IT managers must put quality assurance at the heart of software development

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Whether they’re digital natives or incumbents trying to keep up with them, most businesses understand how crucial software development is in creating products and services. Development processes are key to keeping the customer experience streamlined, but the impact of the pandemic has meant that customers expect better and more sophisticated digital experiences than ever before as their worlds are increasingly online. . With many being forced to turn to online channels to communicate with their favorite brands, software development is firmly in the spotlight.

However, in their rush to make updates to capitalize on rapidly emerging trends, IT teams risk missing some key milestones, including quality assurance (QA).

Developers know that quality assurance is a critical part of any software project, but for many companies it has now become a last-minute, check-off exercise as they strive to increase speed to where they can launch new products and services. Considering how quickly they had to react to the pandemic and its impacts, this is not surprising, but as most now realize, not having QA as a central process in the project lifecycle. can come back to haunt developer teams. In fact, it often lengthens the path to out-of-the-box software development and can put the business and potentially its bottom line at a disadvantage.

The key to avoiding these issues is to ensure that QA is integrated into the entire software development lifecycle. All projects should adopt the mantra “quality over speed”. This means that leaders need to embed QA as a specified core requirement of any project, rather than seeing it as an afterthought.

Quality assurance means customer satisfaction

Quality assurance is the process of monitoring the software development process and methodology to ensure that the result meets project requirements, as well as industry safety and compliance standards. With quality assurance at heart, companies can gain a better understanding of the condition of their product, which allows them to constantly assess, improve and improve its production for better results and whether the production meets business requirements.

In order to develop a strategy to ensure quality at every step, companies must understand their customers’ needs, the user journey, the expected target markets and the expected performance of the software. Without it, businesses will have a hard time meeting and securing customer requirements, business goals, and overall expectations.

Without quality assurance at the heart of project development, it is difficult for companies to assess the true functionality of their product or service as well as to track critical flaws that are expensive to correct once identified in post-production. It can also lead to several other challenges, including delayed product releases, unhappy customers, reduced brand reputation, and increased technical debt.

Be proactive, not reactive

As for traditional industries, such as hardware and manufacturing, the quality of the product is assessed at the end of the production line, most of the time this approach works well. Software development doesn’t work the same way, but still inherited some of these practices from its manual cousins, instead of creating new ones. Ultimately, this means that many companies relying on software-driven processes have worked from outdated strategies that do not meet the needs of the rapidly changing digital world. While many have started to recognize and fix this problem, there are still hundreds of CIOs and CTOs who expect QA processes to be an add-on at the end of the software development process.

QA and developers: a symbiotic relationship

On the other hand, even people in technical leadership positions who understand the importance of quality assurance still believe that developers should drive it in addition to creating the software itself. This is true to some extent – there are some fantastic and talented developers out there! But this prospect can teach bad habits and means that QA becomes a developer expectation rather than a specified baseline requirement for the entire project.

That’s because it’s easy to forget that developers aren’t quality assurance engineers. This is an entirely separate role that should work alongside developers throughout any digital project. The role of a developer involves writing and maintaining the source code, which typically includes implementing unit and integration tests to ensure that the code matches the requirements. However, they are not involved in performing functional and non-functional testing.

QA is also a specialty

For software to work, it must not only be built, but constantly iterated to ensure that it meets the changing nature of today’s customer expectations. To do this, developers and QA testers should be part of the development team from the start to avoid unnecessary delays in getting products to market. Naturally, hiring these additional qualified employees can be difficult, especially in the wake of the pandemic, which has left internal teams and budgets stretched. If you add the long and expensive process of recruiting technical staff, you can see why quality assurance has become a second class citizen in the world of software development.

All of these strengths can represent a battle that many IT managers do not have the resources to wage. The problem is, this regularly means that QA processes are overlooked. However, the sheer scale of development work required by today’s digital business shows that putting quality assurance at the heart of the software lifecycle can actually save time, helping to avoid code with problems. errors to be corrected.

At the end of the day, companies don’t just need to create software, they need to improve and evolve it according to the needs and goals of each company and its customers. Embedding quality assurance as a central element of every development project makes it easier for companies to achieve this.

Nuria Manuel, Technical Quality Assurance Manager, Distributed


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