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What are Quality Attributes in Quality Assurance

As a quality assurance expert, you must understand what quality attributes are and how to prepare a quality attribute scenario. The knowledge will help you further determine whether the final product meets the quality specification of the company and the expectations of the end users. 

But while quality attributes are as critical as any other quality assurance technique, it is not widely popular. This is why in this article, we will discuss what quality attributes are, how to measure them and how to prepare a quality assurance scenario. Let’s jump right into it.

What are quality attributes?

Quality attributes are simply measurable indicators that are used to determine how the product has satisfied the company’s requirements and the customers’ needs. A keyword here is measurable. A good quality attribute must be measurable. In some clime, quality attributes are called non-functional requirements since quality attributes are not necessarily tied to a particular product feature but the generality of the product. 

Quality attributes help the QA tester to measure how the product will be accepted by the end user and other stakeholders. For instance, if a fantastic product is built but it is generally slow, this would drastically affect the quality of the product. 

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The major aim of working with quality attributes is to detect and prevent defects from being deployed into production. 

List of Important Quality Attributes

Some popular quality attributes are discussed below. 

  1. Performance: This measures how the product performs under a given workload. 
  2. 2. Reliability: This measures how often the product works successfully without fail. A reliable product should give acceptable results consistently, irrespective of its working environment and other external conditions.
  3. Usability: This determines how easy it is for users to use your product. A product that is not user-friendly will fail on arrival. Some important things to note here are:
  • Receiving inputs from users, and interpreting results should be easy to understand. 
  • The product should be easy to get used to. 
  • User interface should be as consistent across different pages. 
  1. Portability: This measures how easy and cost effective it is for the product to move to another server. It also checks how stable the product is after some functionality has been moved. 
  2. Efficiency: This simply measures how quick it is for a system to complete a given task. It is one of the most important quality attributes. As a quality assurance expert, you must ensure that the systems do tasks as quickly as possible and without consuming too many resources. 
  3. Maintainability: Products are usually being built upon. You want to ensure that the final product can easily be debugged and tweaked. This is what maintainability measures. It also checks how quick it is to update a given feature over a given period of time. 
  4. Testability: This is closely related to maintainability. It checks how easy it is for a product to be checked for defects, and how debugs can be found. A testable product should be one where debugs are discovered upon testing. 
  5. Reusability: This checks how easy it is for an initial feature to be reused in another product. You do not want to build everything from scratch all the time. By building reasonable systems, features from a previous product can easily be lifted and reused. 
  6. Interoperability: This checks how easy it is for a system to work with other systems. You want to make sure your product can exchange data with other products or web services. This again goes back to reusability. A product that is reusable would typically have great interoperability. 
  7. Integrity: This is another really crucial quality attribute. It checks the security architecture of the product and whether it easily gets compromised in the event of an attack. It also checks how the systems guard against authorized access, information loss, and privacy of data and virus infestation. 

How to work with Quality Attributes. 

Most times, quality attributes are not written. They are more like casual requirements that must still be taken seriously. A project manager does not necessarily need to write on paper that the product must have strong integrity. By simply asking for a prevention from cyberattacks, you know that you must check for the integrity of the product. 

To define a quality attribute, you will need to start by creating a quality attribute scenario. This helps you quantify a given quality attribute. So let’s see how to create a quality assurance attribute. 

You should consider checking for a reputable QA online training to learn how to work with these quality attribute scenarios. 

How to build a Quality Assurance Scenario. 

A quality assurance scenario is typically made of 6 elements:

  1. Source of stimulus: This is the person that is stating and enforcing the non-functional requirement. It could be internal (eg the product manager) or external (eg. the end users). 
  2. Stimulus: This is a situation that is meant to be responded to upon arriving at the system. 
  3. Environment: This is the working situation upon which the stimulus arrived. It could be during normal conditions, heavy traffic or so on. 
  4. Artifact: This is the part of the system that receives the stimulus. Note that the entire system can also receive the stimulus. 
  5. Response: This is the reaction of the artifact to the stimulus.
  6. Response measure: This is the measure of how well the response meets the product requirement. 

Wrapping up

In this article, you have learned how quality attributes are and how to create a quality attribute scenario. This is an important skill for any quality assurance expert. You can learn more by QA certification training.

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