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How to Avoid and Solve Major QA Bottlenecks

Author: Sidharth Shukla

Last updated: April 21, 2024

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Quality holds immense significance in the realm of software applications. Every organization allocates substantial resources and investments toward delivering high-quality products to its customers. However, the testing phase can often become arduous and time-consuming due to a lack of expertise in effectively managing common bottlenecks, resulting in project delays.


One of the most prevalent issues is the delayed involvement of QA, which can lead to chaos. By involving QA early on and maintaining their participation throughout the development process, we can prevent them from being overwhelmed with testing tasks once development concludes. This approach is termed as Shift-Left approach. However, this approach can sometimes lead to an overload and the inadvertent oversight of critical features, resulting in defect leakage. At times, it can also be quite challenging to implement this in existing projects.

In this article, we aim to explore the major bottlenecks in QA and provide insights on how to efficiently manage them with the right approach.

 


QA Bottlenecks & Resolution

Let’s understand some of the most common Quality bottlenecks and how they can be managed effectively by following the discussed steps.

 

1. Limited Test Environment & Device Availability

 

Situation:
Ensuring the smooth functioning of software or applications across different operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux), web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari), and devices (Android, iOS) is crucial for delivering a positive user experience. However, the testing team faces challenges due to limited resources for configuring diverse testing setups.. Many times the service deployed in the QA environment is broken and not testable which delays the testing process

Solution:
To solve this problem, the company can use cloud-based testing setups offered by platforms like Sauce Labs, BrowserStack, or AWS Device Farm. These platforms have many virtual computers and real devices that can be used for testing different setups, browsers, and devices. This helps the testing team to test everything they need without having to have lots of physical computers. By using these cloud-based solutions, the testing team can test things quickly and effectively.

 

2. Manual Testing Overload


Situation:
An online application gets updates and new features often, so it needs to be checked thoroughly each time to make sure it works well. However, the testing team has a hard time because they have to manually test the same things over and over again. This consumes significant time and effort, resulting in delays in releasing the updates.

Solution:
To solve this problem, the company can start using automation tools like Selenium WebDriver, Appium, or Cypress.io for testing web and mobile apps. These tools can automatically test things that are done repeatedly, making the testing process faster and smoother. Also, they can set up continuous integration practices using tools like Jenkins or GitLab CI, which automatically run tests whenever there are updates.

This helps find problems early and speeds up the process of getting updates out. Using automation tools and continuous integration, the testing team can handle their workload better, reduce manual testing, and release updates faster.

 

3. Inadequate Test Data Management


The insufficiency of adequate test data presents a considerable challenge for QA teams, impeding their ability to conduct thorough software application testing. Without a diverse and realistic pool of test data, validating different scenarios and edge cases becomes arduous, resulting in incomplete testing coverage and the potential oversight of critical issues.

To tackle this bottleneck, organizations can adopt test data management solutions that automate the generation, organization, and anonymization of test data. Several libraries and AI tools exist to aid in efficiently generating test data. For instance, Java libraries like Faker and Mockito, or JavaScript library Faker.js, empower QA teams to create realistic test data programmatically. Moreover, AI-driven tools such as Tricentis Data Integrity, Informatica Test Data Management, and Delphix offer advanced functionalities for producing synthetic test data based on predefined patterns or production data. This ensures compliance with data privacy regulations and facilitates comprehensive testing across diverse scenarios.

 

 

4. Dependency on QA Specialists


Situation:
A small testing team has to handle many projects at once, which makes it hard to find enough resources and causes delays in testing. Also, they mostly do testing manually, which makes it hard to do more testing and slows things down.

Solution:
To fix this, the company can help the testing team learn more about automation tools like Selenium WebDriver, JUnit/TestNG, or pytest.

With these tools, testing becomes automatic, allowing the team to cover more ground in less time. Adopting agile testing methods also promotes closer collaboration between the testing and development teams. This helps make testing faster and ensures they test the most important things first. By helping the testing team learn new skills and work together better, the company can make testing easier and faster, even with limited resources.

 

 

5. Lack of Pipeline Automation in the Release Process

 

Situation:
The development team often makes changes to the code and adds new features without telling the testing team first. So the testing team ends up testing in the old build or releases, which results in defect leakage and sometimes high-severity bugs in production. At times, due to operating in varying time zones, the development team might implement changes during PST morning, while the testing team in India can only assess them the following day. Consequently, the development team is required to await the results.

Solution:
The most effective way to address the above-mentioned issue is by automating the QA process to trigger the automation suites with every code change by developers and generate test reports. The testing team can set up continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines using tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or CircleCI. These pipelines automatically test and deploy code changes, making sure that testing happens early and often. Make sure that all automation suites are part of the release cycle and integrated into the pipeline, so once the dev team pushes any code the automation suite should get triggered and send the respective report for analysis. Also, they can improve communication between the development and testing teams by having regular meetings and discussions. This helps everyone stay on the same page and work together better. By using CI/CD pipelines and improving communication, the company can make testing smoother and deliver software faster.

 

 

6. Robust QA Process


Having a solid QA process is very important to avoid delays in software testing. When QA is involved from the start of the project, and we make sure everyone understands what needs to be tested and how, it helps us stay focused on what the project needs. Implementing automation frameworks and integrating continuous testing into the CI/CD pipeline accelerates test execution and ensures early defect detection. 

Effective communication, collaboration, and proper test environment management prevent delays caused by unavailable resources. By testing for performance and scalability early on, we can catch problems before they become big issues. Also, when we encourage everyone to keep learning and improving, it helps us stay ahead of changes in technology. This way, we can make sure our testing process runs smoothly, we test things efficiently, and we deliver good quality software on time.

 

Conclusion

 

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution." - William A. Foster

In the world of software products & applications, maintaining quality is paramount. However, navigating through testing challenges can often cause delays in rolling out updates. Leveraging innovative solutions such as cloud-based testing setups and automation tools, alongside refining test data management practices, can significantly accelerate the testing phase and ensure timely releases. Moreover, implementing robust CI/CD pipelines and fostering seamless communication among teams can further optimize efficiency and facilitate prompt updates. By embracing these strategies, we can effectively tackle testing hurdles and deliver superior software products to our users.

Sidharth Shukla

Sidarth Shukla often shares about his experience in automation testing in his newsletter. Currently associated with Amazon as SDET2, he led a workshop at The Test Tribe’s Worqference 2023. Sidarth has experience in tools such as QTP/UFT, Selenium Webdriver with Java, TestNG/TDD with nunit framework, and API automation. He often shares on LinkedIn, blog, and Twitter.