QA Testing Company

Does Your QA Testing Company Know Your Goals and Constraints? 

Why does it matter if a QA testing company, hired for a quick project, knows your goals and constraints for the project?

You know it needs to be tested, you’re already behind your plan and waiting for testing to be completed seems like a waste of time. You just need it done.

We’re frequently asked to “just get this tested out by tomorrow”. We can do that and we’re happy to do so. You’re in a rush, we know it and we want to be helpful to you.

But taking a few minutes up front can have a huge return.

Pause, Take a Deep Breath, Write Down Your Goals and Constraints

Just do a little bit of thinking about Goals and Constraints (or spend just a few minutes talking with us). You’ll dramatically increase your Certainty of Success. It works every time.

You’ll also get about 10X in increased value from the work of your QA testing company if you can explain your goal and/or constraint in a way they can understand and achieve.

All this can be a little tricky because software quality can be a goal or constraint – or both.

If you are clear about which one, you have an opportunity to either reduce your expenses or increase the return on your investment.

If you aren’t clear about which one, you’ll probably be disappointed with either the cost or the outcomes.

Here’s why:

Software Quality as a Goal

If software quality is a goal, is it specific and how much are you prepared to invest to achieve your goal?

What return do you expect for your investment after the QA testing company finishes the project?

For example, “No critical defects” is a software quality goal. “No customer-found defects” is another, but different, software quality goal.

One of these goals focuses on the types of defects and the other focuses on the availability and likelihood of defects. They appear similar but require different software testing approaches. Not all QA testing companies can recognize or build a strategy and plan to achieve these goals.

If your selected QA testing company isn’t clear on this type of goal, you’ll get as much testing as you can afford but you might not achieve your goal.

Software Quality as a Constraint

If software quality is a constraint, what is the most you’ll spend and the minimum you’d accept?

Will meeting the constraints be sufficient to achieve your business goals? You don’t want to come up short.

For example, “No previous features broken” is a type of goal and constraint. “Must fail gracefully without data loss” is another type of constraint.

Your unique constraints have an impact on the type of software testing strategy that your QA testing company chooses. Some constraints are very easy to accommodate and others can be a real challenge. Many QA testing companies skip this step and wind up disappointing their clients when they fail to achieve the goal AND the constraint.

When Software Quality is Both a Goal and a Constraint

When software quality is both a goal and a constraint, how will you measure the boundaries of expense versus investment?

If you limit your expense as a constraint, will the investment be sufficient to achieve your goal?

Yeah, those are some tough questions. It really helps to have a trusted testing partner to discuss the scenarios and risks.

What is Your Quality Goal or Constraint?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone – most of our clients don’t have a clear idea when they first come to us for help.

At TESTCo, we prefer the “SMART” goal format and can easily help you “sharpen” your quality goal.

When software quality is  viewed as a constraint, you should be able to clearly define the limits. We see this frequently with new clients, “We need this tested within X days and for $Y price, can you do that?” At TESTCo, we work with this situation frequently.

What is a SMART Goal?

Smart Goals are built on the S.M.A.R.T Criteria and stands for:

– Specific

– Measurable

– Achievable

– Results Focused (or Relevant)

– Time Bound

If you’ll use this short checklist when writing your goal, you will reduce the amount of time you need to build a good goal and your QA testing company will have an easier time understanding and achieving it for you.

Why Do I Need a SMART Goal?

You don’t need a SMART goal but if you can build one, you’ll get much more value and have better outcomes than if you don’t build a Smart Goal.

Many QA testing companies are happy to work for you without any goal at all. The problem that occurs without a goal is that all you can get is some testing activity and a list of defects.

While that sounds OK, you can and should expect more. Just testing and reporting defects can’t tell you much about the quality of your software or the team building your software. The most it can tell you is that you do have software defects.

If you do have a goal and you find one of the few QA testing companies that can help you achieve your goal, you’ll be rewarded with software testing, a list of defects and best of all, some real metrics, feedback and advice on specifically where you stand towards achieving your goal. Additionally, you’ll get expert consulting advice on how you can more easily achieve your goals in the future.

Otherwise, and without a goal, you’ll just get some testing and a list of defects.

Plans Vs Planning

Goals are used to create plans that are clear so that everyone on the team can help achieve the common goal. Plans are frequently seen as very important since they are typically used to measure the progress of a project – especially a QA testing project when everyone is waiting anxiously for the launch! At TESTCo, we’re experts at building plans and here’s why. QA testing projects very seldom run exactly according to plan. Why? Primarily because testing is done at or near the end of a project and there’s ALWAYS something else that someone wants included in the current release.

And, that’s fine. We’re bigger fans of Planning than Plans because we’ve learned that the critical thinking required to formulate and build a plan is the most valuable aspect of the plan. What? Yeah, it’s the thinking behind the plan rather than the plan itself that’s most important.

At some point, your QA testing plan is probably going to blow up when you least expect it. If your QA testing company doesn’t have planning experts or experience, how will you ever get your software project launched?

Why All These Hard Questions?

At TESTCo, we have a strong team of experienced and talented software test engineers. We can “point” those talented engineers at almost any goal and they will achieve it. They like this a lot! We can also ask them to “just test it”. They don’t like this as much but they’ll do it gladly.

If we understand your goal, we can help you achieve it.

If we understand your constraint, we can meet it.

If we know both, we can deliver the “Sweet Spot” – high quality that delights your customers and a cost that delights your CFO.

Curious about avoiding pitfalls of outsourced software testing? This article highlights some important lessons.

This QA Testing Company Will Get the Right Answers in 45 Minutes

Our Scoping Process, a 45-minute conversation with you about what is important to you and your project, is designed to clarify your goals and constraints so that we have a perfectly clear picture of exactly what you need and want.

If you’re talking with a QA company and they aren’t asking about your goals and constraints, please give me a call and I’ll help you figure them out – and then achieve them! Here’s my number, 888-254-9709

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Web Application Quality Assurance

Four Perspectives, One Recommendation for Web Application Quality Assurance

Building an excellent web application is hard, especially if your web application quality assurance isn’t what it should be.

But, you can make it easier if you do a little thinking and preparation about QA prior to starting your web application project.

Your quality assurance and testing methods will determine how efficiently you and your team deliver your web application project and achieve your goals. That’s right. QA is often the critical factor even though it is typically the last or next-to-last phase of a web application project.

The Payoff for Success and the Cost of Failure

Your web application project is probably important to you and your business. You probably expect to grow your business with this project, right? You’re making an investment in your business and you expect a return, right? This is the Payoff of Success for you!

But, your web application project could fail, too. You probably won’t see a complete and total crash of your server. In fact, it’s what you WON’T SEE that will hurt you.

What you probably WON’T SEE is current customer or new prospects that experience a “bug” in your web application. Not a big BUG, but just enough to cause them to feel uncertain or frustrated. They either COULD NOT do what they wanted or they were SURPRISED and CONFUSED when the see an unexpected error message.

What do these customers and prospect do when this happens? They LEAVE your web application and your business suffers from that loss.

Web application quality assurance can help you find and correct these before your customers and prospects get a nasty surprise.

And, It’s Easier than You Think

Adding testing and quality assurance to your web application project is much easier than you think – even if you’re nearing the end of your project.

Here’s how TESTCo makes it really easy:

  1. Contact us via our webform and we’ll get in touch within 1 business day – sometimes within a few minutes!
  2. Schedule a 30 minute phone call with us so we can answer your questions and learn a little more about your project.
  3. If you like what you hear as we answer your questions, then schedule a 90 minute scoping with us where you “Show and Tell” us about your project. We also have a list of questions we’ll ask so we can prepare a custom proposal for your project.
  4. Within a day or so, you’ll receive our proposal that contains several strategies that we’ve evaluated and a recommended strategy, plan and estimate for your project.
  5. Tell us when you want to start!

Your investment of a couple hours could turn into a game changer in the quality of your web application project. We ALWAYS find defects.

Consider These Four Perspectives to Dramatically Improve Your Success

  1. Technical Accuracy – is your web application built on a technology stack that is mature and aligned with your project goals? Or is it based on your lead developer’s most current fascination with a new technology? Proven technology stacks that are purposely built to match your project’s goals can eliminate up to 50% of your web application quality assurance time.
  2. Functional Accuracy – are your requirements and specifications documented and stable? Word-of-mouth testing (where your developers tell your testers what needs to be tested) is a terrible strategy and almost always results in post-launch defects. Usually big ones! Documenting your requirements and specifications provide a road map for your web application quality assurance team to build accurate and meaningful test cases that reflect exactly what you web application does.
  3. User Accuracy – what do your users expect when using your web application? Are they Mobile First or are the desk-bound Knowledge Workers? Do they already know everything they need to successfully use your web application? What kind of prompts, help, support or training might they need? Can those basic user needs to eliminated through features in your web application? What browsers and operating systems do they use? Knowing how your users will use your web application can reduce your web application quality assurance time by as much as 25% by eliminating unnecessary scenarios.
  4. The Cost and Certainty of Success – You want to achieve your goal. You’ve invested time, money and a little bit of yourself in the pursuit of your goal. You’re close and now you want or need some testing to finish and launch your software. Web application quality assurance reduces the risk of failing to achieve your goal. Do you know what you’ve invested, thus far, to achieve your goal? Does each unique user represent a potential sale? Would a defect prevent that potential sale? You don’t “have” to test your software if you’re OK with the potential cost or revenue loss of a defect. And, you (or we, or anyone really) won’t catch and prevent every defect. How many defects can you afford before you fail to achieve your goal?

A Recommendation from Me to You about Web Application Quality Assurance

Get talented help! – You wouldn’t ask an inexperienced designer to build your UI/UX, would you? You wouldn’t hire a HTML coder to build your web application engine, would you? Of course not!

We recommend that you hire the best software testing talent you can find. Be aware that there is a difference between testers and Test Engineers.

If you’re in the middle of a web application project and need quality assurance help, we can help with on-demand testing.

We’ve saved more than one development project at the last hour.

If you’re just starting or just thinking about your next web application project, give us a call. We’re happy to share what we know so your QA plan will contribute to the success of the project.

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