The Four Foundations of QA Testing at HES FinTech
The software development industry has come a long way since its early days. Years ago, a quality assurance consultant’s job would lie in running the software and comparing its outputs to the product documentation. That’s it, nothing more. Today, the market requires broader skill sets from everyone, including QA engineers. They do not only design, run, and validate tests, but have significant insight into the development process and business domain, as well as exchange their knowledge on equal footing with the rest of the team.
Ultimately, the job of the QA team has expanded from finding issues to understanding the essence of business processes and preventing issues from happening altogether. At HES FinTech, we meet this challenge by building QA work on four foundations: knowledge, process, practices, and audit.
Knowledge is essential. It enables QA engineers to make informed choices, which in turn means fewer mistakes and better business decisions. The HES QA team draws knowledge from three important sources:
- Project knowledge base: unique experience gathered in numerous projects completed over the years. The knowledge base includes process findings, business knowledge, and best practices.
- Team experience: each member of the team is both a qualified professional in QA and a financial or banking expert.
- Mistake analysis: As a team, we discuss our mistakes openly. Our main goal is to figure out how to prevent them and document the changes to avoid blunders again in the future.
The QA process at HES FinTech is founded on the industry-standard Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC). The STLC defines testing phases and then lists the activities and deliverables within each phase of any software project. Our team runs these activities on Agile practices and methodologies.
Practical project experience brought us to understand the importance of each testing phase as well as the value it brings. Knowing this value, we can tailor our approach to each project’s needs and increase the QA efficiency for the client by excluding unnecessary steps. On the other hand, we apply our knowledge to identify missing steps or checkpoints on projects and suggest how to address them.
Knowledge and process definitions are valuable by themselves, but the practice is what makes them work. Here are a few techniques we use at HES FinTech, where we utilize both the knowledge and the process foundations:
- Weekly team meetings, where we share industry news, project findings, mistakes, and lessons learned to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and that our knowledge base and processes remain current.
- Documentation of processes, best practices, and rules. When documented, processes and rules provide a framework shared by all members of the team and let engineers concentrate on solving business problems rather than figuring out processes.
- Standard set of QA documentation and checklists. These documents are based on our experience in the financial domain, are improved constantly, and can be reused on any project, giving it a considerable head start.
And last but not least, we audit projects (and even ourselves, so to speak) in several ways:
- Project efficiency metrics: the Head of QA regularly reviews key performance metrics on projects and recommends approach adjustments, if necessary.
- Process control: processes and deliverables are audited to make sure rules are followed, all-important checks are made, and bottlenecks are either resolved promptly or utilized to full capacity,
- Test documentation reviews: team members review each other’s documentation to improve the result and learn from each other.
All of the above helps us lower project costs and maintain a high standard of quality. While a generic QA team may spend some of the client’s money learning, we spend that money doing the work.
The article is written by Julia Kanechnaya, the head of the QA department at HES FinTech.