Statistics show that only 32% of IT projects succeed, and the rest 68% fail. Even if you have a great software idea and start developing it optimistically, you are likely to become part of the unfortunate two-thirds of failing projects. How can you avoid it?
Software quality assurance is often the answer. It is a powerful practice that helps to build your product’s future success all the way through the development process. But before elaborating on it, we’d like to stress a few signs of your project not moving in the right direction.
Why software quality assurance is key
Every software has bugs. Even if a product works well within your development team, it won’t necessarily work well in the users’ hands. Project managers must juggle many balls in the air to keep software development on time and within budget but should never compromise quality to get scalable and appealing products.
Without any exaggeration, quality assurance is the cure for all software diseases. If you ignore it, especially in the early stages of development, you risk having huge troubles go unnoticed. Then you will have two options: either to give up with your product because of the tremendous list of bugs or to pay a lot of money for fixing the bugs.
As a matter of fact, the cost of bug fixing in the stage when you gather technical requirements stands at $100; this cost exceeds $1,500 when you conduct the QA phase, and finally, if you find a bug in production, you should be ready to spend nearly $10,000 on fixing it. That’s why adequate testing made on time can reduce more risks than you think.
What is quality assurance? How does it differ from software testing?
Quality Assurance (QA) is an umbrella term for the concepts of Quality Control and Software Testing. It covers an entire cycle of ensuring quality throughout all stages of software development including operations management. It is a part of quality management focused on providing confidence that software will work as it was supposed to.
Quality Control (QC) refers to specific procedures to verify that software development follows documented requirements.
Software Testing is a narrower direction; it is a set of testing techniques to detect bugs/errors/defects in software. Examples:
- Functional Testing: to check the system for compliance with functional requirements/specifications
- Regression Testing: to ensure that new changes added to code haven’t affected current functionality
- UX / Usability Testing: to check whether a solution is user-friendly
- Compatibility Testing: to verify whether a solution works properly in different environments
- Configuration Testing: to check an application with multiple combinations of software and hardware to find out the optimal configurations
- Integration Testing: to expose faults in the interaction between integrated units
- System Testing: to evaluate the end-to-end system specifications
- Test Automation: to accelerate the testing process by automating test cases
- Security Testing: to check whether it is possible for intruders to attack the system
- Performance Testing: to check an app’s performance
The exact set and sequence of these techniques are selected based on the type of project you are working in (website, mobile app) and the sphere you develop it for (e-commerce, fintech, blockchain).
How you shouldn’t do software testing
All too often, we hear stories that bad testing is the reason why software projects fail. Moreover, launching an application that has not been thoroughly tested can be worse than not finishing the application at all. So how to avoid poor testing that can cause your project’s failure? Here are two main things:
- Testing must be done by QA specialists. Some think that to fix bugs, a developer needs to debug the code and then analyze how it works. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? In fact, a tester is a person who uses a range of testing techniques. True QA specialists possess a certain mindset of a tester (which significantly differs from the developer’s mindset).
- Essential test steps must not be overlooked or skipped. If your QA engineers didn’t plan for iterative testing in active development, it could create unnecessary duplicate work down the line, and this will end up impacting the project timeline.
How you SHOULD do software testing
Here are best practices that we use in Mad Devs:
- Testing is the only way to confirm that the code works
- Testing shows the correct understanding of a task and the right way to complete it
- All corner cases must be covered with tests
2. Observability. We make sure that
- Log quality is sufficient
- The number of metrics is sufficient
- Error reports (Sentry, Datadog, and similar services) are as clean as possible
3. Cost-effective hosting
- We look for cheap and effective infrastructure hosting solutions
- We think about next generations and document code, architecture, and our solutions
- If we see a lack of documentation, we create documentation
Benefits line: Rescuing your project from failure
If you think you have several warning signs that your project may be bound to fail, don’t panic and try to leverage the best practices of software quality assurance. If you are just starting your project and want to approach it as flawlessly as possible, use this article as a starting point for better problem-solving.
Remember: you don’t have to see even one of the red flags to change something for the better. Making software quality assurance a top priority right from the start will make it easier for you to mitigate all the risks and troubles later and avoid spending additional resources on bug fixing when it’s too late.