Best Practices and Management Techniques of Software Quality

October 03, 2018 

Best Practices and Management Techniques of Software Quality

What is Software Quality?

It is the degree to which the correct software produced. Quality software is reasonably bug or defects free, delivered on time and within budget, meets requirements, expectations, and maintainable. Standard ISO 8402-1986 defines quality as “the totality of characteristics and features of a product or service that bears its ability to implied needs or Satisfy stated.” In the original view, quality is hard to describe but can be recognized if it is present.

  • In the user view, quality is fitness for purpose or meeting user’s needs.
  • In the manufacturing view, quality means conformance to process standards.

Key aspects of quality for the customer are -

  • Good design – looks and feel
  • Durable – lasts as long as
  • Consistency
  • Reliable – acceptable level of breakdowns/failure
  • Good functionality
  • Good after sales service
  • Value for money

How Software Quality Works?

Software quality management activities are generally divided up into three core components: quality assurance, quality planning, and quality control.

Quality Assurance

Set up an organized and logical set of organizational processes deciding on software development standards paired with regulatory processes; a better chance to produce high-quality software.

This stage can include -

  • Identifying standards if any used in software development processes.
  • To conduct conventional processes, such as quality reviews.
  • Perform in-process test data recording procedures.
  • Encouraging documentation process standards.

Quality Planning

Quality planning defining the quality attributes associated with the output of the project. How those attributes assessed? Characteristics such as "robustness," "accessibility," and "modularity" attached to the software development project. The quality plan may also address the intended market, critical release dates, quality goals, expected risks, and risk management policy.

Quality Control

The quality control team test and review software to ensure quality assurance processes and standards at both the organizational and project level. In software development firms implement the agile quality approach, a switch to Agile methods from a more formal quality management structure create problems if control procedures aren't appropriately adapted.

Activities include -

  • A follow-up review of software to ensure any required changes detailed in the previous testing addressed.
  • Release testing of software with proper documentation of the testing process
  • Apply software measurement and metrics for assessment.
  • Examine software and associated documentation for non-conformance with standards.

Benefits of Ensuring Software Quality

Some of the benefits of Software quality are -

  • Increased productivity of the development team.
  • Improved Product Quality - Test statistics and defect tracking are more precise and up to date.
  • Decreased re-work costs as the detection of defects are found earlier in software project development life cycle in every stage.
  • Increased confidence levels in existing product management and future product development.
  • Increased credibility as the software produced will be highly qualitative.
  • Saves Money.
  • Inspires Client Confidence.
  • Maintains Great User Experience.
  • Brings In More Profit.
  • Boosts Customer Satisfaction.

Why Software Quality Matters?

For a successful business that develops software, software quality must be the requirement- cannot be an exception. Consider the ways software quality can impact business.

Predictability

Software quality drives predictability. Predictability decreases as re-work grows, and lower quality product increases. Do it once and right, and there will be less variation in productivity, less re-work, and better performance overall. Products get delivered on time. Poor quality is hugely more difficult to manage.

Reputation

A significant, solid reputation is hard to establish and easy to lose, but when the company has it, it’s a powerful business driver. A few mistakes and fame can be gone, creating significant obstacles to sales, and consequently, your bottom line.

Employee Morale

The happiest and productive employees have pride in the work. Enabling employees to build software will drive a higher level of productivity and morale. Inferior products, lots of re-work, unhappy customers and difficulty making deadlines have the opposite effect, leading to a less productive workforce and high turnover.

Customer Satisfaction

A quality product satisfies the customer. A satisfied customer comes back for provides positive referrals. Customer loyalty heavily drives by the quality of the software produced and the service offer. With social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, positive references can spread quickly. Poor quality and dissatisfaction can also rapidly communicate, if not even quicker than the good ones.

Bottom Line

Predictable and productive performance, happy employees, a stellar reputation, and satisfied customers are the formula for a successful software business. It all drives the bottom line. Quality impact various areas of software development projects.


How to Adopt or Use Software Quality?

It’s essential to lower the cost of testing and improve the quality of software. These four points will help to enhance the quality of software and improve testing efficiency.

Test at the right time

By testing earlier, will be able to detect and solve defects rather than having to resolve them at the end of the process. The software bugs identified, the longer and more expensive they are to fix. Involved testers during the requirements and design so they can help formulate a more useful framework. More than 70 percent of issues in a live environment traced back to poor conditions.

Improve testing organization

Implement specific policies to direct a consistent approach like using repeatable industry standard testing processes and training testers within this framework.

Innovation leads to improvement

Do not get stuck in the same old routine – embrace new approaches.

Keep reviewing

Just because specific methods have worked in the past doesn’t mean they always will. Processes of evaluation and refactoring allow the testing team to maximize efficiency by reviewing what worked well. Implement a Cause analysis process which distinguishes whether issues were a ‘testing miss,’ a ‘development miss’ or a ‘requirements or design miss.’ Identify areas for improvement throughout the whole software development process.


Software Quality Assurance Best Practices

 

Let’s list out the best practices for Software Quality -

Measure the Importance of Quality and Plan QA Process

An initial step to prevent future programming errors. Plan for the development approach, high-quality design and code need the involvement of the QA team. To avoid the failure of the quality of the end product, the input and output of the QA process need to be well defined, planned and documented as well.

Analyze Quality Benchmarks

Requirements gathering is an essential part of the development cycle as well as quality assurance. Everything includes the application features, design, functionalities, scalability, reliability, efficiency, usability, etc. to check whether the application will meet the quality benchmarks or not.

Adopt ‘Test Early Test Often’ Principle

Nowadays, we are adopting an agile development approach for faster quality application releases. Hence, it becomes highly essential for the QA teams to ensure the development efforts not dumped. The principle of “Test Early Test Often” will help the QA teams to find the bugs early and often to confirm continuous delivery.

Merge QA & Development Efforts with DevOps

It is highly recommended to merge operations, development, and testing processes with DevOps, To ensure continuous improvement in the end application.

Engage in Continuous Testing

It is a process of performing testing continuously on each (even minor) to check whether each build is successful. If not, we can quickly identify them on time and make necessary changes and again take them into the testing process. A process which each QA teams across the globe need to adopt for continuous delivery of the end product. Continuous testing can be automated.

Utilize Ready-Made Test Frameworks

It is better to utilize the ready-made testing frameworks. It helps the QA teams with appropriately managing end-to-end testing cycles and ensuring continuous integrations and deliveries.

Some more best practices are -

  • Deploy Automated Testing.
  • Choose the Right Test Automation Tool.
  • Report Bugs Effectively.
  • Become a QA Detective.
  • Check for the Available Resources.
  • Allocate Time Appropriately.
  • Ensure Management Transparency.
  • Update Yourself with Market Trends.
  • Share Knowledge Extensively.
  • Always Offer Feedback.
  • Get Prepared for the Challenges.
  • Hire Dedicated QA teams.

Key Software Quality Assurance Tools

New and updated tools continue to proliferate across the software quality spectrum with expanding options in Testing Automation, Performance Testing, mobile testing, Niche testing, bug tracking and more. Here are some favorite software quality tools -

  • Selenium (Web Application Testing)
  • Robot Framework (Acceptance Testing)
  • Appium (Mobile Testing)
  • JMeter (Load Testing)
  • Jenkins (Continuous Testing)
  • Postman/Robot framework (API Testing)
  • Firebug / Firepath (Online Debugging)
  • GitLab (Project & Source Code Hosting)
  • Trello, Wekan board (Defect Tracking & Collaboration)
  • UIAutomator (Galen Framework)
  • Pycharm, Eclipse (Source code Editor), etc.