Quality Assurance (QA) is not a new term for developers
Most know it as an integral part of the software process that is critical to producing quality code. But during the pandemic, with extreme pressure on companies to transform quickly, it’s a discipline that is in danger of being dismissed as a last-minute, check-off exercise by organizations and tech leaders — but at what cost? Many have neglected QA in search of that fast app launch or new digital service, leading to an unwanted surprise or disappointment to the customer if they don’t work.
We all know the old saying, quality over quantity, but when considering software development, CIOs should keep quality over speed in mind. While the rapid production of software is clearly a necessity for business success – be it start-ups running during a pandemic or enterprises keeping pace with these nimble competitors – QA must become more than a forgotten principle for internal IT teams. . To achieve the necessary standards at the required speed, technical leadership must embed QA as a specified requirement of any software project, rather than an afterthought.
Why Quality Assurance is in the Company’s Interest
Quality assurance is about monitoring the software development process and methodology to ensure that the output meets project requirements, as well as industry safety and compliance standards. With QA at its core, companies can gain a better understanding of the status of their product, so they can assess, improve and consistently improve output for better results and know whether the output meets business requirements.
To build a strategy that ensures quality every step of the way, companies need to understand their customers’ needs, the user journey, the expected target markets and how they expect the software to perform. Without this, companies will struggle to not only meet and ensure customer requirements, but also achieve business goals and expectations.
Without QA, it is difficult for companies to assess the functionality of the product or service and it becomes extremely difficult to detect critical defects that become costly to fix once found after production. Poor QA can also lead to several other challenges, including delayed product releases, unsatisfied customers, diminished brand reputation, and increased technical debt.
You know what they say about hiring
In its infancy, software development adopted the best practices used in the hardware/manufacturing industry, which largely relies on assessing quality at the end of the product’s life cycle before release. As a result, much of the technology sector adopted outdated strategies that then became commonplace. In fact, there are still hundreds of CIOs and CTOs I speak to contract QA processes will be an add-on at the end of the software development process.
Lots of technical leads contract they are developers who drive the quality of a software project throughout its life cycle. And this is true to an extent – there are some amazing, talented developers out there! But this perspective can teach bad habits and means that QA is an expectation of developers rather than a specified requirement for the entire project.
That’s because it’s easy to forget that developers are not quality engineers, but in fact two completely separate roles that should work side by side in any digital project. A developer’s role involves writing and maintaining the source code, which usually involves implementing unit and integration testing to ensure that the code meets the requirements. However, they are not involved in performing functional and non-functional testing or reporting defects to the development team.
Stop neglecting quality assurance
Any company embarking on a software-based digital project needs both developers and QA testers, one cannot exist without the other. But technical leaders can struggle to hire both good developer talent and QA engineers, whether it’s because of cost or the lack of skilled workers. Recruitment is a lengthy and costly process, especially when recruiting skills that are already in high demand.
In light of this landscape and coupled with the impact of COVID, which has forced many companies to downsize their internal teams, IT departments are under increasing pressure. This means that processes such as QA, which many companies do not consider a necessity or priority, can be neglected. But putting quality assurance at the heart of the software lifecycle can save time, preventing code from being wiped with errors that eventually come back to be updated.
Ultimately, companies not only have to build software, they also have to improve it and make it work and evolve with its needs and goals. Quality assurance makes this possible.
About the author
Sam Rowlands is co-founder and Community Director at Distributed, which helps companies grow faster and more securely with Elastic teams.
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