QA (Quality Assurance) consulting is a critical aspect of software development, ensuring that development teams deliver applications and systems with the highest reliability, functionality, and performance levels. A good QA consultant can help organisations streamline their testing processes, improve software quality, and avoid costly mistakes and delays.
When looking for quality assurance consulting, it’s essential to understand the different services QA consultants offer. Below, we’ll explore QA consulting firms’ services, including test strategy and planning, test automation, performance testing, and more.
What is QA consulting?
QA consulting involves providing expert advice, support, and services to organisations to help them improve the quality of their software applications and systems. This service involves various testing techniques, processes, and tools to ensure that software meets the specified requirements, functions correctly, and performs optimally.
QA consulting also encompasses other quality-related activities, such as quality management, software risk assessments, and process improvement initiatives. QA consulting aims to help organisations deliver high-quality software that meets business objectives and customer expectations.
The quality assurance process involves five steps, including assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, and continuous improvement. QA consultants usually help companies in the earlier stages of this process such as the assessment of current efforts and the planning of improved strategies.
1. Assessment: The QA consultant analyses your software development processes and identifies areas for improvement.
2. Planning: Based on the assessment, the consultant will help you develop a comprehensive QA plan that aligns with your business goals and objectives. This plan may include nurturing a quality culture, defining testing strategies, selecting the right testing tools and techniques:
- Which quality practices will you follow?
- When do you start testing?
- Are QAs embedded in multidisciplinary scrum teams?
3. Implementation: At this point, your team is free to take the advice and implement it themselves. However, if you lack the know-how in your team to implement the new plans, consultants can work with your development team to enact the agreed-upon QA plan, providing guidance and support as needed. This support may involve a wide spectrum of tasks based on your specific needs such as writing test cases, setting up automated testing tools, or conducting performance testing.
Our advice; if you are planning to set an ongoing partnership for QA support, consider hiring a dedicated development team, which works as part of your in-house team on a daily-basis. At Zartis, our clients prefer our dedicated teams services for long-term partnerships where seamless integration of outsourced team members is key for success.
4. Monitoring: If required, QA consultants or outsourced QA teams can continuously monitor the SDLC and provide feedback to your development team. They may also provide regular reports on the results of the testing efforts.
5. Continuous improvement: Finally, the consultants work with your team to continually improve your QA processes and procedures, ensuring that your software meets the highest standards of quality and reliability.
Services to expect in QA consulting
1. Quality strategy consulting
Quality strategy consulting involves helping organisations maintain and improve the quality of their products and services through better processes. The work typically includes assessing current practices, identifying areas of improvement, establishing process optimization, and training and mentoring teams in quality best practices.
QA consultants can help you also develop new processes that promote continuous quality improvement. This development may include establishing internal metrics to measure processes, resources, and performance.
Furthermore, QA consulting services can assist in creating or improving quality assurance programs, including creating or revising quality assurance policies, procedures, and standards. They also collaborate with organisational leaders to help them promote a mindset and culture of quality within their teams.
2. Agile testing
Agile testing is a software testing practice that follows the principles of an Agile methodology. The QA team members work embedded in the agile team on two fronts: validating that the requirements are ready to be worked on (definition of ready), and verifying the developed functionality matches the requirements (definition of done). This helps agile teams prevent errors rather than finding them once the software is developed.
This approach lets you solve problems quickly, since issues can be identified during the development phase. Agile testing also allows developers to get rapid feedback on their work, since they don’t have to wait until the whole process is complete before any issues can be identified.
Agile testing involves a combination of manual and automated tests to ensure that the software meets all the requirements and works as it should. QA consultants can help you in shifting testing left to minimise cost, because the earlier you find a bug the cheaper it is to fix it.
3. Test strategy and planning
Test strategy and planning involve creating a plan that outlines how you will test your product. This plan helps you stay organised and ensure that you test all aspects of your product.
Testing strategy solves the question of ‘how am I going to test this’ and it has 2 key aspects. The first one is determining the testing process; when do I test and what quality gates do I have in place? The second one is determining testing levels (according to the testing pyramid); what types of tests should be run and at what level are they sufficient?
After choosing a suitable method for your operations, you must also decide which testing tools and technologies to use. These technologies could include software testing tools, such as Selenium and Jasmine.
After this step, you need to define your test cases. Write unique test cases for each test so that developers and testers know exactly what they need to test. The test cases will also provide a record of the tests that have been performed and the results.
4. Test automation consulting
Test automation consulting can be a great asset to reduce the time invested in regression testing, you can deliver new functionality without breaking the already existing one. Automated testing helps teams to increase productivity and reduce overhead costs. The service involves assessing the current testing practices, identifying opportunities for automation, and reducing manual testing, allowing teams to increase productivity
The key to a successful automation is selecting which kind of tests need to be performed at each level and choosing the best testing tools. Of course, this will depend on the technologies used but also on the product and its associated risks. Our consultants can help you evaluate your solution and identify what is the best approach for you. After selecting the proper tools, consultants will define when and where those automation frameworks will be run, and they will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
Additionally, static analysis tools such as Sonar or debugging tools like Firebug are also useful for inspecting and analysing problems in the system.
5. Non-functional testing
It’s common to have the focus on functional requirements and forget about non-functional ones but we should not overlook them since they can damage your company’s image. When implementing non-functional testing, you’ll likely hear about performance, security usability or accessibility testing.
Usability testing examines the user-friendliness of a product, evaluating this five aspects: learnability, efficiency, satisfaction, memorability, and errors.
Security testing checks the software for confidentiality, integrity, authentication, availability, and non-repudiation factors and weaknesses.
Accessibility testing makes apps accessible to those with disabilities, such as hearing disabilities, vision impairment, and other physical or cognitive conditions.
Quality assurance consultants usually execute performance tests before a system goes live to ensure that the system can handle the expected number of requests or transactions. Performance tests also help to measure the scalability of a system – that is, how easily it can increase in size or capacity without any negative effects.
Testers use various methods to generate load on a system. These methods include using load injectors or simulating user behaviour by using scripts.
Our QA Consultants at Zartis can help you take all these factors into consideration to make sure you build systems that can withstand high-demand scenarios and continue to deliver great user experiences.
6. User acceptance testing (UAT) support
UAT is a type of software testing used to determine whether or not a product meets the needs and requirements of its users. It involves testing activities performed by real users rather than testers.
So how does it work? Well, the process begins when users take on the role of a business and test the system according to their needs, such as validating functionality, usability, and reliability.
Test results are then reviewed and analysed by quality assurance consultants to ensure everything works as expected and performs up to standards. Additionally, feedback from users might be considered for making improvements.
QA consultants usually create a comprehensive test strategy for effective UAT support covering functional, non-functional, destructive testing, performance, and stress tests. Once these tests are complete, they can provide an in-depth overview of how well the system performs so that necessary improvements can be made before the product is released to the public.
You can expect significant improvements in your product’s quality when you work with QA consultants who know what they are doing. Identifying and addressing issues early on will help your team avoid costly and time-consuming rework down the road.
Not sure where to find a reliable QA consulting services provider?
Zartis offers professional QA consulting services with more than a decade of experience helping companies meet their engineering needs. Contact our team to learn more about our services and how we can help you take your product to the next level.