December 3rd, 2013

Mobile app testing roles : The QA Super Heroes

We live in a quantity-driven world where quality is frequently placed second with development teams struggling to deliver top-rated products on time within budget and scope. However, at DMI, QUALITY is always a top priority as we seek to deliver top-rated, quality applications to our customers and end users.

Behind DMI ‘QUALITY’ ethos is a team of Quality Assurance Testers who, through time, experience, and training, dedicate themselves to diving head first into the ‘nitty gritty’ of every application assigned to the team. Elsewhere QA is usually seen as a support department, but we think of the team as our super heroes.

DMI mobile app Testing Roles

Our QA team is made up of Testers who are tasked and specialized in certain operational roles. While many employ several roles at the same time, each role has a very specific character and objective to ensure delivery of top quality applications. Our cast of super heroes are:

1. The Terminator

This tester role channels the tester’s inner Arnold Schwarzenegger – well sort of. When activated, the Terminator does not rest until there is no longer any way to crash the application.

After all, as a famous QA quote goes: “if it isn’t broken, you are not trying hard enough.” Even if what the tester did was rotate, rotate, rotate, and rotate the device – a crash is a crash. And if there is a crash log, well, it is up to the developers to figure out the ‘Why?’.

2. Counter Striker

No, this tester does not play Counter Strike. Instead the Counter Striker applies the ‘search and destroy’ military strategy by analyzing, searching, and predicting which areas are likely to end up with errors and then nails it to an issue. *BAM!*

This tester often racks up a high-ticket count, hitting functional concerns in the head where it counts. When they first get started, it is a bloody mess – but a tester’s got to do, what a tester’s got to do. Eventually the developers catch up with the Counter Striker and eliminate the issues.

3. The Perfectionist

This tester may not create breathtaking works of art, but pixel perfect apps are always on his mind. For the Perfectionist, the application must be aesthetically pleasing. All text must be perfectly centered and spaced as specified in the User Interface Designers mockups. Sliding menus should slide gracefully, colors should be correct on every screen, buttons must have the correct drop shadow (or no drop shadow in this new iOS7 world), and if the opacity is not ideal, then it is definitely an issue. The application is compared across screen sizes, OS versions and devices until everything is perfect.

The Perfectionist will never be 100% satisfied but that’s the nature of the role and the tester moves on to the aesthetic improvement that can be made.

4. Dee-Dee Wannabe*

Ever heard of the phrase, ‘OOOH, what does this button do?’ This infamous line radiates curiosity, a mode which testers often employ especially when they first get an application.

This tester does not need specific requirements, specifications, expected results, and other information. Instead this role is all about exploring the application without any boundaries and discovering logic and usability errors before the real users of the application does.

5. Superman Complex

Superman is not happy until every villain has been eliminated and destroyed. When testers go into this role, they are the ultimate superhero saving the world (or the app). When activated, this role enables testers to face the adversity of ‘Won’t Fix Issues’ and ‘Cannot Reproduce Bugs’, and defend them with all their might. The tester also becomes capable of weeding out possible worst-case scenarios and find the root cause of it.

When in superman mode, testers become so invincible, they become capable of doing a lot of things – even fixing the kitchen sink.

One Simply Does Not Become a Tester

When people are asked, “What do you think a tester does?”. In most cases, that person would say, “Uh… he tests things?”. This is true, but testing is more than just poking through the application.

At DMI, Quality Assurance Testers dig deep into the application to understand its capacities, limitations, expectations, and push the app to become the best that it can be. Through a combination of script testing, mind martial arts and exploratory testing, apps are polished and prepped to become the best it can be.

In order to do this, one must be able to adapt to different Tester Roles and figure out his or her strengths. One must be flexible enough to test like the wind, bend under pressure, and still be able to work hand in hand with all the DMI departments as you tear the app apart, but with a single goal in mind: DEVELOP amazing mobile applications.

For a more traditional look at how mobile applications and websites are tested, see our previous blog on the DMI QA process.

Footnote:
*Dee-Dee is the sister of Dexter in the Cartoon Network series ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’, who often uses this line whenever she is about to poke at something at the laboratory, much to the annoyance of Dexter (the boy genius).

Lorselle Tecson, Tester @ DMI, Phnom Penh office.

Tags: App development mobile apps QA testing

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