Friday, June 17, 2005

10 Critical Quality Assurance Traps

From the Quality Techniques Newsletter QTN May 2005 Issue:

Seems obvious but great companies with great products fall into these traps.

1. Unclear ownership of product quality.
2. No overall test program design or goals.
3. Non-existent or ill-defined test plans and cases.
4. Testing that focuses narrowly on functional cases.
5. No ad hoc, stress or boundary testing.
6. Use of inconsistent or incorrect testing methodology.
7. Relying on inexperienced testers.
8. Improper use of tools and automation, resulting in lost time and reduced ROI.
9. No meaningful metrics for tracking bugs and driving quality back into development.
10. Incomplete regression cycle before software release.

To avoid these traps, it is important to incorporate best practices into your quality assurance process. The process should include an evaluation of where you are with quality assurance today, what your QA goals are, what the gaps are in the process, and finally you should build a roadmap to obtain your goals. Only after these steps have been taken can you avoid these quality assurance traps.

What was your worst experience ?


Anonymous Jim Hazen said...


The number one mistake to me is exactly what you didn't point out.

Testing is not Quality Assurance!

Everything (except unclear ownership) you listed are Quality Control (Testing) items. You in my opinion are perpetuating the main problem we (test professionals) face, that Testing is thought of as being QA.

Testing is one of the components of the overall QA structure/methodology. Testing is a control process. Other areas such as Standards & Procedures (not just in testing and development), Sofware Configuration Management, Audit, Metrics, Process Methodologies, Risk Management and Project Management to name a few are the other components of the overall structure of Quality Assurance. And that is one of the toughest things to get across to other groups (like management, development, marketing and sales).

I'm not trying to rip on you here, but please make that distinction in the future.


Jim Hazen, Tester

Saturday, June 18, 2005 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ronny De Winter said...


Thanks for the comment. I fully agree that Quality Assurance is much more than testing and that testing can be better described as Quality Control, which is only a subset of QA.

And indeed this is a misconception which lives in many organisations. How often do you see job advertisements for QA people while it is clear that what they are looking for is testers ?

The QTN newsletter has taken this top10 from the VeriTest Spring 2005 Newsletter. Guess what business Veritest is in ?!

My weblog on Software Quality will cover SQA topics, including testing, but also the other areas you mention.


Saturday, June 18, 2005 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Hazen said...


The list came from VeriTest's newsletter? Shame on them, they should know better.


Monday, June 20, 2005 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The mistake I see is the implication that there really is a body of "best practices" out there - i.e. the one right answer to a problem.

I have to agree with one James Bach on this point - there are better practices and there are worse practices, but taken out of context, I know of no industry agreed upon best practices.


Monday, June 20, 2005 7:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Richw said...

I would say that the number one issue would be accepting the requirements as gospel! With an industry standard of 86% of all defects found being caused by faulty requirements, this would seem to indicate a lack of good QA methodology. But then with only testers there really is no QA, is there?


Rich Wagner

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 4:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ronny De Winter said...


Good point. Reminds me of the CHAOS report form the Standish group:
"Opinions about why projects are impaired and ultimately canceled ranked incomplete requirements and lack of user involvement at the top of the list."

As mentioned before the list of 10 traps above is a bit too much test-oriented.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 7:46:00 PM  
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