What is the role of a tester in mobile app development?
Mobile app development is a process that involves an integrated work of different IT professions. Apart from, developers, project managers, and technical writers there are also software testers whose presence is crucial to finish the app. Testers are said to have the easiest job in the room as they work is often compared to free volunteers trying out a product. In fact, the role of a tester is bigger and much more complex than just that.
Who is a tester?
A tester is a part of the QA team (Quality Assurance) and is responsible for testing the product for bugs, errors and all kinds of problems that have a negative influence on its general performance. The problems may be caused by introducing changes to the app that affect the code of it. To make sure the app is ready for launch, a tester follows testing stages, double-checking each feature.
His duties are:
- conducting test processes,
- creating test cases and the data,
- participate in walkthroughs of testing procedures,
- preparing reports of their work,
- taking care of the project documentation (also technical writers)
- ensuring all tests meet the adequate standards
Quality Assurance Team
One testing team usually includes several kinds of testers, for example, QA Team Leader, different Test Engineers (Manual, Usability or Automation testers), Technical Lead and Network Test Engineer. Although, not every company employs such an extended QA team as the size of it depends on the scope of projects and their budget. Nevertheless, it only shows how precisely may one product be tested. If a QA team includes a lot of members, one should make sure that their work is scalable. That means when we hire another tester the work will continue to run smoothly without communication problems. Also, the larger the team, the greater the competence to handle more complex projects.
The ability to imagine possible scenarios
Apart from A and B situations, there are other more complex scenarios that a user may encounter. To test the app well, testers need to think and behave like a user, changing settings and checking all possible options and configurations in the product. It requires patience but also a different perspective. Testers have to act as the most demanding customers without turning a blind eye on undesired details.
Knowledge of different test designs and approaches
Instead of finding the universal technique that allows for testing the whole product at once, testers should become aware that it’s better to have a context-driven approach. Each of the features and simulated situations should be tested using a dedicated tool or best-suited test design. The approach itself ensures that all pairs of possible combinations of an operating system are checked. It’s the role of a tester to choose the proper test design which will enable him to create test cases. Test cases include the answer to a question: how should the system respond to the given input? They cover our expectations regarding the product.
Relationship with the software development team
Test results dictate the work of other members of the development team. Project Manager has to be informed about the progress to know how to lead the project team. If there are any critical bugs that would block the app, a tester has to report the status as soon as possible. His position is closely related to the developers. It’s their code that is taken under a microscope during testing stages. A tester has to know how to make bug reports so that it would be readable for them. Apart from that, he supports technical writers in creating user guides and, what’s more important, takes care of the security part of the product so the firewalls, passwords and the authorization process. He checks if the functionalities within the app are stable and how they are prepared for a certain number of active users.
What still intrigues, is that for some reason (probably budgetary constraints) customers don’t want to hire a tester during project development. Even though such a decision puts at risk the actual project and its future performance on the market. Lack of testing or inadequate testing is dangerous especially in companies that put at risk the lives of others. An interesting example here is a recent Boeing software error during the Starliner test flight. The company has already undergone some severe software testing reforms after the catastrophe of 737 MAX. That only shows how important it is for each line of code to be screened before the project is launched.
Having a tester in a development team is the biggest profit for a client. He’s in the project to make sure that all the necessary functionalities are safe, stable and resistant to any undesirable actions. Hiring a tester says a lot about your approach to the project and how much you try to make it happen. It’s also the most reasonable way you can secure your product on the market.