It is estimated that for 2023 worldwide IT spending will be the equivalent of $4.5 trillion . The market growth rate is extremely fast, and software spending is a large part of that. Regardless, users are generally dissatisfied with the condition of computer programs.
This brings the question of how to measure the quality of a software product and improve software quality . ISO/IEC 25010 produced SQuaRE – Software Quality Requirements and Evaluation is a model encompassing a range of standardized characteristics to measure and specify your product against.
To get an insight into improving software quality, you must first understand the fundamental principles behind what constitutes software quality in the first place.
Why improve software product quality?
Coding errors are estimated to 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. Most companies waste approximately 37% of their total software spending.
Improving the work process and product quality 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, such as cybersecurity breaches or infrastructure failures. In many cases, software that is not up to standard ends up unused. Companies worldwide choose to improve their code to enhance performance, save costs, and gain a competitive advantage in their industry.
At Binariks, we have extensive experience in identifying issues with software products and helping our customers improve software quality. We have come to know how software quality impacts companies in practice when working on software solutions for our clients.
Our cases demonstrate the value of quality in any software project. Whether you are an insurtech company with a clear vision of your product or a healthcare platform looking to integrate with software providers in your industry, improving software quality is a must.
What else: software quality management
How to enhance your software quality? Software quality management is the answer. It comprises three aspects outlined below.
Software quality assurance
This feature of management aims 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 the 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 program 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 and one of the most crucial ways to improve software quality.
Two distinct types can be selected:
- White box testing: to test an application's infrastructure and 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.
Binariks revamped a legacy digital product code and innovated the solution.
Auction Platform Code Refactoring
Binariks revamped a legacy digital product code and innovated the solution.
Best practices to improve software product quality
Working on new software and looking for some hints to make it even better? We've collected a handful of practical suggestions to help you out. Building a new program requires high-level management, organization, and planning.
Some of the strategies to improve software quality are:
- Lower your lead time for faster feedback loops
It's not much of a secret, but all successful companies have very short lead times. Shorter lead times allow faster feedback loops between development and testing teams, resulting in developers identifying and addressing issues faster.
As a result, you can catch bugs and defects more quickly. With a shorter lead time, your team also responds faster to changing requirements or customer needs.
- Use automated testing to ensure the highest quality
Automated testing tools help to enhance the testing process and make it more seamless. With tools, you identify errors faster and reduce repetitive, time-consuming tasks that hinder your efforts. As a result of automated testing tools, you get a faster time to market and save money.
- Track security metrics
Tracking security metrics demonstrates rates of development of security responses. Security is an aspect of quality software products that often gets overlooked in the software development process for no good reason.
Data security and breach risks pose a real danger to the confidentiality and integrity of your software. Not improving security features may lead your customers to be vulnerable to attacks, so security metrics are a must.
Growth of software security risks with time, 2010 - 2017, Statista.com
- Start testing early
By running early tests, you can resolve defects as you progress through the development process. Never leave testing till the late stages of development – tests should be run on a regular basis to avoid the accumulation of errors along the way. The more complex the issue, the more expensive it is, so all errors and bugs are best resolved as early as possible.
- Consider independent testing
Testing by independent specialists is one of the approaches to improve software quality that helps you get a clear view of the application. The most reliable way to ensure your testing is top-of-the-line is to seek consultation from a professional. Independent testing helps find more errors and bugs compared to in-house testing.
Polish your code with qualified QA specialists
Polish your code with qualified QA specialists
- Create a quality management plan and stick to it
A quality management plan equips you with a step-by-step roadmap to create quality software products. With it, a project manager gets to set necessary standards and practices and clarify all roles, tools, and responsibilities that are essential to reach the goals. As a result, the team will know what they are doing, and there will be less room for mistakes.
- Have a self-sustaining QA reporting system
A high-quality QA reporting system helps quality engineers get a hold of their current tasks and see the picture clearly. The most important component of the QA reporting system is bug reporting.
The exact implementation of the reporting system is up to you and your team - you can use different software tools, create a dashboard, or a test summary report. Ease of use and clarity are key when deciding what to use.
- Work on communication within the team
Effective communication in the team is what holds all of the aforementioned strategies to improve software quality together. Automated testing, quality management system, and QA reporting system will simply not work without a clear understanding of all processes by every team member.
Elements of good communication include frequent meetings where all issues are discussed, a good team leader, and the ability of every team member to openly address all the practical problems and bottlenecks in their work. The most effective communication strategies are always flexible.
- Ensure effective training
Training employees is the most effective way to improve the software quality by decreasing the probability of people-made mistakes. There are many different components to training, including effective onboarding, mentoring practices between senior and junior specialists, and outside certifications. Training is not just about skills, but about giving employees a clear vision of company and team goals.
- Establish customer product-quality feedback
The final judges of your product are your customers, so listening to what they have to say is one of the most straightforward approaches to improve software quality. User-acceptance testing before launching the products helps to identify new bugs from the user's perspective. After launching the software, you can also use surveys, online reviews, and customer support interactions to improve the product.
KPIs and metrics for software product quality
How to improve software quality? 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. With metrics, you have to prioritize what matters to your project.
Some of the most useful ones that work for many different goals are:
- Lead time: the time it takes for concepts to be expanded and delivered. The shorter the time, the more efficient the product is.
- Team velocity: units of software that can be accomplished in one shoot. The more can be accomplished, the better the productivity.
- Defect density: the number of defects either per line of code or per unit of applications. Calculated as a defect count divided by the size of the software module. The higher the defect density, the lower the quality of the software.
- Test coverage: the metric determines how much of the code is covered by the testing process. The effectiveness of the testing process very much depends on this metric. Test coverage is the number of detected defects divided by predicted defects.
- Application crash rate: the metric is calculated by dividing the application fails by times used. It helps to study how often the application crashes and how it affects user experience. The smaller the value, the better.
- Defect removal efficiency: the relationship between defects discovered by the user after the product’s delivery and the number of defects detected before release. If the software has 100 defects, and 70 of them are identified and resolved, the metric is counted as 70/100 = 70%. The higher the percentage, the better.
- Cyclomatic complexity: a value that signifies the number of linearly autonomous paths in the code. This metric helps to identify the areas of code that are difficult to test.
- Customer satisfaction: naturally, this is a measurement of how satisfied the customers are with the quality of the product. High satisfaction demonstrates high quality.
- Security metrics help identify vulnerabilities in your software and manage risks for customers timely. Some security metrics are the total number of vulnerabilities resolved and the number of security incidents occurring during the given period.
Some mistakes in software development result in situations that even experienced project managers can’t resolve. They pose a big risk to product quality in software engineering. 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.
Finding bottlenecks in product quality improvement
It is not a paradox that bottlenecks in your project occur even when you are actively working on product quality improvement. Many of those result from ignoring the best practices and metrics identified above. Some of the common quality improvement bottlenecks are:
- Ineffective communication: When your developers, testers, management, and customers are not on the same page, the project cannot go anywhere.
- Lack of appropriate training for the project: Improvement stops when there are no necessary skills and a clear vision of how to move forward.
- Misuse of tools: With that many tools available for software improvement, choosing the right ones for the project is a must.
- Wrong allocation of resources: It is important to effectively prioritize tasks and resources within the constraints of your budget.
- Lack of flexibility and resistance to change: It is hard to move forward when any of the stakeholders are unable to adapt to changing goals and new tools.
- Ineffective accountability: Lack of accountability is a critical bottleneck, so clear roles and excellent management are vital components of software improvement.
If you are struggling to overcome existing bottlenecks on the path of software quality improvement, involving a third-party developer or testing team for assistance or feedback can help you get a clearer vision of how to achieve your improvement goals.
Looking to outsource improving software quality to a team of experienced specialists? At Binariks, we have vast experience of developing software quality solutions for customers across industries, including healthcare, education, fintech, insurance, and automotive industry.
We have expertise in software quality improvement at every stage of the product life cycle, whether requirement gathering, development, testing, or continuous improvement of the published software. We work closely with our customers to cater quality improvement solutions to their exact needs. If you are looking to improve the software quality of your product, we are delighted to help.
Software product quality is standardized against a number of criteria to regulate the quality of programs 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 individualized choice of appropriate metrics.