September 28, 2020

QA up at Night

A common question that gets asked CEOs is:

What Keeps you Up at Night?

The response usually centers around new projects and uncontrolled risks to the company bottom line.

So, What about QA? What issues are keeping QA up at night? I can't speak for all of QA, but here are the top six things that keep QA Managers and Leaders up at night.

Six Things that keep QA up at Night

Ticket Scope Creek - Product making last-minute changes and not adding the change to the spec document. This can cause some unfortunate consequences later. For example, the product team didn’t realize that an extra line in a description field pushes the next button below the visible frame view.

Tight Deadlines- sometimes a feature has to go to Production with very minimal time for proper testing. In these rare cases, QA has very little time to fully test the feature. Example: Product wants to ship a new feature in time for the customer event, unfortunate delays with development means a shorter test cycle.

Dev Environment not Matching Production - Some testing can’t be accomplished because the testing environment doesn’t match production. Most of the time it’s load balancing and Cache that may cause issues. Example: New customer login path doesn’t take account of having different servers. QA passes the feature but the release is rolled back because users aren’t able to log in.

Developers that don’t test their code - some developers don’t test their code before handing it off to QA. They feel when it passes code review it’s good enough. Unfortunately, developers don’t check for how the change impacts the code. Most time code review is to test logic. Example: Developer submits code for QA and the build fails because the developer forgot to properly close a SQL insert statement.

Dealing with the Cash Register - Making the sale process smooth is critical to any business. QA needs to make sure that customers can buy and the sale occurs correctly for the customer and for the company. It’s important that customers are properly charged for the goods and services that they order. Example: At one of the companies that I worked at, a team of QA engineers was responsible for making sure that purchases were successful. They were trained to understand various tax rules and security regulations. Not all companies have the luxury of having a skilled team, so QA has to do their best to make sure that the sales process is good after every release.

Automation Failures due to UI changes - When a developer makes a UI change and doesn’t tell QA, it can cause some issues after the first automation run. The overnight tests may fail and QA will spend much of the morning fixing all the failed runs. This can cause other bugs to go undetected for a while. Example: A developer changes some of the IDs in the main navigation to keep with the new CSS standards. The change is considered minor and no ticket is created. On the first day of testing 90% of the automation fails because the old IDs can’t be found.

Agree/Disagree?

What do you think? Are there other cases that cause you to lose sleep?

Share your story in the comment section.

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