For software creators, where software is the foundation of their business, how should software quality be managed and ultimately improved? At XBOSoft, we believe that the best way to begin is by establishing a Test Strategy through a framework approach that encompasses three components: Understand, Evaluate, and Improve.
Testing Strategy 101 – Understand
Most companies today have at some level, a strategy for growing and managing their business. For an organization’s test strategy, they should examine their entire business operations and how that influences the quality of their software product. This entails developing an understanding
of the company’s business processes upon which valuable insight can be gleaned into where software quality actually fits into the business.
During this phase of developing a testing strategy, the organization should determine:
What does quality mean to us as a company?
How does it compare to other corporate objectives in terms of priority?
How do our customers or end-users perceive our product quality?
How do our customers perceive our product quality versus our competitors?
How do we measure software quality?
Answering these questions provides the foundation for understanding software quality within the context of a Company’s business goals.
Testing Strategy 102 – Evaluate
After determining or at least developing an idea of what “quality” means to the business, the next step is to do something about it. The initial evaluation, or starting point, usually requires a basis, and that requires data. This is where the basics of quality assurance and testing come into play. At a minimum, the business needs to figure out what the data will be for determining and assessing “product quality” and then collect this data for analysis of trends. This could be information related to defects, customer complaints, delays in product release, etc.
In developing a Test Strategy, we’ve found the core elements needed for “quality evaluation” include aspects of the following four areas:
Traceability from requirements to features and defects.
Tools to support the process
Reporting and metrics
A key value in having a process in place for evaluating “product quality” is that it can provide warning signs when a change in Testing Strategy may be warranted. Using a comprehensive test management tool such as QMetry for instance, helps you achieve all core elements of quality evaluation.
Testing Strategy 103 – Improve
At this point, the results from the efforts in Testing Strategy 101 and Testing Strategy 102 can be used to provide a “gap analysis”. The “understanding” gleaned in Testing Strategy 101 can be viewed as the goal of where you need to be in terms of software quality.
The “evaluation” in Testing strategy 102, is the baseline of where you are with current quality. In Testing Strategy 103, “Improvement” is the pathway that can be followed to close the gap. From XBOSoft’s experience, systematic software quality improvement can only come through a structured QA and testing program. We’ve found a solid QA and testing foundation can be built with the following components:
Requirements with acceptance criteria and test cases
Test management with traceability from requirements to features, to test criteria, test cases, and defects.
Results reporting and metrics
Tool selection and adoption can be integral to the success of your test strategy. QMetry’s tool stack is aligned to the needs of modern quality assurance teams and the Agile/DevOps principles.
If your business is software, XBOSoft believes investing time and effort into developing a supporting Test Strategy is both pragmatic and valuable. To get on the right track to software quality improvement, XBOSoft’s 3-step methodology of Understand, Evaluate and Improve for developing a Test Strategy has a proven track record in helping companies improve not just the quality of their software, but their overall business and return for shareholders.