Setting Up QA Team and Workflow from Scratch


When starting a conversation about selecting experts for organizing a QA process, forming a team, delegating authority, and building a hierarchical vertical, it is important to emphasize several fundamental points:

  1. Regardless of whether you are planning to create your own QA team or going to use the services of a software testing firm, you need to have a holistic understanding of the strategy and the main intermediate processes.
  2. A widespread belief is that QA is a separate stage that should begin after the program is developed and handed over to testers. Often this is indeed what happens. However, if you choose, it is much more expedient to organize the work so that the quality assurance strategy is determined simultaneously with the set of tasks for developing the software product.

When the QA team works in parallel with the developers, this significantly saves time and helps you avoid many errors during the development process.

  1. When viewed from the outside, it may seem that the primary document of the QA team is the final report on the found and corrected or prevented errors. In fact, no less, and perhaps even more important product, formed by the QA team based on the Quality Assurance plan, is a thoroughly written fixation of each testing stage and each operation within these stages. The presence of these step-by-step notes allows you to refine the existing strategy and develop a new one based on it for the following products.

As you know, practice is the key to truth. Therefore, speaking about creating a successful QA team, we will base our key points on the experience of well-known testing companies, such as, since their wide recognition in the IT world speaks for itself. In other words, this article will offer some generalized practices, the effectiveness of which has been repeatedly proven in the course of practical work on projects of varying complexity.

Quality assurance strategy – the beginning of the beginning

There is no doubt that when you start developing a program, you have, at least in your mind, a particular plan that involves a specific sequence of actions, deadlines, costs, and priorities.

Be sure to formalize this plan by inviting at least one experienced QA engineer to its detailed development, and ideally, involve all the future leaders of the quality assurance team.

This plan is the strategy of your joint work.

If you intend to invite a team of QA experts from outside, then before starting planning, carefully explore the QA outsourcing market, familiarize yourself with the portfolio of the companies that you have previously outlined for cooperation.

Find out from what point and how deep they are ready to dive into your project. What guarantees are they willing to give you? And, of course, decide on the budget you need to allocate for QA. Keep in mind that the general trend is for successful IT companies to spend 23 to 35 percent of their annual budget on Quality Assurance.

Decide on a control system for both processes – development itself and parallel quality assurance.

Again, based on the experience of successful firms, we can say that the most common model followed by 97% of IT companies is Agile. Experts call DevOps next in demand.

From an infinite number of methods, choose only those really necessary for your project

In the next stage of developing your QA strategy, you need to identify the criteria according to which you plan to evaluate the Quality Assurance in working on your project.

Before starting practical work, you, as the head of the team, and your QA engineers should have a complete and identical understanding of metrics to evaluate the Quality Assurance performed in the entire team’s work and each of its members. In the future, this will make it possible to clearly understand what result is required from each such employee involved in the project.

QA directions are usually divided into several groups, according to the tasks to be solved and the methods used:

  • exploratory testing (it is used by 82% of companies);
  • scenario-based verification (61% of companies use this method);
  • automated-testing (popular among 78% of companies that organize functional and regression testing in this way);
  • manual testing (only 11% of companies are limited to it).

As can be seen from the figures, the overwhelming majority of cases shows a combination of different methods used in proportions determined by a particular project’s needs.

Your task as a leader is to find the right balance of testing forms and methods at the start of the QA team’s work.

Do not confuse Quality Assurance and Quality Control

As a team leader, you must clearly understand the difference between QA and QC. In short, QA is the organization of the permanent tracking of errors, their timely elimination, and, if possible, preventing their occurrence in predictable bottlenecks. QC is the final testing of the finished product.

This process can be sequentially carried out in different companies by the same team or by two ones working in parallel. Decide which model is best for your project.

Summing Up

When assembling a team, planning a budget, distributing responsibilities, and indicating criteria for evaluating results, try to see the whole picture. By understanding the main goals and objectives and weighing the opportunities available to you, you will consistently delve into the details to develop a flexible and effective strategy for success.