Should QA Teams Test Features that Developers have Already Covered under Unit Testing?

QA Teams

Do QA experts need to test features that have already been tested by developers while conducting unit tests? Interesting question.  Some may not agree with this but I think it is important to look at the scenario from a different perspective. More than a decade ago, software testing or QA did not hold much importance lest even existed in the software development process. Developers relied on unit tests and approved software apps that were ready to be released into the market. Mostly, bugs and issues were only reported when the end-users interacted with an application. However, it is important to understand the importance of unit tests and the functioning of a QA team while using QA testing tools to explain how QA can make use of the testing efforts developers have already made. 

All About Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality is not just about implementing a few tests to ensure that every function in the app works efficiently. It entails the features of an app and how different features interact with each other. Quality means that an app meets all the business needs and user requirements. It also revolves around how well an app is built. It answers questions like is the code understandable? Will it be easy to add new features to an app in the future? Is the business logic tested thoroughly? 

What Does A QA Tester Do?

The basic purpose of a QA tester is to coordinate all the software development and testing activities to ensure the quality of software products. QA means that testers are not just checking or testing a product once it is developed, but embedding quality into the system at each point. 

So a QA team should be doing two essential things. Firstly, they should ensure that they are building the right product. QA testers should be concerned about building software that will have a positive impact on the business. Not only this, but QA is also supposed to check that they are building the application correctly. Therefore, this is where QA plays a crucial role, and they are not only limited to testing the system but to ensure that all testing efforts are moving in the right direction – whether done by developers (as unit tests) or by QA testers. 

What is Unit Testing?

We all know how important unit testing is in order to ensure that a system or application has been built correctly. Unit testing is a testing technique where testers test individual components or units of software to determine their conformity to the design specs. A unit is known as a small piece of code for any single function. The unit is a short piece of code designed to verify the behavior of a unit to service a pass or fail result. Unit tests allow developers to run as many tests as possible in order to identify potential issues. Once an app has passed unit testing, test managers may apply other different forms of testing. 

Introducing Test-Driven Development (TDD)

Test-Driven Development is a software development technique that combines program design, implementation, and testing in a series of iterations that emphasize feedback. Automated tests are created using a unit testing framework. It uses a proactive approach in which test code is written before the actual code. All the test cases are written and followed by the code required to get the test case to pass. In short, software development is a series of short iterations in which the test cases drive the creation of features in an application. Although TDD is an approach followed by developers, yet it can be more effective and quality-focused when testers help them in writing test cases. Having said that, QA teams may help developers understand the requirements or quality goals associated with automated unit tests. Likewise, developers can help the QA team understand the system components so that they can build other kinds of tests. 

Taking the Balanced Approach 

It is true that teams can release software faster without unit testing but later users may report bugs that would take a lot more time to fix, not to mention the reputation loss to the business. In order to build better software at speed, QA and development teams should unit test early with the build, perform it regularly, and refactor when required. Unit testing is a must-have skill for a modern developer as it can help in writing bug-free code and it is essential to write quality tests. No doubt, a dedicated development team builds an application accurately with the help of adequate unit tests. The main focus of a QA team is to ensure that applications are bug-free and meet user expectations.  It is a well-known and experienced fact that no matter how well-equipped with QA testing tools, QA teams cannot function in isolation. QA testers can also consider or reuse the test scenarios already created by developers during unit tests, and use them in their testing processes. We understand that developers are expected to pay undivided attention to adding features and functionalities in their apps, yet it is only helpful when they work in collaboration with the QA teams to improve efficiency.