Lack of quality in your software product can literally kill people!
In February 2003, a major software blunder that ensued at a medical center in Grand Rapids, Michigan cost the lives of 8,500 patients…..well, not really.
In reality, each of those 8500 patients, who had procedures done from October 25 through December 11 of the previous year, were alive and kicking. But, the bug in the hospital’s patient management system, notified social security, patient insurance companies, and the patients themselves, of their “unfortunate” demises. Can you imagine the chaos and the embarrassment?
This is just one instance, errors in software development can take on many forms and happen to even the most successful businesses.
Apple, for instance, had to deal with a major embarrassment in 2012 when it messed up an upgrade to the Apple iOS 6 and released a map app with incorrect maps.
(Don’t miss this epic meme from that fiasco)
Jokes apart, in the ruthless marketplace where constant evolution and reinvention are no longer differentiators but a mandatory trait of any company, blunders like these could literally bury a small business once and for all.
This is also the reason why SMBs are ultra-careful and exactly why they are so skeptical about offshore software development.
But the real challenges are:
- How do you ensure that your offshore team is doing the correct thing (delivering as per expectations)?
- How do you make sure they do things right? (delivering quality)?
This blog entails 4 important factors to consider for ensuring quality in offshore software development and avoid mis-delivery.
Quality Management Systems (QMS) -
As far as the success of a business is concerned, there are several processes and their implementations that make a major difference in its profitability and on customer satisfaction levels on an ongoing basis. Quality management is a major part of this process, and plays a vital role in overall business operations. A QMS typically consists of SOPs, Templates and Guidelines that govern the development of the project.
The guidelines ensure that every team member involved on the project is on the same page and has a crystal-clear view of the quality that is expected. In addition, a QMS enables the organizations to carefully review failure modes at every state, and more importantly, plan to prevent such failures.
Therefore, irrespective of the size of the organization, and whether they have an in-house quality team or not, QMS is a must for all organizations that want to deliver high quality products and excel in satisfying the needs of their customers.
Opting for CMMI level 3 & above companies as outsourcing partners directly assures you of clearly defined, matured processes and quality management systems that deliver high-quality projects.
2. End-to-End Quality Plan -
The traditional approach to testing - finding and fixing defects is a very expensive and time-consuming process. It can easily end up eating into your development time. However, building in quality to evade defects or find them earlier improves the time-to-market and ensures a predictable project delivery.
Yet several small and medium business make the mistake of placing the testing aspect of development on the backburner. When in fact, the best way to go about it is by investing in an end-to-end quality plan that includes -
- A test strategy and plan to ensure high quality product throughout its development
- A well-defined team coding standard and an automated measurement to validate the standards
- Peer-review by internal and external team members, before code commit, to ensure high quality
- Continuous integration and code testing to find potential defects and fix them early when it is least costly
- A review and feedback at the end of each sprint with customer representatives to ensure that the features are fit for its purpose
Moreover, checking for process certifications when opting for an outsourcing partner can determine the fate of your project.
3. Qualifications and Experience of the Testing Team -
The professional qualifications of your outsourcing team are vital in determining the quality of your end product. Certified testers have a wide array of skillsets at hand and a repository of knowledge that can prove extremely beneficial for your project. Opting for qualified, certified and experienced outsourced developers ensures that you are well equipped to succeed in developing a high-quality product.
In addition, a qualified and experienced team understands the purpose, requirements and constraints of the business as well. Short-sighted testers whose sole purpose is to find bugs and go home do no really serve the purpose
Usually, outsourcing companies with a CMMI level 3 & above certification hire qualified testers who are not only well equipped to test the product in an out but are also capable of aligning quality with the end goals of the business. Thereby ensuring great quality.
4. Agile Software Development Methodology -
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
The Agile methodology works exactly on this principle and is therefore is a preferred methodology for development these days.
It works on a continuous improvement principle in which, the agile developers form small, self-organizing teams and produce prototypes as fast as possible, then use customer feedback to refine again and again.
Moreover, Agile touts a stronger connection between developers and testers by urging the teams to begin working together at the very outset of a project. This ensures that everyone is on the same page as far as defining project success and software quality is concerned. This results in a smoother development and testing process, as well as a stronger initial build.
Opting for a partner who is not Agile rips you off with obvious benefits of flexibility for iterations, quick bug fixing and the business-value first approach.
Outsourcing software development works because it empowers small businesses to tackle bigger and more business-centric problems with less overhead and to leverage talent that they may otherwise not be able to afford. But as we saw above, outsourcing to a wrong software development partner can wreck a major havoc. Not only would it affect quality but you may also end up losing a significant customer base.
However. By taking time to find the right software partner who implements the 4 factors mentioned above, you can be certain that both your onshore and offshore teams are working towards delivering a high-quality product.