The World Quality Report
Keeping up to date on the latest trends in software testing is crucial to any QA team or client of a software house. The World Quality Report gives great insight into the latest trends in software testing. Its authors suggest that “it discusses the trends shaping QA and testing today, along with recommendations for addressing tomorrow’s challenges.”
It became apparent that QA and software testing, after being treated as if it was a supporting act for such a long time, had now become a critical factor in both web and mobile development, from both the business perspective and that of customer satisfaction.
This article will focus on the software testing trends highlighted by the authors in the 2019-2020 report, but more specifically, artificial intelligence and machine learning, test automation trends, the latest software testing technologies, security in software testing, and digital transformation in agile methodology.
End-user satisfaction as a business priority
The 2018-2019 report suggests that the top QA and testing objective for 2019 and the next few years, is end-user satisfaction. The QA engineer’s role has transformed from finding defects to anticipating the reactions of the end-user. Rather than focusing solely on application functionality, software testers now need to pay particular attention to customer goals.
It is no surprise that end-user satisfaction was prioritized. Having highly skilled QA engineers who understand the requirements of the job and take responsibility for the products that they work on, is key to achieving end-user satisfaction. Therefore, making it part of the QA strategy and organizational culture is a no-brainer.
This is clearly reflected in the 2019-2020 report. The primary objective of technology leaders has shifted. Rather than focusing solely on the detection of software defects before going live, they now also focus on business growth and improved business outcomes by providing quality products that add value for their customers.
We, at ILoveMyQA, were not shocked by this trend because we had, some time ago, seen earlier signs of this new end-user-centric and business-driven approach, and have since then been trying to adapt to those changes. We now work more closely with our clients in order to achieve higher satisfaction levels. Our QA team participates in regular in-house training sessions to improve their skills and knowledge base, and research and develop necessary testing tools as well.
The growing use of agile methodologies
As the demand for faster software delivery and greater resilience to change grows, many companies are switching to Agile Software Development. The report notes a change in the QA and testing function as well: “Adoption to Agile & DevOps leads to the fragmentation of the QA department. QA engineers are part of the development teams rather than separate testing units.” The report suggests that this decentralization creates problems in instituting new technologies, best practices, and a common approach to creating test scenarios and test reports.
The findings of the WQR2019-20 are highlighted below:
How do you address the application of these latest trends in software testing in your organization? There needs to be a clear definition of testing processes and quality standards and all QA engineers need to be encouraged to be accountable for implementation and compliance in all their projects.
How do we, at ILoveMyQA, do this? From as early as onboarding, we ensure that everyone, including new members, understands the importance of critical QA activities. Thereafter, we are constantly improving our skills by setting up regular meetings with QA team members to discuss standard and process improvements in line with current trends in software testing.
So far, this approach has been very effective at ILoveMyQA. Already, we have a team of QA engineers who foster learning and teamwork. Because we employ the same best practices for every project, our products are always of the highest quality, and this has quickly significantly improved our customer satisfaction.
Test data and test environment management
The respondents of the 2018-19 report suggest that the shortage of test environments and the manual generation of test data is the primary challenge encountered in the implementation of agile development; and that the second challenge, one that is linked to the first, is trying to increase the level of test automation.
The 2019-20 report highlighted the same top two challenges.
Containerized test environments bring great value to testing because they allow you to either run automated tests that clear all data or deploy new versions for specific tests, all without affecting anyone else. When combined with appropriate automatic data generating tools, these environments significantly speed up testing activities. Production data can also be moved and anonymized.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and trending testing technologies
The 2018-19 report notes that QA activities are and will continue to be heavily influenced by the growth of artificial intelligence. Authors suggested that AI will “enable companies to transform testing to a fully self-generating, self-running and self-adapting activity.” To successfully achieve this, automation proficiency must be realized.
The WQR 2019-20 places heavy emphasis on AI becoming more popular:
What does this really mean? Simply put, AI can be used to apply smart analytics to key decisions in the testing process, for instance, optimizing task assignment, generating test data, designing test cases, prioritizing test execution, or generating optimal test reports. In addition, AI is becoming more and more involved in the most vital path of product validation – the execution phase.
I believe that QA and testing activities are being transformed naturally in this way. We are being forced to introduce these smart solutions because business demands high-quality products with fast delivery, quick response to changes, and optimized costs. While some products might have to be developed/enhanced in-house, others are available off-the-shelf.
Smarter test automation continues to remain a key focus
Respondents pointed out that because applications changed so often, it was difficult to build an adaptable and robust test automation solution. Test automation work is further hindered by problems with test environments and test data that are reusable and predictable. The final issue is the shortage of engineers that are skilled and experienced in test automation.
There seems to be a bright future ahead for software development, as automation appears to have become even more relevant in testing ecosystems in 2020. Respondents highlighted the need for automation throughout the stages of software development.
Based on our experience at ILoveMyQA, I believe that investing in your QA engineers is key. We were able to create a team of highly skilled, technical QA engineers through constant training. There is actually no need to start off with proficient specialists; as long as you have a group of people who are willing to learn and very good mentors available to fast-track their technical development, those ambitious beginners will soon become the highly skilled specialists you need.
IT strategy now includes Security
WQR 2019-20 included a completely new section on security. Perhaps this resulted from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation of European Union citizens (GDPR) in 2019, but there was a greater awareness of product security among agile IT companies.
As a result of cyberattacks and other online threats, security testing is no longer a software testing trend, but rather a crucial component of software development. Quality Assurance must adapt to the needs of tech markets in light of those ever-present threats.
Because we at ILoveMyQA had made this prediction, we invested in our QA engineers and provided training in this regard. It turns out we hit the nail on the head because requests for professional security audits are consistently being received from our customers.
How prepared are you for emerging software testing trends?
It is evident that in order to remain competitive in the world of Quality Assurance, you need to keep up to date with current trends.
I know this seems like a daunting task, however, I can guarantee you that it will be worth your while. We, at ILoveMyQA, have introduced new testing technologies and can already see their effect. Our team of 16 QA engineers is extremely talented and cooperates closely with our clients from the inception of every project. For us, QA is more than just testing and finding bugs, we strive to perfect every product to satisfy the needs of both our clients and future end-users.