It is estimated that for 2018 worldwide user spending on software will be the equivalent of 288.8 billion US dollars, and the market growth rate is extremely fast. Regardless, users are generally dissatisfied with the condition of computer programs. To get an insight into why this is happening and how to change it, you have to first build an understanding of the principles behind software quality.
What is Software Product Quality?
The most common description of quality relating to software is the extent to which a system fulfills stated demands of stakeholders, contributing to a product’s value.
This brings the question of how to measure the quality of a software product. ISO/IEC 25010 produced SQuaRE – Software Quality Requirements and Evaluation. It is a model that encompasses a range of standardised characteristics to measure and specify your product against.
The SQuaRE model involves 8 components:
- Functional stability;
- Performance efficiency;
Why Improve Software Product Quality?
It is estimated that coding errors account for more than 100 billion US dollars wasted annually. It costs 6 times as much to fix a bug after the product release than during its development.
Improving the work process and the quality of product benefits the firm economically and increases its popularity. Such enhancements can help to avoid the emergence of massive numbers of programming mistakes that in some cases may lead to fatal outcomes.
Software Quality Management
Software quality management is the answer when the question of how to improve software quality of the product is posed. It comprises three aspects outlined below.
Software Quality Assurance
This feature of management is aimed to secure the attributes of the engineering process. It includes project and configuration management, evaluation of requirements and estimation, software design and testing.
Once carried out, instabilities in the software are to be identified and corrected according to ISO norms.
Software Quality Control
SQC is the means of monitoring the advancement of a project to ensure adoption of SQA procedures. This ensures that future results will meet the goals and customer requests.
The most widely used and reliable way to do that is by quality reviews, performed by a crew that tests parts of the programme for bugs and reports results to the author for corrections.
Software Quality Testing
Testing is the stage of software development meant to help identify and eliminate errors in the code. It is the terminal stage of controlling quality in software quality management.
Two distinct types can be selected:
- White box testing: to test the infrastructure of an application, reinforce design and security systems.
- Black box testing: specification based, done “blind-eyed” – without the knowledge of internal code.
Both types are essential for decent execution. Black box testing allows independent consideration of the code from a user’s perspective. White box testing involves unit, integration and system testing, and is more thorough and exposing.
Metrics to Determine Software Product Quality
How to improve quality of a software product? First, you have to know the metrics that you’re going to consider. Different development teams will have to apply different metrics to their work, as each specific project sees individual parameters.
Some of the most useful ones:
- Lead time: the time it takes for concepts to be expanded and delivered.
- Team velocity: units of software that can be accomplished in one shoot.
- Application crash rate: results by dividing the application fails by times it’s used. The smaller the value, the better.
- Doneness – how much of a sprint is finished.
- Defect removal efficiency: the relationship between defects discovered by the user after the product’s delivery and the number of defects detected before release.
- Cyclomatic complexity: a value that signifies the number of linearly autonomous paths in the code.
Best Practices to Improve Software Product Quality
Building a new programme requires high level management, organisation and planning.
Some of the best methods to improve the quality of your product:
- Lower your lead time. All successful companies have very short lead times.
- Make sure you employ the highest quality testing. Here are some testing tools that you might find useful.
- The most reliable way to make sure your testing is top of the line is to seek consultation by a professional.
- Never leave testing till late stages of development – tests should be run on a regular basis to avoid accumulation of errors along the way.
- Track security metrics. This demonstrates rates of development of security responses.
Mistakes to Avoid
Some mistakes in software development result in situations that can’t be resolved even by experienced project managers. Be sure to avoid the following:
- Fixing the budget before you comprehend the project fully.
- Not monitoring your software. Set up an alert to signal when something goes wrong.
- Skipping research. Jumping to conclusions will most likely delay project development later.
- Rigid software. You need your software to be malleable and easy to maintain.
- Not making the big picture clear. Knowing how all the pieces of code fit together helps to structure work efficiently.
Tips to Improve Software Product Quality
Currently working on a new software and looking for some hints to make it even better? We’ve collected a handful of practical suggestions to help you out.
- Start testing early. By running early tests you can resolve defects as you progress through the development process.
- Have your code reviewed by other programmers.
- Consider testing by independent specialists to get a clear view on the application.
- Build models to have better measurement of your project.
- Create self-sustaining reporting channels for quality assurance.
- Establish product-quality feedback.
Software product quality is standardised against a number of criteria to regulate the quality of programmes released. It is important to work thoroughly on this characteristic to eliminate coding errors and avoid drastic financial losses that will follow if too many bugs are discovered after delivery. This is mainly done through thorough testing during the entire process of development, peer review and individualised choice of appropriate metrics.