Quality assurance (QA) is an essential step when working in software development. Without it, bugs, glitches and other oversights can mean the hotly anticipated release of a new version of your software won’t function properly, resulting in the loss of customer confidence and staff morale.
We recently sat down with our Chief Technical Officer, Owen Jones, to find out what has been important when supporting the Research & Development (R&D) teams within our family of companies. He talks us through the importance of QA and how it can be introduced into the development process to ensure a successful software launch.
Why is quality assurance important?
QA is about much more than producing high quality, fault-free software. By identifying errors and areas of improvement early on, it also:
Saves your business time, money and resources
Protects your reputation
Produces a competitive product
Uncovers security vulnerabilities
Improves user experiences
How to effectively implement quality assurance
Introduce it early in the development cycle
You might not be able to complete QA effectively if you bring it in at the tail-end of a project. This is because the time available can often be compressed due to commercial pressures, which can drive the need to release a software update to customers sooner rather than later.
Follow an agile development methodology
Following an agile software development methodology will help to integrate testing into the overall process. Doing so will enable issues to be identified and addressed swiftly during each sprint, which results in a fully tested and working product.
Create a collaborative culture
Collaboration is one of the best attributes of agile practices. In this case, everyone in the team is responsible for the quality of a software release and, as such, means they need to work closely together to deliver products of the highest value.
Review your developer-tester ratio
It’s always tempting to hire developers over testers, even though a good tester, who is a specialist in their field, will be invaluable to your team. They will be on hand to support the team throughout the development process and will help to establish best practices within your company. We recommend a developer-tester ratio of 3:1 to the companies in our group.
Identify quality assurance KPIs
As the adage says: what gets measured gets done. Identify a small group of specific KPIs and focus on what improvements you want to see materialise over time. Examples could include:
Track active defects in the product
Code coverage statistics for automated tests
Regressions identified post-release
These KPIs will help to form part of your team’s SMART goals – e.g. increase code coverage in Module X from 30% to 40% by the end of the year.
Undertake root cause analysis for recurring issues or critical defects
Root cause analysis is an effective way to get to the bottom of a problem and identify methods to prevent future occurrences. Analysis should cover the following areas:
A clear definition of the root cause
The impact of the issue on the business – lost revenue, lost customers etc.
An action plan that needs to be executed over an agreed timeframe to prevent recurrence
With the rapid increase in demand for digital solutions, quality assurance cannot be taken for granted. It ensures your software delivers excellent usability and performance, saves your business time and money, and allows you to stand out in a competitive market.
To find out how Vesta supports our family of software companies, and how we could do the same for you, get in touch.