What Is the Role of the Quality Assurance Analyst?
The quality assurance analyst plays a key role in application or software design throughout the project. From analysis of the requirements to the presentation of the deliverable to the client, their mandate is broad and requires flexibility, collaboration and communication. We spoke with Geneviève Pha, a quality assurance analyst at Uzinakod, who agreed to share her daily life with us and tell us about her role within the team.
What Role Does the Quality Assurance Specialist Play on the Team?
Regardless of the team in which they are placed, the responsibility of the quality assurance analyst is important. Their job is to anticipate the possible actions users of a software or an application can take, in order to ensure that the product is functional. They test the buttons, turn the application upside down, look for flaws and downtime, and in short, put the product to the test.
The quality assurance analyst works as a team with the business analyst, but also with the developers. The business analyst represents the client, knows the client’s needs, and ensures follow-up with the client. They are therefore the contact person when rules need to be validated and anomalies confirmed. The development team works closely with the QA analyst to correct anomalies in the tested applications and determine future scenarios. The developers then make changes to the application to deliver a quality product based on the recommendations of the business analyst, since they have the best knowledge of the requirements.
What Are a Quality Assurance Analyst’s Duties?
To understand the interventions of the quality assurance analyst, you must first understand how a software development project works. There are 4 steps.
The analysis takes place at the beginning of the project, or whenever the functionalities are defined. It consists of identifying test cases and special cases (cases that could become problematic when using the application). The QA analyst will help identify them and target the gaps in the requirements.
2. Writing the Test Cases
This step takes place in parallel with the development. The writing of test cases is based on analysis. The quality assurance analyst writes the test cases, in collaboration with the business analyst and the designers, as needed.
3. Running the Test Cases
At this stage, it is a question of carrying out the written tests and verifying that these corrections have not caused any regression in the other functionalities of the application. This step takes place after the development.
4. Anomaly Follow-Up
If anomalies are detected, they are documented and sent to the development team, who will follow up and correct them after execution. Acceptance tests are also performed in collaboration with the customer. Acceptance tests are either real scenarios or very close to reality. They reflect the daily life of the application’s users. Here, the objective is to determine if the sequence of activities (the sequence of use) can generate certain flaws. Then it is necessary to determine if these flaws are acceptable and can be left as they are.
What Does a Typical Day Look Like?
At Uzinakod, we work mainly with Agile methodology. Geneviève Pha therefore participates every morning in a scrum, a fifteen-minute meeting with the business analyst and the developers. At this time, the team makes a quick review of the previous day’s tasks, targeting roadblocks for each one that require help from other team members. A plan for the day is also put in place.
To plan her day, our quality assurance analyst uses a dashboard that shows her the analyses and tests to be performed according to priorities, but also the elements ready for testing. She therefore has a clear idea of how her day will unfold. Along the way, she may have to meet with the business analyst or developers to clarify certain points. She may also be required to attend meetings on the progress of the project (presentation to the client, feedback, evaluation, etc.). Her daily tasks depend on the progress of a project (the role of the quality assurance analyst is not the same at every stage of the project).
How Do You Know When a Product Has Passed a Quality Test?
Of course, there are basic criteria for determining whether an application or software passes its quality test, but also for determining what constitutes an anomaly. It is the business analyst who knows the acceptance criteria, since they have previously determined this with the client.
The basic acceptance criteria must be respected: the client wants them. They must also be implemented in such a way that they do not interfere with the application’s other functionalities. Advanced acceptance criteria are less of a priority. Since time is often a crucial factor in the design of an application, it is rarely possible to do all the tests required. The advanced acceptance criteria are often the ones that will be abandoned. We prefer to deliver a product that works well, even if it means fine-tuning the advanced features a little later.
If a software product does not pass the quality test, it is returned to the design team with a list of fixes. When the QA analyst is not sure if it is a defect or not, they call in the business analyst who decides (sometimes with the help of the client), based on the BA’s knowledge of the client’s needs.
In all cases, the QA analyst is a very important team member in the development of software and applications. Their attention to detail, autonomy, and sound methodology help deliver quality products that are intuitive for users. Their flexibility and capacity to put themselves in the client’s shoes make them key players in the success of a project!