Quality Assurance Ops: The Basics

Stress in the workplace is one of the main causes for burnout and subsequent career changes. Software and app development companies are in no way immune to this. In fact, development teams tend to face high-level stress situations on a frequent basis. This stress is caused by the demand of getting perfectly functioning products out on time. The stress builds up and weighs on the team, which then creates a drag on the company as a whole. In the past few years, new methodologies for avoiding this product release stress have been created. There’s now DevOps, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment and so on. And while these methods lightened the load, they didn’t quite cure the problem. Until now.

1. What QAOps Is

QAOps is a fairly new process for integrated testing and quality assurance during the entire development and release phases. It may sound like a lofty promise, but it’s already working for big and small companies alike.

In short, QAOps is a process that can be used alongside DevOps and Continuous Integration and/or Deployment. At every stage, testing is done–for usability, for errors, and for quality. The reason that this is a game changer is that testing and development used to be two separate entities, and often testing could cause major bottlenecks that would slow down development and release. Now with QAOps, that doesn’t happen.

2. Who Is Using QAOps

Facebook is one of the best examples of how QAOps just works. Facebook’s login feature enables users to log in to millions of apps and websites with their already created Facebook identity and privacy controls. In 2014, Facebook decided to migrate to Facebook Graph API v2.0 and enforce Login Review for all apps. To ensure that this migration went smoothly, Facebook wanted to test out the new version on the five thousand largest apps. Unfortunately, in-house they could only handle testing it on five hundred apps. So they chose to outsource. By outsourcing testing, they had all five thousand apps tested in a month and were able to identify and address critical problems with more than nine hundred apps–a feat that would have been impossible by solely relying on their in-house testing team.

So QAOps can work for the giants of technology, what about the small guys? QAOps can scale up or down to fit any business size. This includes agencies who are outsourcing providers for software development, such as DotCom Development.

3. When QAOps Should Be Used

Always. That’s the short answer to when QAOps should happen during the production process. This means staging, development, release, and even after when you update, improve or modify the app or software. Even if your entire application lives in a cloud environment, Quality assurance has to be part of the entire operation. That is precisely why it is so good at releasing the bottle neck that generally occurs with testing. When you continuously check for the small bugs throughout the entire process, those small bugs don’t turn into major bugs.

QAOps is especially useful when specific types of testing are needed. For localization, QAOps is almost non-negotiable. When you are designing software or apps for a specific location or culture, you need to know that it actually fits in with that culture. If it doesn’t, your app will fall short. QAOps allows you to connect with testers in or near that location so you can really see if your software will connect or just be plain confusing.

QAOps can also be extremely useful in regression testing. In other words, you have some previously developed software and you need to quickly release a software enhancement, patch or configuration change. To ensure that the update is released in a timely manner, QAOps can help check for any new faults that may have been created by the new information being added. If you are using an agile project management process, regression testing can be viewed as something that causes unnecessary overheads. With the affordability and efficiency of QAOps, that concern is gone. And it is for this very reason that companies like Openlink are integrating QAOps into their development process–it allows them to provide customers with the best software, faster.

4. Where QAOps Can Be Used

The magic of QAOps is its versatility. In other words, you can get testing for your application done on any device or operating system you want it available on. And you can go as big or small as you need or want–scaling up does not equate to a longer testing period, as shown through the example of Facebook Login.

While QAOps doesn’t discourage automated testing, it does emphasize the value of manual testing. The reason manual testing can be so beneficial is that it gives you a humanized view, a usability view, and deeper information. Various methodologies can be used for QAOps, such as the previously mentioned regression testing and localization testing. Some of the other common methodologies used include:

  • Functional Exploratory Testing: Sometimes this is referred to as non-regression testing because it is making sure that the application is functioning as expected, rather than that bug-fixes have been successful. Experienced testers will aim to reproduce typical crashes and bugs in this type of testing throughout the entire application.
  • Focused Deep Dive Testing: This is very similar to functional exploratory testing but it focuses on a specific area, such as a new release in the application.
  • Test Case Execution: With this testing, testers will work through a checklist that guides them through the paths and features that users would go through. Their main goal is just to ensure that everything works smoothly and is user-friendly.

5. How QAOps Can Be Used

QAOps is unique from processes like DevOps and Continuous Deployment. It doesn’t take as much of a culture change in the workplace. In fact, it will really only assist developers and testers–less sitting around time, more getting results and making fixes. Even if a company is utilizing software to create mobile checklists and forms, with the likes of IntouchCheck, using QAOps to verify quality of this forms can save you both time and money.

To get started, it can be helpful to implement Continuous Integration so that automated tests can be regularly run and a more complete code and can be sent to outsourced testers. The next step is to get in contact with a quality assurance testing provider.