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How QA Helps Nurture Long-Term Customer Relationships

By Rema Sreedharakurup, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer

Rema_Pic_BlogI have recently facilitated discussions with both peers and clients about the value that software quality assurance brings to a customer’s business.

Although it is clear that a QA engineer’s job is to accurately report product quality, there are opportunities to deliver value beyond what is expected and in the process nurture a long-term customer relationship.

During a client engagement, we select our testing approach based on factors ranging from budget, scope, team dynamics, release schedules, and in many cases alignment with customer demands.

Over time, the selected approach matures and becomes optimized to suit the nuances that exist within the customer’s business model. The time period in which the approach becomes more mature offers our QA team opportunities to engage with the client at a new level, where we help them with their business and with their software delivery process. Once this normalization period is complete, our QA engineers have learned the business and are capable of identifying additional opportunities to increase the value that the QA efforts can bring to the business. Continue reading

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Making Automated Tests Data Driven

By Nadine Parmelee

Nadine-Parmelee1-bSo you’ve decided to start an automation project and your team has taken the time to do the tool analysis. Let’s also assume you’ve gotten your team trained on the tool of choice. What comes next? Now is the time to sort out the best way to set up an automation project for the cleanest data and project timeline. Hopefully, the automation and manual test teams have been analyzing which tests should be automated first, and now the automation scripting can begin. Many projects start with automating the manual test cases as they are written and then later expanding on those tests and making them more efficient. I would suggest that there is an even better way to start the automation project.

When analyzing the tests to be automated, analyze the data used for those test cases as well. Are there different expected results or different application features for different data types or options used in the test cases? Does selecting one set of data options create a different selection of data options for another field or dialog? Do the manual tests only cover a limited amount of test data? Now is a good time to enhance these tests and determine how the automation project can enhance your overall testing effort. For situations where the manual tests cover the basic application functionality but a limited set of data points, data driven tests may be a key benefit to your automation effort.

An example of this could be a manual test case for an application that has different data choices presented if a different region is selected:

Region: North America
Size Options: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, …
Color options then based on size selected

Region: Europe
Size Options: 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 46, 48, …
Color options then based on size selected

Very often the manual tests will only hit one or two of the size options and some of the color options that flow down the decision tree from there. The automated tests can validate each region, size and color combination in probably the same amount of time as the more limited manual tests. This can be a quick expansion of the testing that is already planned which yields a higher return on investment as well as an increased quality level. This type of automation also frees up the manual testers to concentrate on other investigative testing that can be done. Try data driven tests in your automation project, and let us know how much time and effort you saved.