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Often, there is a lot of talk about value addition that independent testing teams deliver for
engagements. QA tests digital products/applications for their functionality, usability, security, and
performance. This QA activity ensures that the product offers a seamless user experience and is
glitch free. One of the topics that gets talked a lot about is how QA add value to consumer, paying
customer and the digital service provider.
In this scenario, let us explore how a QA can play-up their part in the product life cycle. How can
they add more value to their service, or rather, how can one enhance something that is subjective?
These are questions that often plague the QA industry. Let us try to unravel these one by one.
To begin with, QA and the other stakeholders involved in the product development cycle must
understand that they are a TEAM. They must act like 2 sides of the same coin, complementing one
and another, none more valuable than the other. Team members must try to put their differences
aside and work towards the betterment of the digital product or service that they are trying to
release to the market.
As team members they must focus on communication. It is essential, however, stakeholders fail to
understand that the communication must be logical and objective. Finding a bug does not make
the testers or QA the hero, neither does it make the other stakeholders involved the victim, or the
villain. Emotions must be left at bay, and all the parties involved must understand that they are
working towards the ultimate objective of making the product more reliable and scalable once it is
released in the market.
Moving on, QA must take ownership for the product. Sticking to the user story and penning down a
100 or so test cases or scenarios is not a big deal. No one needs a QA to do what is already known.
QA must go beyond what is given. Try to look for gaps, approach the product in a different angle. To
be able to do this, the QA must first look at the application beyond what it is. Applications must
never be viewed in isolation, instead the application must be viewed through the lens of the
business context – what is the purpose of the application? What problem in the market is it trying to
address and how?
For e.g., if you are asked to test ‘Google pay’ don’t confine your testing to just the front end & back
end. The developers themselves could test and figure out if the UI is effective. Look at ‘google pay’
(or any other UPI app) in the business context, i.e., view it from a Bank’s perspective, from the
Merchant’s perspective and from the end user (individual, or customer) perspective.
Now approach the user story that is given to you. If your understanding of the business context is
correct, a good QA will definitely be in a position to identify requirement/ process gaps. Now you
will be able to add new scenarios that were previously not thought of. This far-sightedness is what
makes a QA essential in the product development cycle. A QA who is unable to deliver this, should
focus on honing their skills as well as their curiosity. curiosity to understand the business context of
the product, and to assess what potential users of the application will try to do are key areas to
focus on.
Test the critical functions of the application, observe how the application responds, see how it
reflects in the UI as well as the back end. Bear in mind that testing services is not just about finding
bugs, the primary purpose is to enhance the product and user experience.
Next, Automate intelligently! There is a misconception that automation testing is the cure to all the
pitfalls in manual testing. Trying to automate anything and everything under the sun is a waste of
resources – time, money and effort. Understand that automation serves to enhance and speed up
the process, not to replace it. Automation works on what we humans feed it, not the other way
around. So automate what is essential, what is frequent. Don’t waste time on automating things that
don’t require automation in the first place. The precision of human creativity and eye for perfection
can never be replaced.
To conclude, QA’s role in the product development is mandatory. None can replace or undermine
their importance. Enterprises research, try to identify areas that can be digitized, utilize all their
resources in creating a digital product/ service, and leverage innovative marketing solutions to
ensure that the product reaches the customers (or end users).
The entire process will be rendered useless if the product post-release is ineffective, not reliable or
scalable and does not fulfil the expectations of the customer. Businesses and QAs must understand
that the primary purpose is to improve the quality of the product, for customer retention, to ensure
that they are satisfied by offering a seamless user experience. Customer longevity is critical to a
brand’s reputation and its value.
With all this being said, it is imperative to change the misconception that ‘QA test’. What businesses
and QA must understand is that, they ‘do a little more than just test’. The success of a product and in
turn the success of the entire business venture rides on their back. Delivering ‘quality QA’ will add
value that is not just monetary (better ROI), but will also carry the business/ brand forward.