The Role Quality Assurance Plays in Software Development

| March 9, 2014

Quality Assurance (QA) is one of the most misunderstood and underestimated aspects of what we do here at PathXL. It is assumed that our QA team simply “break things”. This, however, is untrue. Below our Test Analyst, Kyle Mcgrugan will give a brief walkthrough of how we work from release to release.

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The role of QA is to understand 3 things.

1. What a product will do

2. How it will behave

3. How it will interact within its surroundings.

The first step in this process takes place when the development team provide user stories for that particular release. This will include the general purpose and behaviour patterns of that product. We then review this data, and develop a series of scenarios or potential conflicts that may arise, with reference to the information in the user story. Next, we review the user stories and liaise with the development team to reach a consensus on these scenarios and discuss possible flaws. Once the review is complete, we then create the scripts, which serve as a step by step guide on how the product works and the expected outcomes from these actions. A testing plan is formulated, focusing on what is relevant to test and the order of priority.

This is vitally important in our industry, one which is incredibly sensitive. We cannot afford to have errors or mistakes occurring. For any of our releases to have a problem, the impact that this could have on our reputation and products is simply unthinkable.

With the information from the test plan, we are given the hand over date. We then schedule when the testing will be completed. This schedule is necessary for the whole company, and is visible on the stages of release. At the handover date the new version is sent from development to QA, and the testing will begin. The first period of testing will run for 5 days. Any defects or bugs found within that time are raised in issue software JIRA and sent to the development team, who will then work to repair these. At the end of the 5 day period, Iteration 1 is complete. We then move into Iteration 2.

Iteration 2 begins with the defect retests that were sent to development during Iteration 1. If re-test has not been successful, they are returned to development. We will then carry on with the testing schedule. At this stage, the products tested are usually connected to those tested in the previous iteration. This process is then repeated, sometimes in a series of 4 or 5 iterations. Once we are satisfied with the workings and efficiency of a particular product, it is then signed off by QA. We then review the pack of test scripts to check for possible modifications that are needed and prepare for the next release.

I hope I have given a small piece of understanding to the role QA play in the product process here at PathXL and dismissed the idea that all we do is simply “break things”. QA is a role that requires extensive knowledge of the product and its functions. Also, it demands the ability to think creatively and innovatively about how the product will be used by our customers, which is perhaps the most important aspect of it all. Therefore, QA plays a crucial role in the whole process at PathXL.

The QA process is one which we follow rigorously for each of our products to ensure that we continue to provide efficient leading edge software that our clients can depend on. As we strive to improve our product capabilities we seek ways to make our products more user friendly and by working closely with research and development (R&D) we have been able to create an incredibly intuitive interface for our new product TissueMark. Navigation through TissueMark is effortless, which again is why this product is well positioned to save time and bring efficiency to tasks such as macrodissection, which is a real breakthrough for molecular pathology and digital pathology.

For more information on TissueMark and how it can help your team, you can request a free demo by contacting our sales team today. Keep up to date with all the latest news here at PathXL by connecting with us on TwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

Source: PathXL

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