Software quality is one of the biggest issues potential investors face during a purchase, merger or acquisition.
Given the significant role applications play in any organization, whether it’s a tech company or a service business, investors must be sure that development teams can release quality products.
Assessing quality management systems is vital before agreeing to invest, which is why we cover the discipline in detail as part of our application lifecycle management (ALM) assessment.
In this article, we will explore:
- How good quality management practices let development teams release exceptional products.
- What good quality management systems look like.
- How we examine those processes, people and tools as part of our ALM assessment.
What Is the Impact of Good Quality Management Practices?
Development teams needed continuous feedback and quality checks in order to release applications that meet requirements, get used by customers and solve genuine business needs. That doesn’t happen by accident.
Organizations need systems in place to track code quality throughout the development process, says Bill Clerici, CEO and partner at Kingsmen Software. They also need tools to collect customer feedback about what’s working and what isn’t, and they need people dedicated to supporting applications once they’re up and running.
When these processes, people and tools are in place, the benefits are significant. Good quality management systems will save businesses time and money while ensuring the delivery of a stable product, says Arine Baghdasaryan, research specialist at Fintegro.
They can also lead to higher employee morale and better customer satisfaction, says Sourojit Das, lead assessor at Code Institute. Poor quality products cause more work, lead to more complaints and result in a loss of reputation. Those issues can have a big impact on your team.
The good news for potential investors is that quality management is baked into some of the most common software development methodologies like Agile, Waterfall and Scrum, Alexander S. Gillis at TechTarget writes.
5 Ways to Assess Quality Management
If you want to understand what a business’ quality management systems look like, then it’s essential to analyze all of the processes, people and tools involved.
That’s exactly what our application lifecycle management assessment does by looking at each of those factors in the following five ways.
Metrics and Measurement Management
Development teams should have metrics in place that measure code value, says Gerie Owen, senior test manager at Cubic Transportation Systems. “It's not always straightforward to measure code quality and determine a value, but the right metrics can help teams evaluate test coverage, code complexity and business value.”
When it comes to what to track, Richard Bellairs, product marketing manager at Perforce, recommends measuring five traits to improve quality:
- Reliability, which measures the number of software defects and the availability of software to determine the probability a system will run without failure.
- Maintainability, which measures the size and complexity of the underlying codebase to determine the extent to which software can be maintained.
- Testability, which measures the ability of software ro be tested. Specifically, whether you can control, isolate, observe and automate testing.
- Portability, which measures the extent to which software can be used in different environments.
- Reusability, which measures whether code and other assets can be used again.
The right kind of customer feedback can be transformational to software development work, says Wei Ming, cofounder and COO at MiniTool Software Ltd.
Naturally, customer feedback improves software quality by allowing users to report technical issues they encounter in the real world. But it also improves the efficiency of your development team by filling “the gap in the company’s software development success indicators.”
Customer surveys and reports are the most effective way to generate feedback for developers. This feedback can come in many forms, from in-app surveys and bug reports to feedback surveys when users cancel a subscription or uninstall an application.
Where possible, companies should default to online feedback. This is the fastest and easiest way for customers to offer their thoughts and report issues. It’s one of the cheapest ways for companies to gather feedback, too.
Product Quality Management
Product quality management is a form of quality control that ensures software is fit for purpose, meets project requirements and solves business goals.
Teams should have a process in place that manages quality as soon as work is accepted and right through the development process. This is why systems like work intake management and requirements management are so important.
But a large part of the quality management process should be devoted to the finished product. Teams should have a process for testing every unit of software to ensure that it is functional and meets the requirements outlined at the start.
Process Quality Management
It’s not just the end product that requires a quality management process. Development teams should also be managing the internal quality of their own development and testing systems.
We cannot overstate the importance of improving your development processes to eliminate quality issues. It will cost your company more money to fix bugs found during implementation than to fix bugs found during design. If you adjust your quality management processes to spot bugs earlier, the savings could be substantial.
Teams should run reports at every stage of the quality management process that logs all quality issues and status updates. These reports aren’t only useful for keeping track of testing work but also for defining when testing comes to an end.
While software testing is never finished, development teams should have exit criteria and reports that define when enough is enough. There are a variety of metrics that teams can use to signal this point, including:
- When test case execution reaches 100 percent.
- When all high-priority defects have been resolved.
- When user acceptance testing is complete.
With testing complete, summary and close reports should be created and sent to stakeholders. From there, the team can hold meetings to discuss issues and how development can be improved moving forward.
Improve Quality Management With Kingsmen Software
Assessing a development team’s quality management systems is an important part of our lifecycle application management assessment. We measure teams on the five disciplines above to create a heatmap that allows potential investors to see the current state of their target business.