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18 Aug 2022 • 4 min read

Common Pitfalls of QA And Software Testing

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When developing software, the goal is always to deliver a product free of bugs and other issues. Failure to do so can not only come at the cost of reduced revenue for the company but also tarnish its reputation. While it is virtually impossible to deliver a perfect product due to all the variables involved, it is important to maintain high standards of quality assurance and to perform proper software testing. However, many companies have learned the hard way that there are still some common pitfalls to watch out for.

Common Pitfalls

1. Relying On Developers To Do Everything

Expecting developers to do all the quality assurance and software testing is a recipe for disaster. Companies often think that they can save costs by not hiring experts for the QA and software testing, but the opposite can happen if things go wrong. 

It is usually a much better option to let the developers focus on the core function of their jobs while another team is dedicated to the QA and testing. Using external QA and testing teams is an option for companies that don't have enough in-house staff available for the job. 

2. Not Making Use of Documentation

Each software project has essential requirements and functionalities, which should be adequately documented. With proper documentation, everyone from developers to testers has a solid reference, which helps ensure they are on the same page.

If all the requirements are not properly documented, it can be easy for the project to get derailed. Even when using the Agile methodology, it is possible to enhance the outlook of the next sprint if a documented set of objectives are correctly outlined. Using documentation can also help scrum masters to do their jobs properly.

3. Refusing To Use Testing Tools

There are several tools available that can assist with determining whether or not the software is meeting the goals and requirements of a project. Refusing to use these types of tools may result in lower quality software and ramp up the cost if errors are not spotted early in the coding process. Popular testing tools include TestRail, PractiTest, SpiraTest, TestMonitor, JIRA, and more. 

Using tools can help to automate tasks in larger systems where manual testing would be too time-consuming. Vendor solutions can help with continuous testing, configuration management, service virtualization, defect or bug tracking, as well as metrics and report. Using automated testing makes it easy to test differentiators and implement different scenarios. When using testing tools, the best approach is to monitor the application programming interface, user interface, and system levels. 

4. Waiting Too Long Before Testing

The longer it takes before proper software testing is done, the more difficult and time-consuming it can be to fix any errors that are discovered. In an effort to speed up development and save costs, a lot of businesses reserve testing until the last phase. Doing so is not only a nightmare for developers who have limited time to fix things but also the testers who have to perform under pressure. 

To avoid disasters towards the end of the project, it is vital that testing is incorporated into the project right from the start. This will give testers enough time to do their job correctly and avoid unwelcome surprises as the project nears completion. 

5. Lack of Communication

Lack of communication can cause many issues in any business environment, and software development is no exception. Even if quality assurance and software testing are implemented, problems can arise without communication. For example, testers might feel that their work is not being acknowledged or considered, while developers might think their work is being unfairly criticized. Without healthy and friendly communication from both sides, it is not uncommon for developers to feel threatened or act defensively if issues are found. 

Conclusion

Ensuring that common pitfalls of quality assurance and software testing are avoided can seem like a hassle, but history is full of examples of why it is worth doing. For example, the "CS"2" system developed by Electronic Data Systems for the UK Government in 2004 is frequently cited as one of the best examples of how badly things can go wrong if software is not tested properly (https://www.zdnet.com/home-and-office/networking/child-support-it-failures-savaged/). Another example is the $440 million software error that crippled one of the largest traders in U.S. equities (https://www.henricodolfing.com/2019/06/project-failure-case-study-knight-capital.html). While not all software errors are as dramatic or costly, many other losses in reputation and income occur due to a lack of proper testing.

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