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How to improve the efficiency of development and testing team

-by
Aswin Kumar KP
,
Oct 18, 2021
How to improve the efficiency of development and testing team

Development is an integral part of any product as it defines a product's strength and scope. But development alone does not make a product. Quality Assurance is equally important for any product to successfully take off. During development and testing, a lot of interaction between various teams is involved before a product makes it to the deployment stage. Various things can be followed to make the process more efficient and to make the people more productive.

No matter how good a product is, it can be made better. Many things can help to enhance QA. Some of these include adopting automation tools, creating bug prevention policies and processes for testing or developing features with team members in other departments.

1. ADOPT TOOLS

Manual testers have to use plethora of tools to report every bugs. They have to use screen recording tool, screenshot tool, open them in paint to annotate them. Open Jira/Trello, find and upload those attachments, and write lengthy bug reports. One way we could reduce is through wise usage of tools like Disbug which could help them capture scree recording with voice annotation and allow them to narrate bugs visually and post to Jira/Trello automatically. This helps testers spend more time in finding defect rather than spending time in reporting them.

Automation tools can help save time as developers and testers can avoid mundane and repetitive tasks. They help eliminate errors due to human dependence. Their usage also results in saving time and using resources for other critical tasks. Tools like Selenium help in automated testing.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery practices require continuous testing to organize separate automated tests in a single system as a CI/CD pipeline process. Gitlab is a great tool that allows CI/CD to be implemented.

2. FIND REGRESSION AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE

Regression testing is very much needed for short release cycles. A new release should not break something fundamental that was a part of an earlier release.

A good understanding of possible regression can help in taking steps like updating test design. Every new release requires a round of regression testing. Finding regression helps the QA team as they don’t need to run a complete test to ensure the required test coverage.

Regression testing can take up a significant share in testing. Thus there is a need to optimize regression testing for shorter release cycles. Planning potential regression at the initiation of a sprint is needed. Identify software functionality that can be affected by a new requirement or user story in the sprint backlog. The QA team needs to prepare and update test design and documentation covering the modules with possible regression.

A regression cycle is run in the final phase of product development, after which comes production. We validate the entire product since changes in development are minute at this stage. We need to understand the product from the customer's point of view.

A dedicated team should run a performance test for a stable product and check all the risks involved in the performance. If we feel that new features might affect performance, we do performance tests, apart from regression tests.

3. FOLLOW TEST-ORIENTED MANAGEMENT OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

Test-oriented management approaches help to improve software quality. One way is through extreme programming (XP) – a software development process that aims to produce higher quality software adaptable to changing requirements.

Two XP practices related to testing include Test-driven development and Pair programming. Project managers can follow these practices to integrate QA and development.

TEST-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT

Test-driven development is a process where testing precedes code implementation. TDD refers to engineers writing their own tests and executing them before pushing the code and once again before deploying it to production. It is a test-first approach.

PAIR PROGRAMMING

Pair programming is a process where either two developers or one developer and a QA can work together. This process increases accountability and helps develop software with increased code quality, reducing the project’s debugging and refactoring cost on a long-term basis.

4. IMPLEMENT USER ACCEPTANCE TESTING

User personas identify the target users for products based on behavioral patterns and product goals. QA teams check for bugs based on typical user personas. A practical approach would be to get feedback from end-users directly.

User Acceptance testing, also called end-user testing, is the final stage of software development. End-users can point out bugs, usually not found by QA. This testing also helps make the application ready for production, as developers get feedback based on how end-users interact with the product.

5. USE THE QAOPS FRAMEWORK

QAOps is Quality Assurance combined with Software Operations. It develops feedback loops to help with efficiency in QA. The three feedback loops are blending, optimizing, and growing to enable structure, stability, and growth.

Ensure that you have the tools, development, and business focus to deliver software at scale, speed, and profit. With deadlines and stakeholder expectations to meet, QAOps can help achieve more.

6. START TESTING EARLY

Testing teams often find themselves doing nothing if the software hasn’t been delivered yet. Instead of wasting time, the team can engage in requirement review to find mistakes before implementing them. This process helps in the reduction of development cost as well as gives a deeper view of the software.

After confirmation of requirements, the testing team can start with test cases. There is no need to wait for the development of functionalities. Based upon requirements, a list of test cases can be prepared.

7. LET DEVELOPMENT AND QA RUN TOGETHER

Developers and testers need more information about the code they are working on so they can work efficiently.

Development and QA teams should share the same sprint, the same code branch, and ideally, sit nearby each other. Some of the best practices include having test code in the same repository, using actual code for testing, and having short sprints to ensure QA and Development are in sync.

For API definitions, QA can be doing coding automation as the developer parallelly writes the API.

QA should be involved early, right from the requirement stage, and should work in tandem with development.

People in development and QA should have shared access to files and reports. It is good if documentation is data-driven and measurable. Developers and QA should focus on specific metrics.

8. QUALITY IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY

According to the Cambridge Judge Business School academic project, around 50% of the development cost goes towards debugging. Out of that, 25% of the cost is towards fixing bugs, and the remaining is spent on reworking code. Since time is money, the exact stats of time apply to cost as well.

This shows why everyone across different teams should be responsible for playing their part in ensuring product quality.

The Product Manager owns the product story and should check if the features align with the vision.

Developers should prove their code works by making use of unit and integration testing.

QA needs to own and monitor the metrics of quality, and they provide the data required to make decisions.

9. PRIORITY FOR BUG FIXES BASED ON USAGE

Bug fixing is a crucial part of development. But which bugs get priority is a question that needs to be asked. How can the team focus on all bugs at the same time?

Based on usage data, bugs have to be prioritized and fixed accordingly. The bug fixes can be planned across different releases based on priority. A bug affecting more users should be fixed first than one involving a small percentage of users.

Following this helps the development team add new features and fix bugs with focused team effort.

10. TRAINING PLAYS AN ESSENTIAL PART

Companies expect their employees to learn the latest technologies, skills, and programming languages on their own. But employees might not have the time, money, or desire to take this forward. Experienced developers might refuse to come out of their comfort zone to learn and unlearn.

According to the Association for Talent Development(ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training have a 24% higher profit margin than the companies that don’t do so because of improved productivity and employees’ team alignment.

Provide the required training for QA specialists to brighten up the scope of projects. Training sessions and team-building exercises can be organized to improve the team workflow. A QA team lead can conduct brainstorming sessions to kindle the thought of creativity in the team. It will help find new ways of solving existing issues.

11. COMMUNICATION WINS THE GAME

Testers and developers should have improved communication. Face-to-face communication will help resolves issues that came up during tests. QA with poor communication skills will cause a lot of problems due to poor bug reports. You can use tools like Disbug to visually explain and narrate the bugs, thus preventing back and forth calls between development and QA.

A good team leader effectively shares feedback and ideas with QA. QA team members should speak about various issues that could affect productivity. Retrospective meetings held by the development team at the end of each sprint helps in planning better. QA should be flexible in trying different strategies.

A project manager ensures effective communication within a team, which also helps team members understand their responsibilities. Any communication-gap can affect the overall productivity of a team. It is good to create online courses to onboard new employees, deliver training, and have reference material to keep everyone aligned.

12. MINIMIZE UNIMPORTANT TASKS

According to a study by Stanford University, reducing work hours increases productivity rather than increasing them. The key to productivity is 8 hours of working time rather than 10 hours of wasting time.

As per Harvard Business Review, on average, 31 hours are spent on meetings every month, and 75% of the meetings are unnecessary.

Find out the time-consuming tasks. Then find ways to reduce or remove those tasks. Implement meeting management practices, both online and offline. Every meeting should have an agenda, a plan of action, and a follow-up on execution. Limit the use of email—it goes back and forth. Use instant messaging apps like Slack to improve team productivity. An article in Forbes says standup meetings every day are better than end-of-week meetings as they reduce the overall meeting time by a minimum of 25%.