Proactivity, Teamwork and Creativity: QA Testing Done Right

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By Jean-Michel Vincent
QA Specialist

At Mirego, QAs don’t just find bugs; they work to create the best products possible. They optimize processes, suggest product improvements, share thoughts on design/UX implementations, and much more. It’s not so much a job, as it is an overall mindset. My job description could be summarized by the following question: “What can I do to improve our products’ quality?” And, Mirego provides the perfect environment for QAs to come up with creative solutions that get me closer to my end goal. While some companies tally bugs to measure QA performance, Mirego focuses on finding the least bugs possible and obliterating any recurring ones. We adopt a preemptive approach by encouraging open communication and end-to-end collaboration between the Development teams and the Quality Assurance team.

The Three P’s: Prioritize, Be Proactive and Think Preemptively

Since our products are used in a variety of contexts and on a wide array of devices running on different operating systems, rigorous testing will only get you so far. It’s impossible to cover everything considering the testing possibilities are endless. Hence, the importance of prioritizing the most critical tests, and selecting the most relevant devices based on the expected user base. Using data sources and tools such as Mixpanel Trends can help you understand the overall scope of the targeted user base and bring insights to your prioritizing process.

As a QA, you also have to be preemptive and proactive in your approach. Doing some user research and analyzing your client’s market will definitely help you in these early stages. Where are the potential users located? Is your client looking to expand into other regions such as Africa or the US? How is tech being used in these locations? What behavioral patterns do you notice? Inevitably, you’ll run into exceptions for each client, but that’s ok, as long as you are aware of them. With this information, you’ll be in a position to define and prioritize the best tests based on their added value and insightfulness. Start with the most valuable ones, and funnel down from there keeping with budget and time allowances. If you can’t perform one of the tests, move on to the next-best. When working on long-term projects or with a product that requires frequent updates, using a testing grid to facilitate test sessions and sanity checks can help maximize your team’s resources and time.

There’s No “I” in Team

At Mirego, we do things a little differently. Most businesses work in silos: the designers design, the developers build the product, then the QAs test what they are given. When teams work independently like this, it can lead to rivalries and doesn’t favor collaboration. At Mirego, QAs are involved from beginning to end. We take part in the project’s Kick Off, we’re involved in sprint plannings, we receive client feedback, and get input from the Product Owner as well. We use JIRA to collaborate with the developers, organize work flows, and plan our release schedules/test sessions based on the workloads and team’s progress. We also have daily stand-ups every morning to keep everyone in the loop and on track. Adopting a new approach to product development has created a healthy interdependency amongst teams. Making each team member feel valuable and accountable encourages us to focus on exceeding people’s expectations. Besides, QAs have the skills and expertise to foresee a lot of issues before they arise, so it only makes sense to let us share our input at every stage.

Fostering open communication and a collaborative spirit amongst QAs and developers is uber important, as quality control is a shared responsibility that we all take great pride in protecting. Together, we learn from past mistakes to improve code quality, component interaction, resilience, functional flexibility and preemptive issue resolution. Looking back and learning from past experiences also allows us to improve recurring features or functionalities and to make the product creation process smoother. Keeping the team in sync is key to successful workload management and ensures that code releases, test sessions, bug fixes and client deliveries all take place in the shortest time span possible.

Teamwork is at the heart of our operation. As a QA, I bridge gaps between different teams and projects to provide everyone with QA Intelligence that can be used to improve the products and optimize the processes. This is why having the QA to take part in every step of the product’s design and development is so important. Our team relies on QAs to bring contextual recommendations that can improve the UX. Some might even say that I’m the user experience gatekeeper, always defending the user’s best interests, even if it means arguing with the Product Owner or against the client’s wishes. Mirego is a place where constructive criticism is not only welcomed, it is openly encouraged. Standing my ground when it comes to user experience and product quality is thus an integral part of my responsibilities, as much as a developer standing his on coding practices or a designer standing hers on layout and style. When each member of the team acts upon his specific and shared responsibilities, we reach satisfying compromises that are within budget and respect schedule constraints, and always end up with a better product.

Work With Less to Deliver More

Because we work in an agile environment, we can’t plan everything ahead of time. Sometimes clients change their minds, other times the team does; either way, we’re constantly shifting. Over the years, I’ve learned to get creative; working with less to deliver more. Creative testing means finding ways to test many things at once, while covering the most use cases possible by varying execution steps and paths from one test to another. With the priority list in mind creative testing also gives us an opportunity to push beyond the standard tests to get a better understanding of how interdependent functionalities are involved and how they react in various contexts and scenarios. For example, some related features might be developed weeks apart, such as an account creation form and a checkout page for an ecommerce website. Testing these two related features apart isn’t good enough, as one feature affects the other. Is there any way to get around the mandatory fields? What limitations are involved? What happens if my network drops mid-transaction? QAs must foresee every possible scenario to vary the order in which these tests are executed so as to uncover whether the actions can produce any unexpected responses or results that would otherwise be difficult to predict. As a QA, I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I make a conscious effort to stray from routines and habits. At Mirego, adapting is a way of life. It’s how we shape technology, and it’s how we push product limitations efficiently.

While some may say that as a QA, “you’ve got to break it to make it”, I like to think that Quality Assurance goes beyond that. I take great pride in knowing that my work encompasses far more than just detecting bugs or product flaws. I bridge gaps, predict behavior, optimize processes, understand technology, and stand in as an ambassador to the user. At the end of the day, Quality Assurance, done right, solidifies brand loyalty and optimizes acquisition, conversion, and retention strategies. By adopting a preemptive approach that encourages open communication and end-to-end collaboration between teams, Mirego empowers its QAs to exceed their potential as they strive to build quality solutions and the best experiences possible.