Every business owner wants to see their firm grow, right? Constant progress is like a dream come true for any company. Of course, making it happen is a whole other challenge. And do you know what’s the biggest hurdle in making this dream come true? People are unaware of how they can use resources to ensure steady business growth.
So if you get stuck in a similar situation, conducting a gap analysis is the way to go. The same theory is applicable for testing as well. In this post, we are going to discuss gap analysis in testing. We will also check out why we need gap analysis and how it works with examples. Moreover, this post will help you understand how gap analysis addresses testing shortcomings. And finally, we will discuss how artificial intelligence, the future of testing, will impact gap analysis. So let’s dive right in!
What Is QA Gap Analysis?
Gap analysis is analyzing the space between two states of the company’s system. First is the present system state. The other is the state we expect in the future. To understand this better, think about what the entire QA process is about. The quality assurance team strives to bring the system to an optimum state. This is the expected system state. We can say that this is the height we want our product to reach.
However, the current state of the system tells us where we are. To reach the expected state, we have to cover the space that lies between the two states. This is the “gap” in gap analysis. For instance, suppose that in the current testing phase, the product you are developing has 20 bugs. But the expected bug count is less than five. Gap analysis is the assessment we perform to check the difference between the expected and actual state. We check if some feature is missing or if any requirement is unclear, etc. But why do we need gap analysis? Let’s find out in the next section.
Why Do We Perform Gap Analysis?
The most obvious benefit of gap analysis is that you can easily optimize resources. You can also increase the overall efficiency of tasks once you make gap analysis a part of the workflow. Besides these two, there is one more. We can perform a gap analysis to find specific areas that need improvement.
What’s the first step you should take to improve your testing team’s performance? Identify and fix the problematic areas. Then you are likely to break down the problems into manageable steps. It sounds simple, but when you actually get down to doing this, disassembling chunks of problems can be overwhelming. What would you do in that case? QA gap analysis to the rescue! First, it guides teams to the right steps. Second, it helps them complete the testing life cycle faster!
Now, let’s say you don’t have any problems with the system. Does that mean your performance doesn’t have any scope of improvement? Absolutely not. No matter what, you have to aim for continuous improvement. Gap analysis focuses on different attributes to augment performance. The attributes include productivity, performance level, and employee competency.
How QA Gap Analysis Works
Now that we know what gap analysis is and why we perform it, let’s move on to how it works. Here are the main steps.
Identify Problem-Prone Areas and Goals
Suppose you have made an output target. But for some reason, your team is not able to meet it. So what would you do? The solution is to uncover different causes that lead to not being able to meet goals. The causes may be a lack of requirements or frequent change requests. Once you find the root cause, you need to find a solution for getting rid of obstacles.
Decide on an Expected State of the System
Suppose everything goes according to the plan. Now where do you expect your company to be? In other words, what do you see as a future state of the firm? Thus, establish an ideal future state of the system. In the case of QA, establish new principles like reusing test cases or managing test data. This step will help your team in the long run.
Analyze the Present State In-Depth
Focus on the individual causes that didn’t let you reach the goal. For instance, was there a gap in your team’s automation training? Did you face any issue with the availability of test data or the latest automation tools? The answer to these questions will help you close current gaps and prevent future gaps as well.
Compare the Present and Ideal State
You need to measure how far behind the teams are from the original goal. For instance, suppose your team planned on testing eight modules in a day. But they managed to test only six modules. After comparing both states, quantify the gap and act accordingly.
Make a Plan to Fill the Gaps
Now it’s time to do some damage control. So get to work and make a plan to fix any inefficiencies. For example, if there are any issues in requirement gathering, discuss with the business analyst and decide how to fix it. In this case, include your entire team when you create a plan.
So now we know how gap analysis works in QA. Let’s find out how by analyzing gaps you can deal with testing shortcomings.
How Gap Analysis Addresses Testing Shortcomings
Testing is the most important process in a company, yet in most cases, it’s underrated. In this section, we will take a look at how gap analysis addresses testing shortcomings.
Say No to Missing Changes for Testing
Sometimes the changes in the code can be tricky and not easily visible. What if your developer committed new code for a change request? Is the tester unaware of where exactly the change is? QA gap analysis allows testers to clearly see code changes and work on them. Your team will have documented updates about everything that is happening with the code. Thereby, the chance of missing changes is reduced.
Generate Enhanced Test Reports
As I noted in the previous section, gap analysis enables testers to find and test all code changes. This is beneficial in an agile team where constant change requests keep coming from the client. Thus, your testing team can focus on these and generate better test reports.
Identify Errors Prior to Delivery
To refine software systems, you need to adapt to changing requirements. As we know, in agile development there are going to be a lot of changes in the code. Continuous changes in the source code can give rise to regression errors. Recent changes contribute to a majority of these errors. QA gap analysis combined with efficient testing can help the testing team find these errors much earlier before production.
Avoid Hotfixes After Release
Sometimes software releases with some unaddressed bugs. When we detect a bug after the release, it becomes important to fix it and release an updated version. This can curb the effects of the release to a great extent. But for gap analysis, testers and developers need to work together to find the root cause of a certain problem, reducing communication gaps. As a result, you can eliminate the need for hotfixes.
How Artificial Intelligence Impacts the Future of Gap Analysis
Machine learning and robotic process automation is the current trend. Artificial intelligence (AI) impacts not only development but testing as well. But how can AI help in gap analysis?
Well, when it comes to QA, AI’s job is analyzing test data, test cases, and errors. Once the analysis is complete, AI tries to find a pattern among the errors. Let’s understand it with a real-time example.
Suppose you are the coach of a soccer team. You are greatly disappointed that your team has lost six or seven consecutive matches. What will you ideally do?
- You will watch the recordings of the match.
- After that, you will find your team’s weakness—defense, attack, or goalkeeping.
- If you find that the team lost due to poor defense in most of the matches, voila! You found the “gap.”
AI works in the same manner. It tries to find a pattern among the repetitive issues, and from there it identifies the root cause.
Check out this article to find out more about how AI helps with gap analysis and other QA issues.
In most cases, businesses focus on future risks that can turn out to be harmful. But let’s face it. Sometimes we need to focus on the present state of affairs and take action today. You can’t be reckless while taking action for your company. Gap analysis enables teams to concentrate on the now. In other words, it helps you examine the current scenario. Once you do that, you can align the current state with your company goals.
The bottom line is that gap analysis plays a huge role in streamlining processes in a firm. And we know what that means. Fewer human errors and an overall better output! Robust processes also make the completion of different tasks faster and more efficient. As a result, the return on investment increases. That’s like finding the golden goose for a company owner. So what are you waiting for? Make QA gap analysis a mandatory part of your testing process, and get rid of testing shortcomings.