Recently I was forwarded an article by one of our VP’s that I thought was a very good way to describe how I personally look at the QA process. In it, the author goes through a list of 18 tenets that outline how to build a good product, and at the same time, describes how QA professionals should approach their deliverables. Too often we get caught in a trap of just following test steps and cases, and lose sight of what is really important. We could 100% pass a suite of test cases, and still deliver a product that is completely unusable on any level. A good example of that is the test case tool that we currently use…while it is very feature rich, and does everything a small team could want, it is designed in such a way that as the number of users grow, the usability of the product goes way down. The system was not architected in a way that allows it to scale properly, but by all accounts, it does what it was built to do. The problem is that once significant load was placed on the system, and tons of test cases were ingested, the system became completely unusable by our team. The 1st and 2nd bullet points in the article I linked to point to ensuring this does not happen, while number 7 drives it home…Fit and finish absolutely matter!
All in all, I think it is a great reminder of why we should be in the software business to begin with…we want to create things that are not only useful, but also look good and deliver a great experience while using them. If I could teach a new QA person one thing, it would be the ability to demand better, and to be able to know what constitutes better. There are so many great concepts in this article that I highly suggest you go check it out for yourself, and I encourage you to pass it around to anyone you know in the software business.
Let’s stop building boring software, and start building great experiences!