Measuring Software Quality Through a Different Lens

How is software quality measured in the world of development? It depends on who you ask, according to Tech Target contributor Robin Goldsmith. On one hand, developers judge quality primarily on the technical capabilities and system specifications of the software. Managers and product leaders have a different perspective, prioritizing the end-user experience and the stability of the software.

But there is often tension in the software life cycle, the source reported. Since developers and product teams each believe that quality is measured in a certain way, they think these standards are being ignored by those on the other end of the process. In reality, both sets of criteria are crucial to the overall success of a project.

Testers, however, can bridge the gap between these two parties, giving them a unique perspective on quality that requires a keen eye for detail and the right software testing tools. Here is a look at some of tips and techniques testers can use to deliver quality measurements that satisfy developers and managers alike.
[INFOGRAPHIC] The Cost of Poor Software Quality

Three dimensions of quality

For a purely objective look at quality, there must first be a clear definition that transcends the boundaries of team and department, allowing everyone to get on the same page when discussing this measurement. According to Goldsmith, there are three dimensions of quality that need to be considered: design, conformance and performance.

  1. Design: Quality of design is all about setting standards for features, functions and capabilities. If requirements aren’t met in this initial phase, the entire project will be thrown off. Setting these specifications, of course, demands input and visibility from managers, developers and testers alike. Strong agile software testing is critically important for such collaboration.
  2. Conformance: When it comes to conformance, production is the priority. This is where adherence to design becomes crucial, and the right conventions are implemented for timely, budget-aligned delivery. Here, metrics such as testing efficiency and effectiveness are useful, as well as agile testing tools that measure these KPIs and properly document all necessary procedures.
  3. Performance: Finally, quality of performance is all about reliability, maintenance and support.

Remember the role of value

Quality is one thing, but stakeholders need to think on a higher level about how their processes — for example, testing methods — factor into the quest for quality. As the TechTarget article pointed out, there is only so much a team can accomplish given their circumstances, which means that team leaders are responsible for empowering staff to the best of their ability.

“[The] amount of quality one receives is governed by available resources, priorities and other constraints,” explained Goldsmith. “Value is the perceived benefit of quality received relative to the costs producing and receiving it.”

With the concept of value in mind, project leaders need to enable their staff members in all areas of development and management with proper procedures, best practices and, of course, the right tools for the job.

Solutions that make a difference

So, what tangible asset can have a positive impact on the quality of design, conformance and performance of a project throughout its life cycle, all while maximizing the value of the final product?

The answer lies in advanced agile software testing tools, designed to maximize the efficiency and accuracy of each phase while making the entire process transparent to other team members and managerial leaders.

As managers discover what software quality truly means and apply these concepts to their own projects, they’ll realize for themselves how important testing software can be in promoting quality across all three elements.

Download our free guide to understanding agile testing methodologies.