather large in scale and becomes tough for the PM to test, breaking the product into smaller segments with a dedicated cross-functional development team to tackle each piece will optimize output while mitigating risk as a whole; this is important for business critical deliverables with sensitive time constraints. By aggregating a QA within the team set up it will alleviate the product managers backlog of testing-tasks while keeping an eye of overall effective productivity.
Quality Assurance is equally necessary and recommended just as test engineering DevOps practices. Agile Software Development paved the way for continuous delivery while Product Managers are ever more centric and critical to building effective products for a dynamic and interactive economy.
My personal experience in developing products in the past decade or so, enabled me to witness multiple successes and product failures across a myriad of applications that spanned B2B to B2C. Today I’m proud to be working with one of the hardest working technology craftsmen in the SoCal and CaliBaja region who’s been helping product managers in the trenches build contextually intelligent products of scale for the past 13 years with integrated QA practices. I find it to be a unique tech ecosystem that melds technology with the human spirit; because at the end of the day technology it’s about people.