In today’s tech-driven world, the pursuit of a flawless user experience has become the ultimate goal in product development. Quality Assurance (QA), often overshadowed, is the cornerstone of this mission. Drawing from my career spanning coding, design, and product management, I have seen both challenges and successes in QA.
In this article, I will share insights into the evolving landscape of QA from a product development perspective and delve into how it’s adapting to the shifts in technology.
Transition from Code to Product Focus
My own journey through the tech world started at a young age, with a strong desire to create. Progressing from coding to CTO and ultimately to a CPO role, I’ve had the privilege of working with technical teams, affording me profound insights into product functionality from both angles.
In the early stages of product development, testing was frequently relegated to manual processes and overlooked. In contrast to development, QA lacked a well-established historical framework and standardised practises. Traditionally, product managers emphasised product functionality and user experience, while developers grappled with the constraints of time and limited testing resources.
Over the past decade, QA’s significance has soared, prompting dialogues between product teams and developers regarding the depth of necessary testing. It has become clear that thorough testing is crucial, even for small details. Ignoring these checks can lead to post-release bugs, costing both money and valuable time for fixes. It’s high time we recognise that QA isn’t a mere afterthought; it’s the foundation of product success.
Scaling Up and Knowledge Sharing
For startups, QA’s importance may initially slip under the radar, especially with a small user base. However, as companies expand, neglecting QA can turn into a costly blunder. Bugs can wreak havoc, tarnishing the customer experience and straining resources. Resolving these issues post-release not only proves challenging but also imposes a significant financial and time burden.
As organisations grow, knowledge sharing becomes increasingly complex. The expanding and increasingly intricate codebase can lead to issues triggered by even minor adjustments. Developers often request automated testing, but their hesitation to write and maintain test scripts stems from tight deadlines and knowledge of what to test. This highlights the importance of goal-oriented work and testing at different stages of development, a pivotal element in strong QA.
Diverse Approaches to Testing
In the traditional quality assurance domain, there are various testing methodologies with their own distinct purposes.
- Unit Testing: Scrutinises code modules in isolation.
- Integration Testing: Evaluates interactions between different systems.
- End-to-End Testing: Simulates real-world user interactions across the complete user journey.
However, it’s time to break free from conventional thinking and embrace a comprehensive approach to ensure foolproof products.
Embracing Shift-Left Testing
My experience at memmo has taught me the true value of shift-left testing. We started with a small team of about 4 developers who were in charge of testing. During scale up we decided to outsource QA. However, scheduling QA activities in sync with feature development and rushing to compile tests just before release proved to be insufficient. This highlighted the necessity for shift-left testing, a paradigm shift that advocates integrating QA as early as possible in the product development lifecycle.
QA technology is advancing rapidly, and we must keep up. We should be looking at automating the entire testing process from inception to completion. While traditional approaches like coded end to end tests like Cypress or drag-and-drop QA remain relevant, they present distinct challenges.
Mitigating Challenges through Product-Centric Solutions
From a CPO’s perspective, addressing QA challenges isn’t optional; it’s mandatory. The primary objectives include reducing context-switching for developers, merging QA with development, and establishing a rapid testing rhythm that surpasses manual processes. This isn’t solely about simplification; it’s about error prevention and streamlined maintenance for development teams. The goal is to save time, simplify the product specification process, and prevent bugs from happening in the first place.
As technology races forward QA should be an integral part of the product development process from the outset. Product success hinges on QA. The more we embrace it, the smoother our products will operate, benefiting both customers and companies.
About the author
Patrick Lef is the Founder of QA.tech. Currently serving as CPO, he’s exploring AI and LLMs. Over the years, he has acquired a diverse skill set, serving in multiple key roles, including web developer, lead developer, CTO, product manager, COO, and head of product, at well-established companies such as Videofy, Albacross, Besedo, Dooer, and memmo. He calls Stockholm home and shares it with a charming corgi. His interests extend beyond the tech world; in his free time, Patrick is a culinary enthusiast, finding joy in the art of cooking and mastering the craft of sourdough baking.