When the Status Quo is Bad Mojo: How Legacy QA Tools Are Holding You Back

As with most adages, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” has a basis in fact. When it comes to legacy quality assurance, testers see the truth of this right away.

QA software that comes bundled with an enterprise solution presents obvious obstacles to efficient and comprehensive QA testing. Dispersed data storage, static interfaces, limited browser support, frequent software crashes and maintenance and customization expense are common roadblocks. To save money, many organizations have moved testing offshore to “test centers of excellence.”

Yet commoditization of the people and process through outsourcing doesn’t always help. In some cases, expensive issue remediation failed to drive attention to the necessity of more effective QA testing. But as a growing number of companies adopt agile or DevOps methodologies, it has become clear that legacy testing solutions or technical skills alone are not sufficient.

Agile’s popularity stems in part from the rapid movement of consumer and business marketplaces to digital communications and transactions. Our economy now requires reliable, bug-free software that delivers a user experience as good as or better than the competition’s. New solutions, updates and applications emerge faster than ever, and users have little patience for flaws or deficient functionality. Software issues damage corporate operations and supply chain productivity — and even customer relationships.

People for Today’s Methodologies

In response to marketplace changes, testers engage application lifecycle management tools like Jira to view open tickets and share progress on issue resolution. They move quickly to create new processes that do much more than affirm a button is working, a link is opening or a page is loading. They use critical thinking on top of their technical understanding to create of automated tests and execute manual ones. And as always, they complete the final check for usability, flexibility, responsiveness and all the other features that make for a compelling user experience. But without an integrated QA testing toolset, their efforts are ad hoc and underappreciated.

It’s time for organizations to equip testers as they have developers — with full engagement in agile and DevOps processes and tools.

Testing Process in Focus

For a function with quality in its name, the inability of the QA team to participate in agile and DevOps processes presents a real problem. The team should start testing with the first sprint and work in parallel with development. This allows:

  • early risk management and issue identification before inherent harm blossoms;
  • open collaboration with development on what to test;
  • seamless communication about issues to the product owner and development and
  • new value for the business around software innovation.

When QA members remain too disconnected, it slows down the software development lifecycle and limits the scalability of agile and DevOps processes. New processes must include insightful decisions about testing approaches — perhaps some in sprints, some with automation. The resulting best practices will trigger the evaluation of QA testing tools as well.

Tools to Facilitate Transformation

We know many companies still use the “included” QA testing software they received with the purchase of enterprise software. Development upgrades are rare for most legacy tools, and they aren’t likely to meet the requirements of agile teams, such as integration with ALM and other software across the toolchain. The delay in choosing replacement software makes sense given the proliferation of tools that can be added to your enterprise tech stack.

But if QA tools aren’t connected to agile workflows, no one has the visibility to accurately define bottlenecks in testing activities. They also miss the opportunity for QA to deliver more than the status quo. This disconnect ultimately wastes time and money. Integrated systems and functional teams along the software development lifecycle are now increasingly common for the value they add to business.

A New Testing Solution for Today’s State of Affairs

QA testers, processes and tools are more than commodities. In fact, QA is climbing the corporate ladder as a cross-industry specialty and gaining prominence in today’s digital economy. Just as software development has become a highly sought skill — with companies competing aggressively to woo top talent — QA testing resources, human and otherwise, must meet accelerated development cycles and elevated solution lifecycle expectations. Empower your QA team and elevate your tools and processes, , and you might be surprised at how quickly you begin making progress toward your strategic vision.

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