A Day In the Life of a QA Tester

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This paper discusses the day-to-day activities of a tester instilling quality into software. It begins with a foundation-level discussion of software testing and quality assurance. Then Yamini discusses how the two relate to each other. Afterward, she explains the daily tasks involved in software testing and Quality Assurance, some pain points and areas for improvement, and how an individual tester can add value to the development process no matter what type of software development life cycle is governing your environment.

What is Software Testing?
Software testing is the systematic process by which an analyst uncovers defects in software. What are defects, you might ask? Defects are flaws in the code that cause a software application to break. While no software is completely defect- free, it is the aim of testers to reduce the number of defects found in software and to instill quality in the software application. Software testing includes the process of validating that the software has incorporated the user requirements present in the Software Requirements Specification document and meets users' needs. Software testers analyze software to see if the software conforms to user expectations. Software testing is one of the activities designed to adequately assure that the software has the necessary quality required by the users.

What is Quality Assurance?
Quality Assurance is the sum of all the activities designed to adequately assure that all the software processes in place have been done in an effective and efficacious manner. It involves both doing testing right and doing the right testing. Software Quality Assurance checks that the software processes are correct and are in compliance with the standards that operate within an organization. Quality Assurance involves more than software testing and yet software testing is necessary to the Quality Assurance profession. Without it, one cannot say that a Quality Assurance process is in place.

How do the two relate to each other?
As you can see, Software Testing is just one aspect of Software Quality Assurance. Software Testing is usually called Quality Control. QC is a component of a QA plan in an organization. In some organizations, the Software Testing role is split from the Software Quality Assurance Analyst role. In such an organization, Software Quality Assurance involves completion of technical checklists and document reviews to verify that both the software and documents are in compliance with standards.

Daily Tasks Involved in Software Testing and Quality Assurance
Once a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document is produced, the tester “tests” the document to make sure that the requirements are complete, correct, consistent, and testable. In an agile environment, software requirements are tested as they are written. In a Waterfall SDLC, first the SRS is written and then testing the document occurs. On the topic of completeness, correctness, consistency, and testability: completeness is measured by whether or not the requirement tells you where to test, how to test, and what to test. Correctness implies that you know something about the application being tested. You have to know a little bit about the software to know if the requirement is correct. A consistent requirement is one that has no logical flaws. A testable requirement is one for which you can write a test case.

Before or after the requirements review, a Master Test Plan is written which includes an Introduction, Background, Scope, Acronyms, Definitions, Features to be Tested, Features not to be Tested, Constraints, Assumptions, Risks and Contingencies, Schedules, Roles/Responsibilities, and References. The Master Test Plan is used by the test team to determine how long testing will take. Also, the tester uses the MTP as a testing plan. The Introduction, Background, Scope, Acronyms, Definitions, and References are preliminary sections in the test plan. They outline the background of the project, the intended audience and exactly what the project definition is-what it includes and what it does not include. The Acronyms outline the abbreviations used in the test plan and the Definitions section defines any new terms that may be used in the test plan. The References section lists the documents used to create the test plan. Typically, they refer to the


User Comments

1 comment
Ramon Es's picture

"Defects are flaws in the code that cause a software application to break."

I disagree with that definition. Defects can exist when the code is perfectly valid and nothing in the application breaks. Just because the application does exactly what the code defines does not mean it is correct.

There are numerous definitions as to what a bug or defect is and there is validity to most of them. In my opinion a defect or bug is anything that negatively impacts the user experience. That includes bad requirements, at times rogue features added by developers, problems with look & feel, and, of course, errors in code. That is covered to some extent later in the article and that is much appreciated.

June 4, 2014 - 11:43am

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