Quality assurance (QA) is always a challenge. The fact that we are the last barrier between development and the customer is enough to place a huge responsibility on every QA person, in any environment.
QA is like a gate keeper, blocking all the bugs and preventing them from reaching the real world – the end users.
In SharedBook, this responsibility includes two additional major challenges. The first one has already been mentioned in this Blog a few times - many frequent upgrades.
Recently, we have been upgrading our beta site once, and sometimes even twice, a week. It must be very challenging for development to meet such tight schedules, and it is no less difficult for us to test in such an intensive atmosphere. Especially when we have to verify that a feature which was developed so rapidly will meet the requirements and quality as requested.
Therefore, it is essential to make the most of the short time that we have, by knowing where to be strict and where to skip. For that reason we must be very familiar with the new feature we are testing in order to:
- Detect the important and/or weak parts which will require "heavy" testing.
- Realize which parts of the system are affected by the new feature, so we can conduct specific and precise sanity or regression tests.
Good QA is to find as many major bugs as possible and to make sure each one of them receives the proper attention. But it is not enough to find all the right bugs, they must also be fixed.
With such a tight schedule it is impossible to fix all the bugs that are found immediately, therefore we need to decide which bugs to fix. Such decisions are based on the severity of the bug and the likelihood that a user will actually encounter it.
A wise man once said that the right way to spell "test" is U-S-E-R. It is very difficult to accept this determination as a QA person (even though it might be true), so we continue our tests even after the new feature has launched, in order to be the user who finds the bug “hiding” in the system, and make sure it will be fixed before “real” users find it.
Stay tuned. I hope to talk about the second major challenge next time.