The quality assurance landscape is undergoing a major transformation as QA organizations try to align their goals with the business goals of their companies.

QA has a tough balancing act to perform — tackling business risks as well as cost reduction and ROI concerns, while building agility in their organizations to respond to business goals.

Testing teams have long been viewed as an insurance by IT departments to assure themselves and their business partners on what is being delivered. Over the years, IT departments have spent more time and money in trying to ascertain the delivery worthiness of code.

More than ever, business teams are asking today how testing teams could deliver better insights and greater value into what is being produced by development teams. The argument is if testing teams could serve as Quality Gates throughout the development lifecycle, there would be fewer surprises towards the end, and lesser tradeoffs and compromises between inadequate functionality and faster time-to-market, which paves ways to the following emerging Trends in QA.

Six key quality assurance trends emerging:

1st Trend: Embracing Early Lifecycle Validation to Drive Down Costs and Improve Time-to-Market

The adoption of early lifecycle validation helps QA organizations to fix defects early in the lifecycle, thus significantly reducing risks and lowering total cost of ownership.

Methodologies gaining traction include:

* requirements/model-based testing
* early involvement and lifecycle testing
* risk-based testing
* risk-based security testing
* predictive performance modeling

2nd Trend: Increased Adoption of Test Lifecycle Management, Testing Metrics and Automation Solutions to Improve Overall Testing Processes

As QA organizations work to build greater quality into applications, they are adopting solutions such as test lifecycle management and automation technologies. “These solutions help to drive greater traceability throughout the testing lifecycle and to automate all stages of the lifecycle, with the aim of overall efficiencies and ROI.”

The emergence of new frameworks and dashboards for defining, measuring and monitoring testing metrics. “All of these metrics seek to enable quick decision-making and driving greater efficiency within existing or emerging testing processes/frameworks/solutions”.

3rd Trend: More Domain-based Testing

“Domain excellence is becoming a key factor in the testing industry, forcing QA organizations to build or buy point/platform-based solutions that combine core business processes and advanced testing frameworks” .

Examples of such testing creations include solutions for regulatory compliance for SOX and HIPAA; and for specialized processes such as POS, e-commerce, and banking.

4th Trend: The Emergence of Non-functional Testing Solutions Aimed at Enhancing the Customer Experience

The widespread use of e-commerce is forcing quality assurance organizations to deploy more solutions for measuring and enhancing end-customer experience.

“This is putting stress on the requirement for non-functional validation services and solutions”.

Key emerging areas include: testing for usability and accessibility, and predictive performance modeling.

5th trend: The Development of Testing Frameworks for Newer Technologies

Newer technologies such as SOA and cloud computing pose a different set of testing challenges to established technologies.

“Traditional models and frameworks of testing don’t work so well with these new technologies so QA organizations are creating new models and frameworks to address the issues raised” .

6th Trend: Special Focus on ERP Testing

For years, organizations have implemented ERP packages without thinking much about the testing complexities that will emerge as the packages evolve in changing IT environments.

Consequently, today these packages require specialized skills and methodologies to facilitate the business goals, implementation testing, and smooth rollouts and upgrades of the packages.

“QA testing is one of the key pain-points in ERP implementations and upgrades today”.

To sum it up, the question still remains, where, when and how these techniques can be used? With the assumption that the benefits will differ in a variety of situations, including the efficacy of application. Needless to say it would be very interesting to consider some of these techniques and discuss the practical implications of these emerging trends.

Posted by Nilesh Kumar
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February 1st, 2012

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