Quality Assurance Update: We Are So Much More Than Just Breaking Software

There’s a common misconception that the quality assurance (QA) team swoops in after software is developed, breaks it, and then poof, production software magically happens.

Software development is hardly magical. It takes a lot of man hours from a development team that includes so much more than just people who write code.

Equally as important as the people who create the code are the ones who ensure it works as it should—and that’s where quality assurance comes in. But if you’re picturing us going after a piece of software with a metaphorical hammer, that’s just not reality.

Just as every piece of software is different, every QA department is different. Here at CDP, we take a very team-oriented approach, and include QA at the beginning of the process, starting with requirements gathering. Believe it or not, we can often catch “bugs” before they have a chance to become bugs at this stage. If we catch them here, we can keep them from ever being injected into the code which saves time and money for all involved, including our customers.

Once the code exists, we’re back at it, this time with our hammer, known to us as test scripts. These are test cases that we strategically develop to adequately test a feature of the software from as many angles as possible. Is it functional? Could it be done in fewer clicks? Does it break something else? We look at everything from the customer experience (also known as usability) of the feature, testing to make sure nothing was broken by adding the feature (regression), and that the overall performance has not been impacted by recent changes or additions.

Once that’s completed, we’ve got bug free software! Ship it.

Wait, not so fast. Welcome to another QA misconception. We strive to find all the bugs, but any that make it into the final product will go through the proper protocol to determine severity and the most effective fix. That’s because we believe in continuous improvement, which is why one of our core values is: Always Get Better. People, products, methods—everything will evolve as we move forward.

Our department has 17 quality assurance engineers, several of which have been added in the past year. Many of our QA staff has cross-trained across all our products meaning we can switch QA engineers around the company quickly and without team upheaval or learning curves slowing us down. The software development life cycle (SDLC) thrives on swift actions executed in a proper sequence, as do our jobs. It should come as no surprise we are experts on our software, the SDLC, and testing procedures.

What does this mean to our customers? By having a quality assurance team comprised of knowledgeable and diversified staff who are involved in a project early, we work like a well-oiled machine.

The needs and goals of our customers are always at the forefront of our minds to ensure we are producing quality deliverables.

Of course, wielding a hammer helps too.​

About the Author

Karen Waluk, CTFL

Quality Assurance Manager/Director, Quality Assurance 

Enjoys growing a team who can ‘think outside the box’ as opposed to just ‘checking off the boxes.’ She still insists decaf coffee was born of a defect-turned-feature.

September 2018 Employee of the Month

 

Congratulations to Scott Pralle, EBT Account Manager, for being CDP’s September 2018 Employee of the Month. His nomination was sent in by Amy Duncan, Director of the Project Management Office.

“Scott Pralle has gone above and beyond his role as the EBT Account Manager to support more than just our clients, but also the retailer community by troubleshooting, researching, seeking resolutions, and engaging other CDP teams to ensure our clients can serve the vulnerable WIC population.

Additionally, he has taken the initiative to learn more and more about Data Direct  so that he can be the first responder to client questions about the product. He has been able to provide training, information, and responses to client questions so that the end users get the most out of this product.

I want to recognize Scott’s accomplishments as he is defining the EBT Account Manager role and continually demonstrating that CDP’s people are the best in the business.”