What I Think of QA

I’ve been doing the QA thing for a little over 8 years now, and while I feel like I have learned a ton of stuff, I know that there is so much more out there to figure out.  I got into QA because I like to break things (and I’m good at it…), and discovered that, while it was a good place to start, breaking things was only a small part of the puzzle.  QA should be about building great software, but all too often I find that not to be the case.  Somewhere along the line, we forgot what we were commissioned to do.  Right now, most of the articles and opinions I see are around testing, and QA is so much more than that (or at least should be).

I’m well aware that I have controversial opinions in regards to QA, and that I have a tendency to step on others toes, but I’ve made peace with that.  My job isn’t to make you happy…my job is to deliver quality software.  I am more than willing to say no to a release when I have to, if it means that the release goes out as bug-free as possible.  And yes, I am going to hold you accountable if you continue to deliver crap software…that does not work for me or the company.

So what do I think of QA?  I think it is a collection of small processes that start with the creation of a feature or product, and lasts all the way through the production release.  Yes, it includes testing, but it also includes working with the developers to ensure that the product works as appropriate.  It means working with product owners to ensure that we not only understand the functionality, but also to suggest alternatives when the defined functionality doesn’t make sense.  We should be THE product experts, as no one touches all areas of the application like we do.  We should use that product knowledge to improve the overall product, and not just to test what we have been told to.  We should be willing to say no when a release isn’t ready or good enough, and be prepared to explain why we are taking that stance.  We should be working to deliver a QUALITY product, and not just a product…



3 thoughts on “What I Think of QA

  1. Jim Hazen

    First thing to realize is that the term ‘QA’ for the vast majority of people translate into only ‘testing’. Most companies, people outside of Testing, and most inside of Testing do use QA as some type of umbrella word. QA is so much more than Testing alone, there are other disciplines and jobs that are part of QA along with Testing. That is the problem, most people don’t know that.

    Also, ‘quality’ cannot be tested into the product. It has to be ‘baked’ in, and that everyone is responsible for helping to do that. Quality is not one person or groups responsibility.

    So, if all you do is ‘testing’ for your job then you are not QA. You’re a Tester, and your job is to evaluate the software and report on your findings. This leads into an information cycle that aids in improving the ‘quality’ of the product, it does not ensure it. The people who call themselves QA need to evaluate what it is they really do day in & day out. Calling yourself a Tester isn’t a bad thing, wear the badge with pride. You just might be happier if you do.


    Jim Hazen

    1. I couldn’t agree more…that is my biggest hangup is that to most people, QA means testing. Like you said, quality can’t be tested in…it has to be baked in, and for that to happen, everyone has to own quality. Excellent response Jim!

  2. Pingback: Testing Bits – 7/27/14 – 8/2/14 | Testing Curator Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s