Sebastian Belle
Dec 5, 2018 · 6 min read

Striving for quality

As a significant part of a company’s reputation is based on the quality of the software that is shipped or deployed to production, release managers or quality managers bear the responsibility of ensuring that bad quality doesn’t have a negative impact. Ensuring the quality of many software artefacts at once can be a demanding and complex task, and they keep in mind a series of important principles as they seek to ensure a good standard in the software being produced:

  • Is all software ready for a punctual shipment, and is it of an appropriate standard of quality?
  • Does the overall release quality evolve, and if so, how?
  • Are there negative trends that might affect the next shipment in terms of quality and time to market?
  • Where exactly do quality deficits emerge in the code?
  • What exactly will be delivered with the next release, and will it include all the promised features?

When it comes to approaching these principles, the key to truly understanding potential quality issues in software artefacts lies in having full transparency over the quality of the built software. Gaining such an overview isn’t so simple, and can only be achieved by an automated integration into the CI system that allows engineers to collect data every time the software artefact is built; gathering this data manually isn’t possible with today’s continuous integration or deployment methodologies. Release managers are responsible for reviewing builds that are possible candidates for shipment according to the quality standards and identifying the best candidate amongst these builds, minimising the risk of shipping faulty software artefacts. Seerene’s new Releases feature provides a manager with the transparency that they need to handle frequently urgent responsibilities, providing a series of clear steps that they can take to ease the pressure of ensuring that software is of an adequate quality.

Although it’s possible to automate the process of identifying suitable builds, especially given the fact that automated quality gates are steadily becoming common practice, it’s better to identify builds by performing trend analysis of quality KPIs, ensuring that every choice has been informed by powerful insights. Close analysis allows managers to see and evaluate the general quality issues affecting shipment, helping them make important overall changes that can ensure that issues are both being tackled and prevented from reoccurring. At the same time, monitoring the evolution of KPIs across shipped versions reveals the effect of quality initiatives and regulations, or indeed the lack thereof. This invaluable degree of transparency over the quality of previously-shipped and future software artefacts gives release managers real agency over negative trends, informing them of issues ahead of time to allow them to deliver their software accurately, and on-time.

Sorting Apples from Oranges

Analysing every single build within a series of software artefacts produces a tremendously valuable data pool, which can be drawn upon to differentiate between and classify builds. This eases the situation where a manager must separate builds that aren’t necessarily suitable for shipment, which had been built quickly as a brief and simple means of testing the latest changes within the codebase. The Releases feature not only provides data according to each build, but also allows the user to observe the general evolution and subsequently identify outliers.

Version-by-version evolution of quality KPIs. Identify the general trend of the shipped software artefact quality

Following these insights, a manager can easily narrow down the scope of candidates showing the best quality, and investigate their quality KPIs in greater detail.

Reviewing the quality KPIs in detail allows you to decide on whether the latest build should be shipped as a version, or whether it’s best to refrain from shipping it due to how it might perform poorly. Signing this build as shippable version can be done easily in the Releases product, in a process that resembles the sorting between apples and oranges of software. It’s possible to automate this selection process, providing that the organisation has an automated quality gate or another means of selecting suitable builds for shipment in place. Seerene Releases caters to this need by supporting a fully automated release process, which signs off those builds selected by the quality gates as the latest version of the software artefact.

Use the overall quality information to decide if a build is a shippable Version

Comparing between apples

When you’re responsible for the quality of your shipped software, you require the appropriate information that allows you to understand the underlying dynamics in the evolution of quality KPIs, which serves to indicate flaws. Filtering your data to show shipped versions only reveals how these trends are behaving at present; with Releases, you experience the full transparency needed to identify software that was shipped prematurely, as the platform measures it in respect to your past quality standards and highlights positive trends in your quality initiatives. The transparency provided by the analytics of Seerene Releases makes an invaluable addition to CI/CD systems, which would not normally possess the necessary analytical tools for this stage of evaluating different builds.

A good example consists of embedded software in the automotive industry, where software artefacts have the highest demands on quality and fault tolerance. For example, it’s of the highest importance to avoid releasing faulty cars, where problems like failures in the distance control system that triggers breaks can cause accidents, and a terrible reputation for the company. Releases supports a wide range of quality metrics, including those defined by the MISRA standard (https://www.misra.org.uk) up to the latest MISRA C:2012 and MISRA C++:2008 as well as the full set of HIS metrics (Herstellerinitiative Software). The product allows you the much sought-after transparency over the evolution of your quality, ensuring that you meet your clients’ expectations on every level.

Identify negative outliers, take actions to overcome quality degradation and monitor the improvement of your quality KPIs over time

Noticing these trends is essential for steering improvements effectively, and for reviewing their effects on your products. After all, striving for excellence always depends upon an ability to learn from the past, which can inform you on how you might improve as you move into the future. Releases allows you to make use of all your data and exploit all of its findings to not only review the quality of your recent builds, but really learn from every project past and future to gain a wide awareness of your company’s performance through time.

The power of Releases

The value of the Releases feature becomes clear as soon as Seerene integrates into your CI systems, as you begin monitoring your builds and receive the essential transparency needed to take decisive action over the quality of software being built. Discover how a new level of insight allows for informed decisions on which builds are suitable for shipment, and identify negative trends in the evolution of your quality KPIs to address issues before they affect your shipment, and ultimately your reputation. Spot interdependencies between quality KPIs to zone in on the root cause of negative trends, define suitable countermeasures to overcome them, and integrate a stable, data-driven approach that ensures premium quality for your entire range of software artefacts.

When it comes to judging the standard in built software, the true quality of the product should never be measured in retrospect; managers should stand equipped and able to judge the quality of software before it’s released, preventing disappointment among those waiting on this release. The new Releases feature in Seerene places the power of insight and informed decision back in managers’ hands, and allows them to match all the goals that aim to tailor the software organisation’s success.

To find out more, head to seerene.com and discover how you can ensure full accuracy for your software shipments.

Seerene

End-to-end analytics to improve the speed, standard and cost-effectiveness of software development.

Sebastian Belle

Written by

Seerene

Seerene

End-to-end analytics to improve the speed, standard and cost-effectiveness of software development.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade