When Is It OK to Sacrifice QA?

Tony Lotay - 10/07/2020

Quality assurance (QA) isn’t just a step in the process — it’s a mindset. Great development has a commitment to quality through every stage of the software development lifecycle. But, there are times when we need to compromise and find the balance between time, budget and quality. So, it raises an important question: when is it ok to sacrifice quality? 

That’s a little bit of a trick question because it’s never really ok to sacrifice quality, but it is ok to focus your QA efforts where it will have the maximum impact. At Kiandra, we find QA prioritisation generally falls into three main scenarios: 

The priority is speed

For many clients, time is of the essence and they need their solution ready to deploy as quickly as possible. In this instance, they need to ensure the application core functionality is stable and working well but are content to iterate and improve over time, or prove its worth before unlocking further development budget. For many organisations, this will mean deploying an application with a limited set of functionality to meet an urgent business need for a select user base, with the intention to add features and refine the user experience over time.

The priority is a stable launch at scale

For some clients, while there may be time constraints (there always are!) the priority is to have the application working to a high capacity at launch. This may mean spending more time in the Discovery Phase, planning a testing program and coaching internal User Acceptance Testers. Or it might mean going deeper on bug testing during each sprint. Clients wanting to get it right the first time are typically aiming to deploy their application to a large user base and want to reduce the amount of iteration and bug fixing needed at launch.  

The priority is perfection

Then, of course, we have major digital transformation projects which absolutely have no margin for error. These types of projects have a little more time to work with, and of course a higher budget to put into quality assurance. Their goal will be to spend the time and effort up front to ensure a seamless launch and reduce the need for ongoing fixes, UX refinement and iteration — ultimately getting the application working to its full capacity quicker and reducing costs elsewhere. 

Each of these scenarios has its place in software development and there are testing methodologies to suit the differing priorities of clients and projects. A good developer will work closely with a client to find out what these priorities are and design a QA strategy to suit their needs. At Kiandra, we offer three tiers of testing as a foundation which can be tailored to every client's unique needs: 

  • Essential: As the name suggests, this consists of the absolute essentials to ensure every deliverable is as per requirements and free of impactful defects so you can launch rapidly
  • Premium: includes everything essential along with quality coaching which helps the client team get into the quality mindset. Perfect for large scale launches  
  • Ultimate: This includes absolutely every activity to ensure top-notch quality and reduced costs as activities like detailed test strategy, detailed test planning, root cause analysis at every sprint end, bug origin and bug return rate reports help in identifying areas of concern early and save time and money. 

For any client investing time, effort and their own budget into a project, quality software is an absolute basic right — so a high-quality output should be a given. For your next project, when you're considering where to focus your QA efforts internally, don’t ask yourself if it's ok to sacrifice Quality Assurance — ask yourself what your priorities are, and your QA planning will be much simpler. 

Need help deciding what your priorities should be and where you'll get the most bang for your QA buck? Download our Quality Assurance guide now.  


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