Is QA getting the most value out of its test cases?

Among the many challenges facing software developers today, none are more pressing than the pressure to reduce operational costs while simultaneously shortening the production window. Under normal circumstances, cutting back on expenses can be enormously difficult and runs the risk of impeding the performance of quality assurance teams, but when paired with expectations to release whole products in a minimal amount of time, this endeavour becomes particularly daunting. QA management can address both of these concerns by writing effective test cases that can be reused across multiple projects.

Many software developers have sunk a great deal of time, money and person-hours into wasteful quality assurance practices which could be corrected with more effective resource management. For instance, it’s fairly common for two or more testers to be working on similar – if not identical – projects at any given time. These redundancies can lead to longer software development and release cycles and thereby cause increased labour costs.

Similarly, software testers spend a sizable portion of the production process writing unique test cases to identify performance issues or coding flaws with their current projects. Whenever possible, it’s advantageous for QA members to write automated test scripts that can be reused across multiples development projects. Software development experts Kanglin Li and Mengqi Wu noted in their book “Effective Software Test Automation: Developing an Automated Software Testing Tool” that encouraging the creation of reusable test scripts can help QA management to get more value and productivity out of available resources.

“It requires great efforts to develop a testing tool,” the pair wrote. “Software engineers will be more willing to make these efforts if they can meet the requirements of one project and reuse the tool for future projects … A test script for one testing case can be used to test another testing case. Finally, the tool itself can be reused and updated from project to project. “Support test case reuse with software upgrades Clemson University associate professor John McGregor explained that properly utilizing reusable test scripts often requires the. For example, if a tester writes an effective automated script that can be leveraged in future productions but he or she has no means to share it with other QA members, the value of the test case will be significantly diminished.

To wring the most benefits out of automated test scripts, testers need a unified systems from which they can access said resources whenever the need arises. A sophisticated test case management system will provide QA teams with the foundation to write, collect and reuse automated scripts within a single interface. Once testers have written a new, repeatable script, it can be stored in the system and made available to the entire QA department, as well as developers and managerial leaders. Access to these resources should be made incredibly convenient through the use of an easy-to-use, navigable testing dashboard. With these tools in place, testers reduce the time, money and man- hours needed to thoroughly examine a piece of software for flaws and ensure it is of an extremely high quality before hitting the market. With a singular test management system, QA management can gain better oversight across the team and assign tasks more effectively.

About the Author


As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. Sanjay has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.
Find out more about @sanjayzalavadia

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