Software isn't just a tool but the soul of any digital device. Moreover, the software comes into place to make your work easy. Good software always ensures that a user should provide as little as much input to do a task. If the software doesn't do that or is too complicated to use, your job as a software designer will fail miserably.
Most users are unaware that everything that runs on their laptop, computer, or smartphone is software. Mobile applications along with operating software are both different kinds of software products.
With new apps coming into the market every day, it's time every software designer and quality analyst ensures that their product really stands out.
According to AppsFlyer, 1 in every 2 apps installed are uninstalled within 30 days. That means you have a really short time period to impress your users before they abandon your app and try something else. So you need to be delivering quality - right from the get-go.
9 Ways to Improve Software Quality
Software is defined by its usability and purpose. A software designer along with a software quality analyst should ensure that each of their products passes the usability test. The next and most crucial step is to ensure that their product ensures quality.
Here are nine methods aimed to provide you with assistance so you can deliver your next project with efficiency and excellence.
Create a workflow
Everyone knows that you can't start a new project without defining a workflow, but most of the time we're rushing to complete the product so much that we completely diverge from the workflow.
A workflow is a process that a company or team uses to get things done. Usually, your tasks go through multiple stages before being completed and, in software development, there are typical phases such as planning, doing, reviewing, and deployment.
Once you’ve made your workflow explicit, you can start looking at inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your process.
- Are some stages in your workflow painstakingly slow, or is work piling up for a certain user or activity?
- Are some tasks repeatedly re-opened after they’ve been marked as done?
Are there lots of “dead tasks”, ie. tasks that were killed before reaching done?
- To make your workflow smoother, you can start with spotting these kinds of anomalies and actively deal with them.
Test your product early and often
To ensure that your product is absolutely defect-free, ensure to run quality analysis from the beginning of the workflow and continue doing the same often throughout the development phase.
Early testing will ensure that any defects do not snowball into large and more complicated issues. A software developer should always remain on top of any problem to ensure the timely and effective completion of the project. It's usual to encounter bugs amidst the process, hence you should be prepared to spot them and effectively deal with them.
A study published in the Journal of Information Technology Management has revealed that the cost to rectify a bug increases roughly 10 times with each passing stage of development.
Clean up your backlog
Don't let your backlog become a junkyard of tasks that never get done! Instead, start filtering the tasks and reassign them priorities so you can move on from your backlog altogether. If some tasks no longer seem relevant, you can outright delete them.
Many developers choose to send the low-priority features and less-important fixes into the backlog board. This habit could eventually become a tendency to keep postponing your work.
Instead, start splitting your backlog into the work that you have committed to doing in the near future. Start a Trello board where you can manage your backlogs into separate "To-Do" lists and get things done.
Put the User First
Karin Dames, Editor of Teal Times pointed out that,
“Quality is essentially about meeting user expectations. Consistently. Reliably. Confidently.”
As a developer of a product, you should keep your user's expectations first. If your UX (User experience) isn't up to the mark, your customer will simply go elsewhere. Smartphone users uninstall 3-4 apps on a daily basis. You don't want to be the next software that they uninstall.
Yoni Svechinskly, Co-founder & CTO of Monald suggests ways to improve UX.
- Does this make sense? - The user journey needs to be clear for the user, at every point everything should work exactly as expected.
- Staging first - Nothing goes straight to the live environment. Any change, big or small, goes first through the staging environment where it gets tested.
- Everybody tests - We have a checklist that everyone must go through for tests. No pushing to production before every person on the team greenlit the release.
Slow down the process
When your development and QA team is rushing to get things done within a tight deadline, the likelihood of technical debt will greatly increase which then will decrease the quality of the product.
Evan Volgas, a Data Productivity Engineer suggests that
If you want to ensure high-quality software, you have to give your engineers time to clean up after features are added. They also need time to orient their thinking around where to focus next.
Communication is Key
Communication does wonder when it comes to working in a team. To improve software quality, it's important that all members of the team have full information through fluid communication channels.
Fluid communication within a team is ensured by keeping all stakeholders in the loop and not isolates any team member. Each member should have the opportunity to provide feedback and should have access to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
The team leader or project manager should ensure that the communication keeps flowing in the team through emails; verbal exchanges, meetings, and each time after the QA submit the quality analysis report.
Have a clear definition of "Done"
The definition of “Done” is the acceptance criteria that ensure that the tasks, once completed, are truly done.
Definition of Done implements a set of rules like
- Feature is implemented
- Unit tests are passing
- Documentation is up-to-date
- Feature is reviewed by QA
- Code is in the master branch
- Code is deployed to production
Once it's marked done, everyone on the team knows exactly what it means and it removes the chances of ambiguity.
This can help resolve backlogs, improve communication within the team, and push the project forward.
It’s always faster to spend a little extra time and complete a task once, rather than having to revisit it several times to make fixes.
Plan for a changeable environment
The outside environment for any software keeps changing. It relies on several different external factors such as web browsers, hardware, libraries, and operating systems.
To ensure that your software keeps with the latest updates and changes, you should consistently monitor it using checks and balances. It is important to acknowledge that software is interdependent on these external factors.
It allows you to have the software quality tested, at each step of the development and post-development stage.
Review, Revise, and Remember
Producing software quality is not a coincidence. This is why you must always do the following three things:
Review – Testing often is a pillar of ensuring software quality. It ensures that standards are continuously met.
Revise – Study what has worked throughout the software process. Utilize what is working and see if innovation can transcend your software quality even further.
Remember – When you deliver quality remember what worked well and did not work well. Keep an updated record of both the positives and negatives of any given project.
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