Designing a successful digital product from the ground up requires the right teams, communication, and execution strategies. However, even for organizations with all these requirements in order, producing error-free software is a near impossibility.
Maintaining software quality throughout the duration of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) requires various methodologies and design principles coming together to maximize efficient execution. And while each development project has its own set of demands and scope, certain quality assurance elements can be applied across multiple project types.
Below, we'll cover seven steps you can take to improve your software quality significantly.
Deploy SMART Goals
One way to ensure your software development project stays in alignment with company objectives and meets the needs of your user base is by deploying "SMART" goals.
SMART is a goal-setting framework that includes the following attributes:
Specific or well-defined and meets specified requirements for the user.
Measurable over time and can be monitored for performance.
Attainable means primary stakeholders have bought in and all users have what they require to use the product successfully.
Realistic based on the scope of the project and are achievable based on the functionality of the product.
Timely to the needs of the project ensuring that the progress of the development project is trackable.
Follow The Customer Journey Closely
In software development, your customer journey can be likened to a roadmap you need to follow from start to finish to ensure your product users receive value from the product. Maintaining a clear vision of this mapping throughout the entire SDLC helps development teams visualize the end result of each development phase, ensuring a customer-centric approach to quality assurance.
Customer journey testing ensures you're considering all customer personas when developing your products. This includes customers who have high demands for mobility, those who require certain levels of accessibility, and others who have specific preferences when it comes to application navigation and usability.
Implement a Continuous Testing Strategy
Another way to ensure you're giving your projects the due diligence they need when it comes to quality assurance and software integrity is by deploying a continuous testing strategy.
Continuous testing brings automation to your quality assurance processes by executing regular testing cycles as part of your software delivery pipeline. Continuous testing helps to significantly minimize the chances of releasing products too early and establishes a safety net before product launch that identifies when a product may be too risky to launch or requires additional testing and validation.
Continuous testing allows development teams to create and execute stable test environments that validate test data before it goes through to the next stage of development. This method of end-to-end testing allows for actionable insight at each development stage and results in a high-quality user experience while eliminating redundancies in the development process.
The most successful digital products are produced by teams that know how to communicate effectively. It's easy to say that proper communication is the key to success, but often it's hard to define how this should be accomplished.
Effective communication can take various forms, and there are many different ways this can be accomplished whether your teams operate locally or remotely. Regular strategic planning sessions, project timeline reviews, and team meetings are all great ways to ensure your projects remain on task. It's also important that your company stakeholders stay in the loop on project milestones and are able to inject their thoughts and ideas at relevant stages of the software development process.
Implement User Acceptance Testing
Near the final stage of your software development process, it can be beneficial to deploy UAT (User Acceptance Testing) to ensure your software meets the requirements of your users. When deploying user acceptance testing, organizations arrange for a small group of users to perform specific tasks that highlight the software's functionality. This scenario aims to quickly identify issues in the software that can be addressed before product release or recognize low-impact but lengthy updates that may be needed further down the road.
Focus On Security
One major mistake that many development teams make early in the development process is making security a secondary consideration when it comes to the form and function of their digital products. While strong security protocols in software development projects can start to impact the user experience to a certain degree, it can be detrimental to the project's long-term goals not to have a strong focus on security when building software. Adopting a DevSecOps approach can be a great way to ensure security awareness and goal setting becomes part of your development processes.
Rely On Relevant Metrics
When gauging the reliability and accuracy of your software development process, it's vital to rely on key metrics that help you identify if and when there may be a problem. Depending on the type of project you're planning and executing, you can track any number of relevant metrics. Some of these metrics include:
Lead Time -This measures the time it takes for all phases of a project to meet their completion dates, identifying the total time it takes from the ideation of a product to design.
Velocity -This metric specifically tracks the time it takes for software engineers to develop the product, which can be broken up into stages or measured across the entire length of a project.
Failure and Repair Times -This measures the time it takes to recognize software failure and the time it takes to adjust.
Code Churn -Recognizes the amount of code that has been modified since the beginning of the project.
Active Days -This metric captures the amount of time developers need to spend on creating new software coding.
Developing your digital product from the ground up requires the right team with the right skillsets. However, it also requires careful due diligence when it comes to the quality of your software. By following these seven steps, you'll be better equipped to release a digital product that maximizes user value and minimizes costly software revisions.