Probably everyone tries to develop as high-quality software products as possible. At first, this task seems very obvious. Nonetheless, during the software development process, it usually becomes a real headache. Thus, to set priorities, which will help to succeed, we would like to share some experience on how to improve software product quality. But first, let’s find out what the software product quality is.
Frankly speaking, there are countless theories and interpretations of what it is and how to achieve it. As for us, the only way to figure out whether it is good or bad - is to find out what the targeted audience thinks of your final project. In other words, the main aspect, which is crucial for understanding the result of your product lies in user experience and partly in user interfaces, or how seamless and friendly it is to the end-user.
One of the main mistakes done by various software companies is the fact, that they usually take care of testing and fixing the occurred bugs, objectifying the product itself. To make it simple, developers usually care more about the metrics, instead of customer satisfaction. We must admit, that this doesn’t mean, that nobody cares about the feedback. Still, it is a common mistake to make the product’s polishing more preference than giving demanded answers and meeting the customer requirements.
Honestly, this path is a little bit of a dead-end. As we already mentioned someday before, there is no such thing as an “ideal product”, i.e. one, that is bug-free. As a result, constantly trying to get rid of all errors will lead to finding new ones. We are not saying, that bug fixing and testing is a bad idea, quite the opposite - we believe it is one of the most important processes to be done on the way to improving your project. Yet, they are not the only option.
We have already mentioned the importance of these aspects. Therefore, here will just briefly summarize the foregoing. Quality assurance, as well as the overall testing stage, are crucial and must be done in any case. Also, they are probably the most well-known and described procedures. As a matter of fact, there are numerous guides and tutorials on “how to perform software testing” and “how to QA various projects”. In other words, these topics are already described in detail, and there is no need to repeat well-known facts. However, if you are looking for more detailed answers - you are welcome to read some of our previous related articles.
Both testing and QA are performed during the software development cycle. It can be manual and/or automated testing, depending on your needs and available resources. Manual testing is not as performative as automated one when we are talking about the technical review of the software project, i.e. various metrics, bug hunting, key performance indicators' efficiency, lines of code reviews, logical errors done during the development phase, etc. Nevertheless, automated tests actually can’t analyze how great the product is for the users. So, for UX/UI testing and improvements, developers are involving QA specialists or professional testers, who are checking and giving feedback on these aspects as a part of the job(it is not the only possible working option).
We would like to highlight separately the bug hunting process. As a matter of fact, we prefer to distinguish bugs from issues. To clarify this statement, we have to explain both terms:
At first, the difference between these terms may be not obvious. Yet, in practice, it becomes more clear.
This distinction allows us to state, that the bug-hunting process itself must be performed with the involvement of humans, who can recognize the opportunity to transform a bug into a brand-new feature of an application. As a result, you will probably be able not only to fix a bug but to increase the variety of options for the audience and will improve the user experience in any case.
There are countless proverbs and sayings in any society, all of which recommend avoiding rushing. So, why shouldn’t you take your time and develop your product step-by-step? Thus, do not underestimate the importance of a correct roadmap. In fact, it will help you track the progress of the software development cycle at any time, make more precise and adequate deadlines, and prepare your quality and product management process plan.
Obviously, we are not encouraging you to always slow down the entire process. On the contrary, we wish you to find a perfect balance between the development pace and quality. If you are able to ensure the high quality of the product without impacting the speed - then don’t.
In other words, pay more attention to the planning stage, especially estimation practices. This helps to better understand the scale of work and available time for full-fledged development. Also, it is very obvious, though, important advice is not to postpone everything until the last moment. Constant work is s much better approach, even if it can be routine and more moderate.
In most cases, a high-quality product can’t be done without a supporting stage, when various updates, extensions, and improvements are being implemented. As we mentioned before, the end-user is the one, who defines whether the software is of good or bad quality. This is why it is highly important to regularly check on the reviews and feedback from your targeted audience.
One of the most common mistakes of developers is the fact, that they sometimes don’t take the feedback seriously, or even argue with the users. Both decisions are incredibly harmful to your product and the company’s reputation. Even if you have created an app, which is bug-free and provides a seamless experience but it lacks features, or won’t meet the expectations of the public - it will be considered as if it was a poor project.
On the contrary, if it is truly unique or important for the users, they can forgive poor optimization and bugs, at least for some time after release. There are numerous examples of such attitudes in various industries. Yet, the most eloquent cases belong to the GameDev sphere.
Therefore, high quality is not always about getting rid of bugs or errors but about satisfying your users. If you managed to succeed in both - congratulations, your product is perfect. However, even in this case, there is at least one “but”.
Supporting and polishing the project is a never-ending process. Yet, there will definitely become a moment, when it is not enough. After some time, customers will eager to see new features and available options to choose from. Thus, it is better to be prepared and have a plan for how to increase the functionality of the product.
First of all, take care of the proposals and asks the audience, to learn what they would like to see in your app, try to improve the user experience, and better optimize the project. If there are no such demands at the moment, you can examine the trends in the market, figure out what additional services your competitors propose, whether there are any innovations in the industry, etc.
For instance, various cryptocurrency marketplaces started developing their own NFT wallets, despite the fact, that there was no actual request from customers. Yet, NFT is a fairly new technology, partly related to cryptocurrency. So, the will to compete with rivals and to adapt to new tech while there is some free time and resources rapidly changed the market. As a result, all newcomers to the cryptocurrency industry are considering NFT wallets as a must-have feature, despite the fact, that only a few years ago it wasn’t.
Nevertheless, don’t rush into adding numerous features to your product, and remember Occam’s Razor principle. To make it simple, try not to overload your product with minor elements. Instead, try to get rid of unneeded and unused functions as much as possible. This will simplify the work of the development team and help to better optimize the project.
Last but not least, work on your corporate policy and quality culture. The better you treat your software team - the better result they will show. No need to explain the overall importance of the corporate policy for each company. Yet, there is one vital and underrated aspect.
As a matter of fact, one of the main purposes of developing your policy is to improve the performance of your employees during all stages of development, create comfortable working conditions, etc. Despite that everyone reminds their team members why it is important to develop high-quality content, but most of their staff don’t actually apply these principles as the main working method.
This is why it is very important to ensure that each worker understands the significance of this paradigm. As a result, make sure that all your employees are responsible and treat each project they are working on as if it was their own. This may seem obvious and naive but it really matters and can significantly change the final result.
Explaining how to improve software product quality is not an easy task, and usually, it is limited to general advice. Actual tutorials and more detailed manuals are similar to family recipes, which are covered with mystery and are transmitted by word of mouth. Clearly, no one will share a precise working testing strategy with the rivals. The one and only actual advice are to examine case studies, be creative, and not be afraid to experiment.
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