In a typical software organization, there are numerous software testing and quality assurance activities that are to be accomplished as per project timelines. It is a big challenge for the project management teams to keep a track of all these activities and ensure timely completion. In such situations, the role of software quality assurance (SQA) proves to be very useful. SQA is gaining significant popularity in the software industry, what are the reasons behind it? Is it really beneficial to today’s software enterprises? In this blog, we would seek answers to the above questions and also discuss about the various software quality assurance best practices that software organizations are implementing, in order to improve software quality.
Software Testing Outsourcing Trends
In today’s rapidly evolving IT environment, software organizations are increasingly outsourcing software testing activities to third party entities, which have comprehensive software testing experience and well-established software Test Factory Models (TFM). Outsourcing software testing helps organizations to improve overall quality and reliability of their software products. However, when management makes a decision to outsource their software testing processes, they should ideally consider a software organization that has an established test factory model, a clear organizational structure defining various roles, responsibilities and competencies of their project teams.
Verification and Validation
Software quality assurance (SQA) is an essential component of a software development process. The primary reason why organizations decide to outsource their software testing processes is to reduce overhead costs without compromising on quality. Software testing predominantly consists of two sub-sets, verification and validation. Verification involves manual scrutiny or review of a software product, such as inspection, walkthroughs and technical review. Whereas, validation involves developing software testing activities such as unit test, integration test, system test, acceptance test and usability test.
Most of the software testers must be aware that software testing is an integral part of SQA methodology. Implementing SQA not only helps in the systematic accomplishment of verification and validation activities, but also results in a wide range of benefits which include:
- Reduction in defect rate
- Decline in development costs
- Improved delivery time and
- Enhancement in test efficiency
However, about 60 percent of software developers admit that the verification and validation were the first activities that were neglected by their software development teams. A good software testing practice requires maintaining a well-defined test factory model, which covers both people and processes, wherein the role of SQA is to ensure that no deviations crop up in a process. The verification and validation activities are executed depending on the software testing model implemented by the software organizations.
Benefits of Outsourcing Software Testing
Building integrated software testing teams and SQA groups is an alternate approach to perform software testing, in addition to outsourcing, which is now a widely accepted norm for software testing. Software organizations have started sub-contracting software testing activities to firms specializing in software testing, as they realize that their core development teams lack adequate technical skills and knowledge to perform software testing. Therefore, they are of opinion that outsourcing of software testing is a win-win situation, which results in significant cost savings and overall improvement of software quality.
Test Factory Model
It is highly recommended for organizations which are offering end-to-end software testing services to adopt a test factory model, which would allow them to enhance their software testing capabilities to a next-level. Currently, the test factory model does not have a well-defined organizational structure that meets the need of both software development companies and software testing firms (subcontractors) to ensure hassle-free outsourcing of testing activities. Without implementing a well-established test factory model, it can be a challenge to both these entities to manage their software testing processes effectively.
Software Testing Organizational Model
A successful test factory incorporates well-defined software testing organizational model, which clearly outlines the organizational structure, various roles, competencies, technicalities of the process etc. All these are important factors that contribute to formulating a robust software testing process. An immature software testing methodology often results in an unproductive, chaotic and discouraging environment, which leads to low quality software testing, end-result being a substandard software product.
Developing a software testing organizational model flawlessly is a complex task. To develop a foolproof model, it has to be structured in two distinct phases:
- Develop a core process model.
- Determine the roles, capacities and responsibilities for the specified process.
A software testing organization must aim to implement a well-defined test factory model, which would help them to effectively manage outsourced software testing activities. Nowadays, more and more software organizations are focusing to reduce costs by outsourcing their software testing activities to competent software entities, which have established and efficient test factory models. Implementing a test factory model not only helps in improving software quality, but also results in significant cost savings, which is a win-win situation for both the entities.