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Five Thoughts from a Software QA Specialist

1. Special characters cause problems

Special characters are a $#^=+&! pests. I’ve seen it countless times. A user enters a special character in a title or a name or anything else and that feature won’t load correctly or load at all. Make sure any input fields have been tested with all special characters. The special characters should be accepted or rendered into an acceptable list. Make sure any search fields accept special characters too.

2. Test environment and live environment aren’t always the same

Even the best software testers might miss a few things if their test server is a poor imitation of the live production server. The test environment may not have enough data to properly test. For example, if testing a new report with a date range selector, the test server may lack enough data to fill all possible date ranges for the report.

If your test server doesn’t have the same volume of data as your live production server you might encounter latency and load time issues on the production server.

When crafting QA tests it is important to remember that the test server is likely not an exact copy of the real production server. Most likely is it an outdated copy of production data or simply all test data.

3.Importance of detailed test plans

Programmers should not be the ones testing their own code. Ideally, there is a QA tester on staff. Even better if there are multiple testers to fully cover different user behavior scenarios. A detailed test plan includes a checklist of features to be tested and their expected behavior.

4. Things fall apart

Something will break, at some point.

5. Don’t schedule software releases on a Friday

If you plan on working over the weekend then go for it, otherwise avoid changes that might cause a problem that could go unnoticed over the weekend. Remember, something will break at some point, so plan your software releases wisely.

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