article05.04.20234 minutes

The Role of Quality Assurance in the Effective Development of Digital Solutions

  • Tech

We would never dare to offer a dish without having tasted it first. The same principle applies in the context of the development of digital solutions: our meticulous quality assurance experts join forces with the development teams to test the project from top to bottom and guarantee functional results before any software or mobile application goes live.

What is QA?

Quality assurance (QA) means putting yourself in a user’s shoes by taking the likely and least likely paths on the application and questioning what the team plans to deliver to the client. “I always approach my projects with that mentality to ensure that what is presented is really something that meets the client’s needs” specifies David Massicotte, the QA team coordinator.

In the same way that we sometimes no longer see our typos due to looking at a page too long, our developers sometimes need to take a step back to fully catch all the details that must be added, removed, or refined. The QA analyst brings their fresh eye to the development stages to carefully review all the elements and ensure overall consistency.

In a project, each specialty takes care of a portion of the solution’s design: the developers look after the code and features, the designers are responsible for the appearance and experience, and the architects take care of the strategy. Quality assurance, meanwhile, aims to have an overall vision and understanding of the product, so they can challenge each expertise by conducting tests in every development phase.

The daily workload

Although you might think that it is the last step before delivering the finished product, quality assurance actually comes in quite early in the development of the digital solution, with numerous tests performed as each feature is developed. “If we waited until the end to start testing, there would be far too much to do” explains David.

At the very beginning of the project, in the discovery phase, QA can even join the initial discussions to offer assessments of pitfalls to avoid, in addition to the needs that they may anticipate. They can then start building plans to anticipate these known contingencies and avoid the impact of forgotten elements, hence the importance of having this critical and curious eye at all stages.

A typical day in quality assurance starts with daily team meetings to follow up on each project in development. As part of three projects, David attends the different AGILE ceremonies for each one. This is followed by establishing the test plans, executing them, and then analyzing the results, which will culminate in new development needs.

Although there are common foundations in quality assurance, there are certain steps that are unique to the nventive approach, in the way that we carry out the testing and how we integrate each team. For example, our experts carry out additional ceremonies, such as “Bug Bashes,” where each discipline works together to identify all the problems by testing the application simultaneously. This allows different pairs of eyes with different backgrounds of expertise to recognize needs or gaps, however minor they may be.

David sees his work as a challenge. “If I’m given a product that’s believed to be flawless, I’ll play around with it right away, test things to see if there are any situations that were forgotten at the start or along the way.” Beyond buttons that don’t work, he wants to succeed in finding the flaws in the applied reasoning.

How to get started in QA

Although a continuing education program has recently been established, quality assurance analysts come from various backgrounds. According to David Massicotte, curiosity is one of the best indicators of a good QA analyst. “You have to like wanting to break things and look for bugs. You have to know how to recognize what the client wants and identify what they don’t want.” To prevent an application from crashing in the event of an unexpected use, our team explores different scenarios that lead to these surprising observations, even if the test seems silly.

The path to getting started in QA varies greatly from one person to the next. For his part, David studied development before starting in technical support. One thing led to another, and thanks to his ease with and knowledge of technology, he found himself doing quality assurance before landing his position at nventive.

«But I’ve seen excellent QA analysts come from all sorts of backgrounds: sales or even the medical sector! Real ‘power users,’ people with an application mindset who understand how the product must and should work. Technology can be learned. The willingness to pick apart and dig deeper is more of a quality than a skill that can be taught.»

Furthermore, another essential quality in any good QA analyst is knowing how to communicate constructively. Since their role is to approach the solution from a destructive point of view by shedding light on the shortcomings and errors of their colleagues, they must know how to share their observations with a level of pessimism that remains professional and empathetic in order to always move the project forward.

Thanks to their unwavering curiosity and team spirit, our quality assurance analysts succeed on a daily basis in supporting our development experts in delivering flawless mobile applications.