Introduction to performing QA & testing topics

Quality engineering consists of a great number of related activities. We grouped these activities in topics; the topics are grouped in organizing topics and performing topics. The performing topics are aimed at the actual operational QA & testing activities.

In sequential IT delivery models the performing topics would fit with the profile of a test engineer. In high-performance IT delivery models most performing topics will be done within the team; some topics are more suited to be done by the supporting staff organization or so-called system teams.

Performing is one of the two groups of topics.


A brief description of the performing topics

The topics for Performing are listed below with a short description per topic:

  • Quality risk analysis & Test strategy – The test strategy describes how the investment in QA & testing activities and other quality measures is balanced over the test object, keeping in mind the available resources and time. The test strategy is mostly based on the quality risks involved. These risks therefore need to be identified, analyzed and mitigated.
    For more in depth information the building block 'Creating a test strategy and test plan in high-performance IT delivery' is available.
  • Acceptance criteria – For specific user needs it must be clear when these are fulfilled. This can be described using acceptance criteria.
  • Quality measures – Based on the acceptance criteria, decisions are made on the relevant quality measures.
  • Reviewing – Static testing applies one or more review techniques (possibly using tools, such as in static analysis) to establish the quality level of documents, code or other deliverables.
  • Test design – Creating test situations, test cases, test scenarios and test scripts is the core of the preparation needed to be able to do structured testing, especially (but not exclusively) in a coverage-based approach.
  • Test data management – Together with test cases, relevant test data is needed. This may involve generating synthetic test data or anonymizing and subsetting live data.
  • Test automation – Test scenarios that have to be executed multiple times, or that serve as a basis for development activities, should be automated using test scripts to achieve higher efficiency and to prevent human error in repetitive tasks.
  • Test execution – Executing test scenarios is the most visible task of testing, this may be done by following structured test scenarios that were previously prepared or by exploring using an experience-based approach.
  • Investigate and assess outcome – A test is only a valuable test if there is a comparison of the expected outcome and the actual outcome of the test. When expected and actual outcomes don't match, further investigation will be needed to create a concise and complete anomaly report.

Please note that in the section "Introduction to QA & testing topics", we described that some performing topics may also have aspects of organizing topics, it's not a black and white division. Also please keep in mind that there is no strict order implied by the way we present the topics.

More information about how these topics are implemented in the various IT delivery models: