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QA Core for Executives

Mobile Testing Consultants – a Look from the Outside. Part 1

The article by Nadia Knysh was published on RCR Wireless News. You can read the full story here

Launching a new application in the market is always a risky business. The app should respond to user needs, and be innovative and easy to use. Still, through the development and testing processes, engineers often tackle issues that are beyond their expertise. Seeking a beneficial solution, software development companies often decide to engage independent testing consultants on projects.

Today, this trend is exceptionally popular. Independent specialists can take a fresh and unbiased look at the testing processes and improve the entire approach. More importantly, they can and should cover a certain scope of specific testing duties that are unfamiliar to the testing team.

My story of an independent testing specialist started with the role of a mobile testing consultant on a telecom project. I had been working a lot on mobile testing projects, so when a client addressed our company with a request for consulting services, I happened to be the right person to contact.

Our client – a mobile operator – applied an OSS/BSS as a standard system for delivery of telecom services. However, the more easily and quickly users can interact with the services’ provider, the higher their loyalty level and the bigger the target audience. To help accomplish that, the company decided to develop a mobile app.

While OSS/BSS and Web application testing was definitely the development team’s cup of tea, mobile testing was something out of their usual realm. To overcome this pitfall and get moving, a project manager decided to involve an independent specialist – a decision that ended up saving the project. The independent consultant was expected to correct the testing strategy and play the role of “he-knows-everything-about-that” for the team.

The role of the independent mobile testing consultant

It is not a secret that telecom projects are always quite comprehensive. They possess complex business logic and architecture; thus, if the team has shallow knowledge about the system, testing will not succeed. However, for effective management of activities, the consultant does not need to plunge deep into all of the business logic details, which helps to quickly hit the ground.

Still, the consultant cannot forget about those components of the architecture that are integrated with the mobile client. Nothing must be missed. Each and every detail of these components should be thoroughly investigated starting with the structure of databases and ending with communication protocols.

I cannot say that my duties on the project were huge and incomprehensive, mainly because the team had an opportunity to test the administration module independently from the functionality of the mobile client. Still, there was no time to lounge.

But let me give you a better description of what exactly was expected of me. Besides playing the part of the one-to-be-obeyed, I was responsible for delivery of the high-quality application to the users. Meaning I needed to understand and analyze the mobile client’s functions, architecture, specifics, incoming/outgoing calls and messages transferred from the mobile client to the administration module forwards and backwards.

Along with that, I was entitled to develop a number of test scenarios. While the team was in charge of functional scripts, my responsibility lay on those aimed at testing the app on various mobile devices. A bit of team management was also in my hands – tracking the process, working out specific tests, defining the priority of tasks and the team’s efforts, etc.

The process of data transfer between the mobile client and the administration module was one of the most difficult parts of the project. Any of the outside factors, like different mobile networks, level of signal reception, or a switch between modes, could bring damage to the app, and consequently, to the potential clients. Thus, I tried to consider all of these factors and include them in the test cases.

As I was the only one who possessed the unique knowledge about mobile testing, I selected the necessary test utilities and wrote guides that described testing steps along with tools in detail.

Read the second part here.

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