Three Common Problems in the Mobile App QA Process

Three Common Problems in the Mobile App QA Process December 19, 2012

mobile-app-qa-300x214Quality assurance (QA) is an essential part of creating and maintaining reliable mobile apps that function as planned – and the need for these apps in the enterprise is increasing exponentially. Businesses of all sizes, enterprise-sized companies in particular, are developing new mobile apps as well as converting business critical Web and desktop apps into mobile apps to improve employee efficiency and productivity and provide more responsive customer service.

Coinciding with this increase in need is an even faster evolution of operating systems on computers and especially mobile devices. This presents testers of all types – including those testing native and mobile web apps – with the challenge of delivering apps that function well on multiple platforms, devices and form factors.

While the need for mobile app QA is significant, there are also many common problems that QA teams encounter that can disrupt and limit the efficient testing of enterprise apps. Here are three common problems that enterprise testers may encounter.

Problem #1: Mobile App Testing is Not Thorough – or Not Completed at All

QA has become an increasingly important part of software development. However, a recent survey conducted by Cap Gemini, Sogeti and HP shows that QA for mobile apps is not enjoying the same prominence. In fact, the survey shows that only 31 percent of organizations today currently test their mobile applications. This means that many enterprises are risking the release of apps that don’t function properly, are unreliable, unstable and potentially damaging to their business functions and their brand’s reputation.

Companies all over the world are trying to save time, increase profits and decrease risk. The process of testing native and mobile web apps may decrease risk, but it also takes time to complete – time that many companies are not willing to spend if it means extending app deployment deadlines. It’s a delicate balance that too often ends up with mobile app testing being pushed to the side as apps are rushed to be released.

Problem #2 – Lags in Development Can Lead to Shorter Testing Time

QA is one of the final steps in the development process before an app is released. Before an app makes it to QA for functional and regression testing – not to mention usability, performance and security testing – there are several steps that must first take place, including all phases of development, such as technical design, wireframe development and mobile app development for each mobile platform. As such, if there are lags in the development of an app, testers will have to deal with a shorter than average test time, often resulting in rushed functional testing and running out of time to regression test.

The testing cycle for mobile apps normally takes three-to-six weeks depending on the size and complexity of the application. Due to expedited enterprise app rollouts, this is now being condensed to just one-to-two days, which hardly leaves time for proper testing.

Problem #3 – Lack of Requirements Can Inhibit QA Capabilities

Good requirements from the beginning – even before development starts – can help with the development and subsequent testing processes. Unfortunately, in many cases, mobile app testers aren’t receiving these requirements. This is a critical misstep since providing testers with the requirements can help them effectively define what they should test and how they should develop the testing framework. Without the requirements, it’s like testing in the dark. The key to efficient and accurate test results is to enable testers to plan and test better – and they need requirements to do so.

Visibility to app requirements can also help testers determine whether parts of the testing process can be automated. When automation makes sense, testing cycles can be significantly reduced, freeing up testers to focus on more complicated test cases that either cannot be automated or require more detailed scripting at the outset. Enterprise QA processes are undergoing a major re-evaluation and re-invention thanks to the mobile revolution. By planning ahead, using a mobile app test automation tool and emphasizing the importance of QA to the overall effectiveness of an app, QA teams can avoid these problems and improve overall app quality and reliability.

This article, Three Common Problems in the Mobile App QA Process, was based on an article on MobileLabs

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