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Build quality into your Product Roadmap

Great features won’t mean anything if your app runs slowly or you have poor error trapping. Frustrating users is never a way to win more sales. In fact, just by having one bug in the application can cost you more than you want to imagine. Moreover, your best marketing plan will collapse if users see low ratings and negative feedback in Google Play or the App Store. In other words, you must build quality into your product roadmap. Before we get into the gritty details of quality assurance, we review some main topics first.

Make a Plan

To properly mitigate the risk of launching with bugs, a quality plan must be defined. Include scope, test strategy, objectives, effort, schedule, and resources required. Its primary purpose is to guide the whole testing process and used mostly by Project Managers or QA Tests Engineers (testers).  

QA Plan Contains
  • Goals and success criteria
  • Scope and types of tests performed
  • Type of data collected from testing
  • Required reports 
  • Process for making evaluations 
  • List of contributing decision-makers
Dedicated Team

If you do not want to risk your reputation and loyal customers, make sure that the people involved in testing your application are experts in this field. However, if you are a small group and do not have internal resources specializing in QA, invest the time and capital to have one available. You can start by training a resource to have them become the subject matter expert. Alternatively, outsource testing when timing or other elements make this impractical. 

Get Started

To get the most from your plan, you’ll want to clarify scope, test cases, anticipated outcomes. Gather input from your development & design teams before starting the testing process. Below is a checklist of the main points that most mobile app test plan will need to include.  

  • Define the list of supported devices
  • Forecast the number of users and geographic location centers
  • Follow Apple and Google compliance guidelines
  • The app able to respond normally after a variety of interruptions
  • Battery usage is doesn´t exceed normal baseline levels
  • Performance summary on different carriers and network connections
Software Testing Specialist

Each organization should have a resource that specializes in the quality assurance phase. The tester is a lot like a detective. This similarity is the fact that they train how to find evidence. The difference being, QA testers search for bugs and quality issues. A skilled tester uses various methods and tools for completing the work. Without thorough testing, it is impossible to achieve a high-quality software product. For this reason, QA specialists are in high demand in start-up companies engaged in mobile app development.

QA testers get divided into two main groups according to the type of training, skills, and background the person has. These categories are Manual QA Engineer and Automation QA Engineer.

Manual QA Engineer or manual tester is a resource focused on the software testing processes. Defining plans, preventing defects, and improving quality are the primary responsibilities. The work processes are manual in nature, requiring no coding skills. This resource also plans the testing process, writes test cases, identifies problem areas, puts the received data into the database, conducts re-tests of errors after refinement by programmers. Additionally, the testing process is documented and optimized for future releases.

Automation QA Engineer is a specialist who uses software tools to create tests and verify results. The main task of QA automation is to develop scripts that will automate tests. The goal is to reduce testing time for routine tasks and simplify the entire process. The QA Automation Engineer possesses skills of a programmer but also has training on testing techniques. This QA resource needs to be familiar with the software and tools used checks to perform testing at various stages of the development lifecycle. The product’s developers are often involved in making these types of test. If that is true, code reviews involving a QA specialist can be helpful to ensure thoroughness.

Developer Trap

The Product Manager working to have quality built into the product road map will work closely with all QA resources involved. The PM should assess the team strengths in performing adequate testing procedures. Ideally, those responsible for test planning and execution are meticulous, attentive types. This often means the developers are not an optimal resource to be directly involved in testing. They are more interested in solving technical puzzles. Testers differ in that they seek perfection and suffer through every tedious step to attain it. 

QA Specialist Requirements
  • Knowledge of the stages of the software life cycle
  • Excellent knowledge of the QA theory (fundamentals, methods, types of testing) and the ability to put this knowledge into practice
  • Knowledge of bug tracking systems (Jira / YouTrack)
  • Strong understanding of web technologies (HTTP, DOM, HTML, JSON, Server response codes, cookie & session)
  • Basic knowledge of SQL, OOP
  • Basic understanding of API request & response techniques
  • Experience in conducting test documentation
  • Basic knowledge of the programming language used in the project
  • Understanding Agile / SCRUM methodology, ability and desire to work in a team
6 Critical Areas

So, what are the major areas to pay special attention to when testing mobile applications? In the first place, it is crucial for all applications to protect sensitive user data and adhere to compliance rules. We carefully analyzed our experience in testing applications and identified 5 critical points. As such, we list these as the elements that you should always pay special attention to during the test phase. We plan to dive into each of these areas in more detail in a future article. 

  1. Intuitive design, excellent user experience
  2. Compatibility with various devices 
  3. Acceptable performance on a variety of connectivity levels 
  4. Security of data and privacy
  5. Performance baselines met
  6. Google Play and App Store guidelines followed
Consistent Results

Want to test your application yourself or have it outsourced? If you do decide to outsource, remember any great QA process includes these 6 additional things consistently. So, make sure that you or your vendor is aware of them. 

  1. Testing should be done regularly. Especially after application updates. So you can quickly fix bugs when they appear.
  2. Process control. Participate in all stages of work with the testing company: in the preparation of technical specifications, collection of requirements, their consideration, etc.
  3. The most reliable results are obtained with real users and in the “field” conditions. Strive to achieve them.
  4. Manual or automated testing? Use both. Automation will save you time, but manual testing is necessary to verify the UI / UX design and other aspects described in our article.
  5. Emulators cannot fully replace testing on real mobile devices.
  6. Feedback from your target audience will improve your application.

According to industry data, inadequate testing of mobile applications costs the customer more than any other project failure. Because you have this knowledge, you should now feel better about dedicating more time to QA planning and execution. Keep in mind some simple facts. Firstly, your customers will be relying on you to protect their privacy and secure their data.  Secondly, you can not neglect compliance guidelines.  Finally, and most importantly, remember that the competition is looking to find your weakness. In this light, you can expect competitors to publicly expose any discovered bug. Keep your vigilance level high to avoid disaster, but also to gain competitive advantage. 

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Robert Cushman
Robert Cushman

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