How can you measure the quality of software development? Here are the main aspects of it to guide you.
What Are the Key Features of Quality Software Development?
In our modern, increasingly technological world, any business faces a choice: embrace new technology or face extinction — simply because their customers and competitors use it.
The software allows you to automate your business routine, reducing the costs of running a business — you can allocate the saved cost to improve your customer service, invest in better equipment or experts, increase advertising budget, etc. Either way, the software gives you opportunities to do and deliver more — so it’s necessary to stay competitive.
The quality of the software must be high, so the reputation of your company and your brand don’t suffer because of technical mishaps. High-quality software provides consistent, reliable results while helping your employees to stay productive, focused, and keep better track of your customers. The good news is that high-quality software is no longer an unreachable bar that only large companies can afford. Nowadays, almost every business — from a startup to your local dry cleaning — can have top-notch software developed and tailored to their needs.
According to a software development services provider, purrweb.com, product development quality has three aspects: process quality, structural quality, and functional quality. Let’s detail the peculiarities of each.
Process quality describes the quality of how you develop your product. Key aspects of process quality are:
- Timely delivery
Every delay negatively affects the productivity of your business. Create understandable, clear documentation on features you want to see in the software and establish a communication policy that mitigates potential misunderstandings (for instance, people must be comfortable with asking questions about task requirements) to ensure that development will stay within deadlines. Plan in a way that leaves time buffers that can cover potential delays in each sprint.
- Staying within budget
To avoid going over budget, make sure to properly research your value proposition and outline specifications of its translation to the software in a painstakingly detailed way — and allocate money for more work than you think you’ll need. The other way to approach budget planning is to prioritize: don’t go into the development hole and build only essential features at the beginning. Extra ones can always be added later.
- Continuous quality of the delivery
Every aspect of the software must be done meticulously well — the structure of its database, quality of its user interface, and everything in between. Consistency in quality delivery depends mainly on two factors:
- Every member of the development team must be highly qualified. Tasks are usually divided between different team members according to their expertise. All of them must be good experts — as the overall quality of the product is determined by the quality of each element within it.
- They must be good at time management. Make sure to set intermediate goals — that might help avoid procrastination — and check in with your team in a way that doesn’t feel like micromanagement.
Structural quality is the quality of the code itself — and quality of the technical side of the software (as opposed to the quality of its business side.) High-quality code is easy to navigate and use. Therefore, it’s easy to read, edit, and maintain. Good code is less prone to errors and vulnerabilities, and it’s easier to protect it against malicious attacks. It is more efficient, reliable, and secure. Here are the main features of structural quality:
From the perspective of the user, high-quality software must be easy to understand and learn. It should attract users with its functionality while helping them do what they need (expressing the value the software was meant to deliver) in the most efficient way.
Creating software that does not have any bugs is a near-impossible endeavor. However, even if such a program is developed, it will still require maintenance in the future. Technology is moving forward, and you’ll need your software to be compatible with updated hardware, new operational systems, and, in case it’s integrated with other software, like a CRM — with new versions of that software. Maintenance, however, should not require many resources — and its efficiency still highly depends on the initial legibility of the code.
The efficiency of the code determines the time it takes for a program to perform any given task. Keep track of its performance levels: with and without a network connection, on high and low battery levels, on old and new devices, etc. Loading speed is one of the most important factors driving user engagement. Within the web, conversions drop almost by 4.5% by each passing second of the loading time. It wouldn’t be too presumptuous to assume it’s the case for apps as well.
The code must be well-structured and have good integrity to be secure. Usually, developers list all the places in the code that might become a target of a malicious attack and apply additional security measures to them. Then, they poke the code for new vulnerabilities via penetration tests — and patch the newfound holes, too.
Software must work reliably across various platforms and under different conditions, including situations when multiple users are using it simultaneously, when the connection with the server is down, when the network connection is bad, etc. Also, you must have a data backup for emergencies.
Functional quality means that the software correctly performs the tasks it’s intended for. It is ensured by the elements of this checklist:
- All the requirements are met
Good software reflects the business architecture and the meaning you’ve planned to express within it. Your developers must be intimately familiar with the business goals/challenges you’re trying to solve with your app. Also, your software has to comply with the law of all countries where people will use it. Often, these are security requirements that protect the user data under GDPR, financial data, or user’s medical data.
- There are as few defects as possible
It is nearly impossible to have no bugs at all, but striving to produce software that is as close to perfection as possible is essential. Users quickly get annoyed and stop using software that doesn’t meet their standards, is buggy, or is challenging to use.
- Ease of use
The ease of use is determined by how understandable the interface of your software is, how comfortable it is for users to navigate it. Build your app in a way that makes it simple for people to learn what they can do with it and start using it.
How to Implement These Features?
To improve functional quality, you should use manual and automated software testing tools like unit testing and performance testing — also, don’t forget to invite actual people for user testing. People increase structural quality via code refactoring, static/dynamic code analysis, and security tests. Make sure to pay attention to the way you manage your team (good management, f.i., empowers — instead of creating bureaucratic obstacles).
The aspects above are interconnected — make sure you do not compromise one by dropping the other. Connect them in communication with employees, too: linking business priorities of the software and with, for instance, the impact the lack of security might have on these priorities. That will make their work more meaningful, increase their engagement, and motivate them to focus on quality.