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Software Quality Management: How does It Work and Best Practices
When it comes to meeting customer expectations and ensuring flawless experience, Software Quality Management (SQM) is essential since it encompasses tasks such as quality assurance, testing, and ongoing enhancement. Through the implementation of quality management, you can deliver software that is dependable, effective, and user-friendly.
Quality management in software is generally summarised as:
- Developers don’t bear the whole responsibility for error codes.
- Testing isn’t a release bottleneck — you’re simply doing it incorrectly.
Thus, to ensure the products are defect-free and fulfil all the quality attributes, testing activities should be done in parallel with the development. Below, the KSM Solutions’ QA Experts have shared the best practices for a well-functioning, comprehensive SQM process.
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Best Practices for Software Quality Management
How does Software Quality Management work?
Before jumping into the tips to optimise the SQM, you should understand its functionality. Generally, SQM activities can be divided into three main components: Quality Assurance, Quality Planning, and Quality Control.
1. Quality Assurance (QA)
In this step, you can establish a well-structured and coherent set of organisational procedures that determine software development standards coupled with regulatory procedures, helping increase the likelihood of generating software of superior quality.
This phase may consist of:
- Identifying any applicable software development standards.
- Executing conventional procedures, such as quality reviews.
- Performing recording procedures for in-process test data.
2. Quality Planning (QP)
This phase concentrates either on business-wide quality management practices or on particular projects. A quality plan at the project level should include:
- Stakeholders' QA roles and responsibilities.
- The requirement specifications and the standards that software should adhere to.
- Relevant categories of testing and test documentation.
- An estimation of the test schedule, costs, and resources needed
- Testing metrics, KPIs, and more.
3. Quality Control (QC)
The quality control team tests and reviews if the product is compliant with quality assurance standards and processes at both the organisational and project level. This component includes both manual and automation testing.
Software QC is more product-oriented and can be started simultaneously with the development process. Corporations should implement Agile quality management since it accelerates the testing process and ensures that defects are identified and resolved early, reducing the cost of rework and improving customer satisfaction.
Best Practices for Software Quality Management
1. Consider Testing Pyramid in Planning Testing Strategy
The testing pyramid is a popular testing approach that represents the relative number of tests that should be created at different levels of the application's architecture. It consists of three layers: unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests. This approach helps to identify defects early in the development cycle, making them easier and less expensive to fix. Additionally, a well-designed testing pyramid can help ensure that software is reliable, stable, and performs well.
- Unit tests: small, fast, and isolated tests that verify the functionality of individual components or units of code. Thousands of unit tests only take roughly minutes to scan through functions, classes, methods or modules. Unit tests don't have to wait till a UI is developed, similar to API testing.
- Integration tests: verify an application’s behaviour with databases, separate services or file systems. They can help to detect defects that occur when multiple components are combined, such as incompatible interfaces or incorrect data exchanges.
- End-to-end tests: placed at the top layer, these tests simulate user behaviour and test the entire application's functionality.
Before end-to-end tests can run, the system-under-test (SUT) needs to reach a certain level of app completeness. This includes clicking on buttons, inputting values and waiting for the app to show the proper data. Thus, automating end-to-end tests is among the heaviest test steps and also costs significant time to run.
2. Automate Regression Testing
Regardless of their criticality, whenever code changes, they will need to be regression-tested. Conducting a regression cycle at the last stage of stabilisation is essential to ensure that previously working features have not been affected when there are development changes.
Teams often encounter time restrictions since the bulk of a team's effort is devoted to testing existing features. Whereas sections that need the greatest human work, such as exploratory testing to identify edge cases, are usually rushed through.
As regression testing involves re-running previously executed test cases, this type of testing is the best candidate for automation testing. Automated test flows allow teams to efficiently identify and select necessary test cases without the need to create new test cases every time. By scheduling test suites to run overnight, teams can receive feedback on what needs to be fixed the next day. This process can save significant time and costs in the long run, allowing testers to focus on more complex and critical tasks.
3. Apply Cloud Test Environments
Cloud testing refers to the practice of using cloud computing resources and infrastructure to carry out software testing activities. This involves leveraging cloud-based platforms and services to perform various types of testing, such as functional testing, performance testing, security testing, and compatibility testing.
Here’s an example of how cloud-based testing fits into Spotify’s DevOps engineering culture:
- Ensuring the new ideas and experimentations of new Spotify features can work effectively across a range of different platforms and devices will need a vast amount of investment in new machines. Cloud test environments solve this by providing a subscription-based approach that allows customers access to a diverse range of devices comprising the newest ones. Therefore, teams only need to wait for the vendor's development team to announce the availability of the environment and can begin testing.
Not only this cloud-based solution is suitable for a complicated, interconnected web music player like Spotify, but also for businesses in the early stages of development and those with tight budgets. Cloud test environments can help reduce costs associated with testing, as they eliminate the need for teams to purchase and maintain their own hardware and software infrastructure for testing purposes.
Cloud solutions, in essence, transform browser, device, and operating system configurations into test environments that can be reused. Some primary highlights of cloud testing include:
- Single-tenant and multi-single deployment of testing applications
- Dynamic scaling to deal with varying amounts of workload
- Test data backup and restoration for disaster recovery
- Cost-free deployment, hosting, infrastructure/ application updates, as well as application support for customers.
4. Emulate the Developer Environments
To protect QA teams and developers from experiencing poor application performance, the QA environment must mimic the development environment. Emulating the developer environment involves creating a testing environment that is identical or similar to the environment in which the software was developed. You may test your code in multiple production scenarios while imitating customer environments as builds go through the development process. The benefits of this include:
- More accurate testing: By testing in an environment that mirrors the developer's environment, testers can more easily identify issues that may occur in the production environment. This can lead to faster identification and resolution of issues, resulting in higher-quality software.
- Enhanced collaboration between development and testing teams: By working in the same environment, developers and testers can more easily communicate issues and work together to resolve them. Hence, bugs can be easily found and resolved.
5. Follow Agile Testing Process
The main goal of a software quality process is to find flaws as soon as possible. The later a defect is discovered in the software development process, the more costly it is to fix. Developers and testers in agile teams do not operate in flexible workspaces. In Agile Testing processes, the testing tasks are split into sprints and is often carried out jointly by developers and testers. Even in an agile process, testers play a crucial role. Automation testing is still at the heart of Agile Development since a consistent and iterative testing process is the surest approach to creating bug-free software.
The Agile testing process for software quality management is designed to be flexible and adaptable, with a focus on collaboration, continuous testing, and delivering high-quality software.
How KMS Solutions Can Help with Software Quality Management?
A Software Quality Management process should be at the centre of each product team since it guarantees timely, high-quality product delivery. The outcome of this procedure has an impact on both a company's reputation and financial performance. Hence, it’s crucial to achieve optimal efficiency in these procedures.
KMS Solutions have helped many clients deliver excellent digital experiences with automated testing processes for web, mobile and desktop apps. With strong digital capabilities and rich expertise in technology, our experienced development team was able to help DescoverMarket to:
- Embraced API and UI automated testing, resulting in higher test coverage and reduced testing cycle
- Adopted JMeter for loading test functional behaviour and measuring performance, further improving load capability while limiting the chance of software issues.
Read more about the case study of Discovermarket here: