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I am having trouble understanding the role of QA in earlier phases of the SDLC.

The role of QA is obvious in the testing phase, but I can not see how QA should participate before that, especially in the planning, designing, or implementation phases.

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There is definitely a role for QA and, in my experience, makes quality more effective as a while when QA is involved the planning, designing and implementation phases.

Typically, in the design, planning and implementation phases, QA can/should be:

  • Creating a comprehensive test strategy for the feature/enhancement (identifying user scenarios, edge cases, data requirements, etc)
  • Outlining feature acceptance criteria and critical path scenarios with Product Management and Engineering
  • Pushing quality process and best practices with PM and Engineering
  • Collaborating with other stakeholders (Support and Consulting teams) to ensure that as many test scenarios are included in the strategy as possible
  • Learning the implementations (technical implementations) engineering will put in place to ensure system testing is done where needed
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