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Can Proper Quality Assurance Save the World?

Real Cases Show Yes!

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In the world we live in today, technology is rapidly advancing and touching nearly every aspect of our lives. The importance of quality assurance (QA) cannot be overstated, especially in industries where a mistake could lead to devastating consequences.

From nuclear energy to healthcare, properly implementing quality assurance measures has proven crucial in preventing disasters and saving lives. Therefore, thoroughly choosing a Quality Assurance company is one of the most crucial challenges for an IT director or Product manager. Take a look at Atelogic’s blog to explore cases!

The partial meltdown of the core of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Pennsylvania on March 28, 1979, serves as a prime example of the importance of QA. Almost a billion dollars had to be spent to combat the devastating fallout of this accident, which caused a surge in public opposition against nuclear energy due to its magnitude and scale.

The final report on the accident cited multiple causes, including personnel confusion due to imperfect stress testing. 

According to the instructions, the operators should have closed the safety valve to prevent the unexpected situation. In turn, the valve had a warning light that indicated whether the valve was opened or closed, as the operators believed. But, in fact, the light indicated no more than whether the signal “turn off” was sent. Although the signal was sent (as the light switched on), the valve got stuck in the “open” position.

This incident highlighted how crucial effective user interfaces and professional QA audits are for avoiding such preventable disasters in the future.

In addition to nuclear energy, QA is crucial in the healthcare industry. Imagine a scenario where a patient receives the wrong medication or dosage due to an error in the software used by healthcare providers. The consequences could be dire, even fatal. 

Almost every Quality Assurance company possesses many cases that prove the importance of the QA process and appropriate testing procedures. As Roman Khorostil, Quality Assurance Engineer at Artelogic, notes, “The right-conducted testing can save a lot of money, and sometimes when you test a healthcare project, you can save the life of someone.”

Roman Khorostil explains the challenges the QA team faced in solving problems with a project in the healthcare industry. “The main problem was a lot of requests from the customers about different issues. However, through diligent testing and defect resolution, we reduced the frequency of such requests significantly. Also, there was a necessity to fix and improve existing autotests. One more problem was the lack of objective test documentation. There were a lot of test cases, but they weren’t effective. This was largely due to the Pesticide paradox, which is a fundamental testing principle”.

Why does the multitude of test cases not ensure the general testing quality?

The “Pesticide Paradox” principle says that if the same set of test cases are executed repeatedly over time, then these sets of tests are not capable enough to identify new defects in the system. To solve this ‘pesticide paradox,’ it’s necessary to review the test cases regularly and create new and diverse tests that cover different parts of the software or system to discover more defects potentially.

Roman emphasizes the importance of early involvement in the project and creating adequate documentation for testing the MVP version. “In my new project, I was involved in the early stage, so I could check requirements, mockups, and specifications, create effective documentation for testing the MVP version, and create new automation tests for regression. Those activities help to prevent defect multiplication and reduce the impact of the potential risks.”

Furthermore, QA is essential in ensuring that technology is accessible to people of different languages and cultures. Olena Danyliv, Quality Assurance Engineer at Artelogic, recounts an experience where globalization was not considered. This led to an issue where application sections were blocked for users with an Arabic device language. This highlights the importance of considering all possible scenarios and user experiences during the QA process.

“It was quite an interesting experience, as I found this bug by not just following the requirements but thinking out of the scope,” – said Olena. The application had an Arabic language feature that was written from right to left, causing some sections to overlap or block all the buttons. If a user had a device language set to Arabic, they could not reach some sections at all. Olena discovered this bug by changing the language in the application, not on the device, triggering the overlapping that could have caused a more significant problem.

The necessary elements for QA success

The QA Engineer played a crucial role in this project, ensuring the product met the expected high-quality standards. Olena’s documentation helped the team understand the flow more clearly, and her static testing and mockup review prevented future issues. Analyzing the market helped identify potential user problems and prevent bugs from arising.

“Even the best-developed software or interface has ambiguities. It happened organically, as it is the nature of human interaction. As we can see from the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant case, the sequence of prescribed actions didn’t correspond with the interface’s signals. That is an example of system ambiguity,  – said Ihor Prudyvus, Head of the Quality Management Office at Artelogic. – Thus, the involvement of QA experts is the strategic decision that significantly streamlines the release and maintenance of the product. One way or another, the product owners or founders will decide they need quality testing. But the earlier this is done, the more successful the product launch will be”.

Without proper QA, the project would have faced significant issues. Quality assurance not only identifies issues but also prevents them from appearing in the first place. The QA Engineer has the experience to find vulnerabilities and problematic sections, which developers may overlook, considering their involvement.

“The successful delivery of the QA service in this project required two essential things,” – Olena Danyliv, Quality Assurance Engineer at Artelogic, said. The first was a plan of action, prioritizing tasks and things to be done. The second was the importance of regression testing, which is crucial in every project. Even when the project structure is correctly built, bugs can appear unexpectedly. Planning regression testing and using experience-based testing can hunt down the most unexpected bugs.

Regression Testing is a type of software testing to confirm that a recent program or code change has not adversely affected existing features. Regression Testing is nothing but a full or partial selection of already executed test cases that are re-executed to ensure existing functionalities work fine.

What could happen with the project without QA?

  • Poor Quality: Without QA, there is no systematic and objective way to ensure the quality of the project. This may result in poor-quality output, leading to unhappy customers or stakeholders and ultimately harming the organization’s reputation.
  • Bugs: Without a proper QA process, there is a high probability of bugs and errors in the code, which can lead to system failures, crashes, or security breaches.
  • Unforeseen Costs: If bugs are found after the project has been delivered, the organization may have to spend extra time and resources to fix the issues. This can lead to increased costs and delays.
  • Inefficient Testing: Without proper testing, there may be insufficient coverage to detect bugs and errors. This can lead to the deployment of poorly tested software, resulting in potential failures.

Quality assurance is essential to every project, whether big or small. It ensures that technology products, applications, and systems work correctly without glitches or bugs. Real cases have shown us the proper implementation of QA measures is crucial in preventing even disasters and saving lives. So let’s appreciate and invest in QA to improve our world.