An ABC of R2: Q is for quality assurance

…which is a much misunderstood subject.

The R2 team consisted of a number of QAs, and the most obvious artifact that the QAs produced and worked with was the test script: a series of detailed instruction that explained what to test and how to test it. For this reason it’s too easy to dismiss QAs as testers, and that would be a mistake.

Our QA Manager, Amy, says “I don’t want us to be finding problems, I want there to be no problems to find”. That hints at how QAs should be used: they should be involved from the very start of a piece of work to identify an appropriate structure and approach that ensures greater reliability and more opportunities for testing. In the best cases a QA has guided a task in a direction that BAs, developers and architects might not have previously considered, so avoiding problems they hadn’t thought of. In the worst cases a QA has been omitted from planning a piece of work and something considered straightforward by the QA-less group has turned out expensive to test and a constant source of problems.

Testing comes at the end of the development process, and considering a QA as a tester therefore allows one to fall into the trap of including them only at the end. The quality assurance process should add value, and that can only happen if the QAs are involved from the start.