What is QA, why your project needs it, and what are the consequences of not testing the quality of the product?
What actually is QA?
Quality Assurance is one of the key aspects of product development. Its purpose is to locate code issues and potential bugs, that may cause an incorrect work of the whole system, and also review the UX flow to ensure that site will provide the best possible experience for users.
What could these bugs be?
- Issues with automated transactions which in some cases cause an unwanted delay.
- When a user signs up, an email confirmation mail is not sent to his email.
- A security gap during the sign-in process which might lead to losing control over your profile whilst you are the only person who has access credentials.
Knight’s $440 Million Error
One of the largest U.S. stock trading companies, Knight Capital, lost about $7 billion in the first hour of trading alone, buying up 150 different stocks.
The new trading software contained a flaw and executed trades unintentionally. This only became apparent after the software was activated. Two days later, the company’s stocks lost 75% of their value. Eventually, Knight Capital Group Holdings was acquired by another competitor in the market in July 2017.
But why do these cases happen?
This is because software consists of cycles, a sequence of transitions from one form to another. Each of these phases has its own objectives and results. QA engineers help define all requirements for the software, test it at every phase of the life cycle and provide final information about the quality of the product.
Developers need to focus entirely on the software product to respect the given deadlines. Because of that, they can’t afford to waste time with testing or analyzing small bits of code. If there is no QA in the team, some defects may go undetected and will be discovered by a real user only after the official launch.
The following range of metrics on the project performance is directly correlated with maintenance of QA-testing.
- Ensuring customer satisfaction
One of the main reasons why QA matters so much is because it plays a significant role in customer satisfaction. It doesn’t necessarily add value to a product but ensures that the product is as designed, is present, and working as intended.
- Development cost
Having a proper QA on each step of development would significantly reduce the development cost. The impact of issues found early will be significantly lower than the one they may cause after release. While it cannot guarantee the absence of defects altogether, it can increase the likelihood of the business releasing high-quality, stable software.
- Simplify the development process
In a fixed-cost project, early detection of bugs is important. Quality assurance engineers allow you to control the development process by identifying weaknesses as they occur. Otherwise, you may discover bugs at crunch time and be forced to rush the development team. By doing so, you run the risk of launching the project with bugs or, as a minimum, delaying its release.
- Building reputation
If a customer gets to choose between a new product or service or something they already trust and have experience with, they will want to stick with the trusted one. It’s extremely difficult to change people’s minds once they’ve already been made up, and consumers who had one bad experience with a product are unlikely to return to it unless it’s absolutely vital and there’s no alternative available.
QA basically functions as your gatekeeper, with one QA engineer or a team ensuring that your software is developed properly. It’s especially important with projects that contain many modules. The later an error is detected, the more expensive it will be for a project, so it’s best to ensure that the issue is caught as early as possible.