Software QA Process: Stages, Setup, Specifics


As a software developer, ensuring your software is of superior quality, bug-free, and meets user requirements, should be a top priority! And that’s where the software QA process comes in. Quality assurance steers your software in the direction of success by helping you achieve all these goals perfectly.

Software Quality Assurance, or SQA, is a process that functions like a filter catching errors and mistakes before they reach the end user. It is an iterative process involving testing, reporting, fixing bugs, and repeating that cycle! The purpose of SQA is to improve your software’s overall quality.  And being a software developer myself, I find this process of trial and error to be the most interesting aspect of software development!

So in this blog, I will decode all the mysteries related to the process of conducting an SQA – stages, setup, and specifics. Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned pro, this blog post will be your go-to guide from now on to ensure your software QA passes with flying colors!

Understanding Software Quality Assurance

What is Quality Assurance (QA) in Software Development?

Software Quality Assurance

When it comes to software development, Quality Assurance (QA) is the process that ensures the final product meets quality requirements.

Among all the software development models, my personal favorite is the Agile methodology which integrates QA throughout the entire process. In this method, software QA runs parallel to the development process, rather than being a separate stage.


How should QA processes be implemented?


“As a developer, I suggest following Agile QA practices for testing code rather than waiting for the final product”


Testing activities best take place when they are run parallel to the overall development process i.e. test your code every time it is committed to the repository; do not wait for the entire software to come together! This is the main difference of Agile with the other methodologies like Waterfall. This process of implementing quality assurance is mostly ideal for software development and is known as executing the QA process in Agile ways.


Software QA Process: Stages

To implement any process, it is important to understand the stages involved first. This is how you effectively manage any project! And the software QA process is no alternative to that.

In this section, I have listed the chronological order of steps that best outline the software QA process for me –

Step – 1   Software Requirement Analysis

Preventing bugs during the requirements design stage is cheaper than fixing them later during testing.

In this stage, QA team defines and analyzes the software requirements to ensure they are all clear and precise.

Step – 2   Planning of Testings

The previous stage provides vital information for test planning like strategy, budget, and timeline.

Now the test plan defines the “types” and “levels” of testing needed. QA team allocates resources and assigns responsibilities to the team accordingly.

Step – 3   Designing Tests

During QA process, the team creates checklists, called test cases, that cover the software requirements. A test case includes steps, conditions, and data to validate the functionality of the software.

While working on QA, I mainly design the test cases in two categories –

i) Exploratory testing, which helps the team design suitable test cases to specific requirements

ii) Automation testing, which creates a staging environment to closely match the development environment

Step – 4   Test Environment Setup

After designing the test cases, we start setting up the test environment. We create an environment resembling the production environment as closely as possible. This is to ensure that the software is tested under similar conditions.

The test environment setup includes –

a) Setup of Test Server

b) Network setup

c) Testing PC setup

d) Bug Reporting

e) Creating Test Data for the Test Environment

Step – 5   Executing Tests and Reporting Bugs

The developers actually start with unit tests, followed by the execution of API and UI tests conducted by QA team. Much similar to the design stage of the QA process –

i) Manual tests are carried out based on predetermined test cases

ii) Automated test frameworks (Selenium, Cypress, Appium, etc.) are carried out to run test scripts and create summary reports

Any bugs found during these two tests are logged in a defect-tracking system. This is a very important step as bug fixing in software development is almost synonymous with software QA itself!

Step – 6   Regression Testing

The bugs found in the previous stage are reported and fixed. After which, QA team tests the functionality of software again. This is to ensure that we do not miss any anomalies!

I, additionally, run regression tests to further verify whether or not the fixes have changed the current state of functionalities.

Step – 7   Improving Release Tests

After developers issue a release notification, my team and I identify the affected functionalities and modify test suites, or simply tests, accordingly.

We also perform smoke tests to ensure stability before running modified test suites and generating a report.

Software QA Process: Setup

My trick for ensuring a seamless QA process is – implementing the whole process in the Agile environment. Using only a few simple methods, you can align the setups of the quality assurance process of your software with Agile development principles! No worries, I have got those simple methods covered as well –

Result Oriented Process

Agile development takes place in small sprints and faster pace.

So, we divide the QA process into small and objective-oriented tasks to fit into this practice.

Transparency-first Approach

In Agile development, transparency is detrimental to success.

We implement transparency by ensuring a clear understanding of software requirements and what to test in each sprint.

Performance-based testing

​​The agile method reviews everything every time a sprint is completed, rather than waiting for the entire project to come together!

We also do not delay testing until the end of the development, and instead, perform testing after every little task or sprint to catch issues early.

DevOps Integration

We implement DevOps methodology using Agile ways to streamline the software development process. But its stellar factor is really how it eliminates any conflict between us and the development team.


Software QA Process: Specifics

Now that you are ready to take on the challenge of Software QA all by yourself, let’s have a quick walkthrough on the specifications related to Software QA!

Software QA Process: Tools

Miro: Create a mindmap for the project to understand how the software should work and test it accordingly

Google Docs: Store project documentation such as test plans, checklists, and test data i.e. except test cases

TestRail: Store test cases in a simple and easy-to-use tool

Zeplin: Receive design docs from designers

Jira: Bug-tracking tool with different tickets for the project

Insomnia Postman API Network: Test APIs

Selenium: Tools for automation testing


Software QA Process: Methodologies

Software Quality Defect Management Method

This method involves tracking and categorizing bugs based on their severity, with the help of metrics and control charts.

Software Quality Attribute Method

This method analyzes a software’s performance based on five parameters – reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability.

Software QA Process: Techniques

Reviewing: stakeholders meet to review the project and measure the quality of the software

Auditing: inspection of software and data to check if it follows standard processes

Functional Testing: testing the functionality of software and how it works

Code Inspection: formal review to find defects in the code

Stress Testing: checking how software works under extreme conditions

Design Inspection: checklist-based inspection of different areas of software

Software QA Process: Components

Pre-Project: Project strategy, timelines, and budget

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC): Code reviewing, testing, and maintenance

Infrastructural: Training, configuration, and preventive measures

Management: Metrics, cost control, and managerial involvement

Standardization and Certification: Quality system alignment

Software Quality Assurance

Key Takeaways

✔️  Effective flow of QA stages: Requirement analysis, Test planning, Test design, Test execution, Test environment setup, Bug reporting, Retesting, and Improving release tests.

✔️  Agile development is a more efficient approach to implementing quality assurance for software.

✔️  Various methodologies and techniques can be implemented in software development QA.


Just like a purposeful umbrella, SQA covers your entire project from start to finish, while protecting your software from getting caught in the rain. So take the first step towards creating high-quality software and start implementing software QA in your projects from today!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the steps in the QA process?

The steps in the QA process typically include –

i) Analyzing requirements

ii) Planning tests

iii) Designing test cases

iv) Creating test environment

v) Executing tests

vi) Tracking and reporting issues

vii) Improving results

2. What tools are used in quality assurance?

Some common tools used in software QA include Jira, Zeplin, Selenium, Cypress, and Appium.

3. How does the QA team measure software quality?

By executing test cases and validating the software against predetermined requirements.

4. What are quality assurance techniques?

Techniques used in software QA include manual testing, exploratory testing, regression testing, and acceptance testing.