Webinar Followup: Lessons Learned from Top 5 Trends in QA for 2016

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Ashley Dotterweich, Wednesday August 3, 2016

New and innovative QA technologies are rapidly changing the way companies release their products and do QA. To stay competitive, many teams are adopting new ways of testing that help them develop quality products faster.

In a recent webinar on the top trends in QA for 2016, Rainforest co-founders Fred Stevens-Smith and Russell Smith discussed major changes and innovations in the testing space right now, and how we can expect QA to change in the future. Here’s some of the key takeaways that we learned from their discussion:

Automation is Changing the Makeup of QA Teams

“One of the biggest trends is to automate everything”

Automation is one of the most effective ways to speed up testing to keep pace with CI/CD development cycles, and there are tons of tools available for teams to build better automated testing suites. According to a survey of IT executives conducted by HP, the average percentage of test case automation increased from 28% to 45% between 2014 and 2015. Automation continues to play a more central role in many organizations’ testing strategies.

As a result, testing automation is changing the makeup of QA teams and their activities. Instead of only performing manual QA tests, many QA testers and engineers need to be able to execute tasks like managing automated tools. This shift towards automating repetitive tasks also frees up QA teams to work more closely with product and engineering teams on quality-driving activities such as exploratory testing and UX testing.

Even B2B Products Need B2C Quality

“QA teams are becoming much closer to project management groups. They focus on not just “Does it work?” but on “Does it work well, does it work nicely, is it intuitive?”

The barrier to entry into the software market is lower than ever, but the bar to differentiate your product and services has gone up. Enterprise consumers have become more tech savvy overall, and expect a high quality user experience. With companies like Slack and Github creating sexy, polished versions of enterprise-caliber software, developers are finding their customers are less willing to tolerate bugs and bad interfaces.

QA processes need to change significantly to keep up with this mindset change. Many teams are heeding the call to “shift left” and get QA teams involved earlier in development process. Testing earlier, more frequently, and more strategically helps keep quality high enough to meet both enterprise and consumer standards. Additionally, many teams are putting an increased emphasis on usability testing to ensure everything from enterprise software to consumer apps are user-friendly.

The Future is Mobile

“The [teams] who have managed to do QA really fast today are those who have invested in automation early.”

You can’t truly do continuous deployment for mobile apps -- not yet. Because updates must go through an App Store approval process that can stretch on for days, mobile developers are prevented from shipping mobile apps as rapidly as they do web apps. To further complicate things, device fragmentation has made getting fast, full testing coverage of iOS and Android devices nearly impossible. But that doesn’t mean that mobile devs are off the hook when it comes to creating high quality applications. The limitations to deploying mobile bug fixes rapidly have made ensuring quality even more critical before production.

As App Store approval times continue to drop, there will be less pressure for 100% perfection, and more pressure to ship quickly. The current methods for mobile QA are going to change significantly to keep up with the pace of faster development and approval cycles. The best way to prepare? Invest in scalable mobile testing strategies like crowdsourcing and automation to stay agile and increase your team's capacity for fast deployments.

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Listen to the Webinar: “Top 5 Trends in QA”

The QA space will continue to change and evolve to provide teams with faster, more effective testing processes to maintain competitive deployment cycles without compromising quality. To learn more about what changes you can expect to see in QA, listen to the full webinar on the Top 5 Trends in QA in 2016. In the webinar, Fred and Russ share even more of their insights into the industry and how fast-moving companies can build quality products more effectively. Check out the webinar here.