Developers and QA teams carry on the process of software development. Here the product becomes a part of the lifestyles of the end-users. The difference between this field with products like cars lies in the fact that once manufactured and dispatched from the factory; a vehicle can be put on display in a showroom, awaiting its test drive. But in the case of digital platforms and applications, the delivery should be incorporated into the delivery process. The date at the end of the development life cycle of the software is essentially the time when the app is launched, instead of the time it joins an IT queue for launch in the future.
Superior delivery of software relies upon an integrated development strategy that consists of software execution, business goals, and core testing for every segment of the build. This strategy saves the time wasted on product calibration at the end of the cycle for the respective customers. This technique takes expertise and planning, with steps like performance testing and QA automation. This article will discuss some of the critical strategies for aligning the delivery and development goals of QA teams.
Understanding the need for Fast Delivery
Gavin Belson, the CEO of Hooli in the popular American TV series Silicon Valley said, “Hooli is about making the world a better place, through minimal message-oriented transport layers.”
Since software and apps are an essential element of our everyday life, the need for a faster release cycle, higher software quality, and security (data security in particular) are highly necessary. Failures in each of these domains are not unheard of, and only the companies that can conform will thrive in this new era.
These impositions on modern software cannot be negotiated and drive a shift in how business is carried out. The software development life cycle is being entirely redesigned by well-established technical organizations, investments in software are being made by enterprises wherein IT was a cost center, and the long-lived challenges are being tackled by solutions from several budding startups in almost every possible field right from healthcare to space.
Hence, the enhancement in software delivery is desired and required by all. The top strategies from even half a decade ago are already old. The trends in innovation and shifts in both technology and the market are difficult to maintain by QA teams. Digital transformation, movement to the cloud, DevOps and DevSecOps are the dominant demands to be tackled by the development and QA teams in the current times.
The Top 10 Strategies
- Selecting the correct goals
Before jumping to strategies, companies need to understand their definition of success. Although each company has a different customer base and different ambitions, they are generally of the following four types:
Fast delivery of software is essential due to the rapid movements of markets. A long delivery cycle disrupts the real-time feedback on the latest features, thus leading to wasted time and money.
Considering the factors of documentation, traceability, and logging in all the information for software delivery processes makes the compilation of audit data easier – whether for security or industrial regulations.
Quality is the most crucial aspect at each step of software development since users remember bad experiences rather than the good ones.
Inefficient processes can often reduce the speed of delivery, leading to problems like maintenance, price of cloud approach, and manual toil.
- Taking a Data-Driven Approach
Once the correct goals are identified, the success needs to be quantified. In the book ‘Accelerate,’ Jez Humble, Gene Kim, and Nicole Forsgren have said that data is the standard and most essential factor of high-performing organizations.
When manufacturing is handled quantitatively, it can unlock sky-high levels of productivity. The productivity of a software team can be calculated via various metrics, but the measurement and proper use of this data can always lead to improvement.
- Using the Agile Approach
The principles used for improving and developing the software development process should also be applied to software. Measurable and manageable goals with quick iterations lead to a more user-responsive system. Feedback is a step that should be incorporated into the constant software delivery process.
- Sourcing Control Process
Since the code is the product, your decisions in the code reviews, branching, and merge processes will affect every operation following source control. The probability of logistical issues and conflicts increases when software developers work on a given codebase.
- Reviewing process
A culture of peer review operates as a quality gate for the supply of feedback and validation of changes. Newer developers get the opportunity of a learning platform with this culture.
- Merging frequently
Delivery speed is significantly slowed down by improper integration and merge conflicts, so enduring branches should be avoided. Trunk-based development is a strategy that enhances the quality and reduces the lead time for production.
Vigorous testing is the backbone of quality software delivery. The majority of application testing is commonly conducted in the QA automation stage of the delivery. Currently, the writing and running of tests are of equal importance, as is writing the application source code, due to incorporating the shift-left strategy in software engineering.
Frequent pushes demand meticulous testing regimes in production. Unit tests and integration tests are performed while bringing together the different segments; functional tests are performed to verify end-user experience compared to the expected results in development.
Automated testing offers numerous benefits and is now being adopted on a large scale. HeadSpin provides the following unique features as part of its AI-testing platform:
- Performance testing
With mobile application performance analysis by HeadSpin, digital experiences can be optimized for users by identifying and resolving problems across applications, devices, and networks; with specific, customized KPIs.The HeadSpin Global Device Infrastructure provides real-world data, and the advanced AI technology can automatically identify issues before they affect users.
HeadSpin offers the Regression Intelligence features of Build-over-Build Regression and Location-to-Location Comparison. With seamless integration into the CI/CD processes and a comparison of user experience KPIs across real devices, issues can be identified for all application builds.
- Continuous Integration and Development
Multiple developers can play a part in one codebase to make a consistent and well-tested end product in Continuous Integration processes. The components of the build process are security testing, unit testing, build/ compilation, dependency management, and packaging.
Security, like testing, is the combined responsibility of everyone, and not just the QA team. From developing source code to managing artifacts and finally the deployment to every environment, security should be a holistic and incorporated process carried out throughout.
Mandatory security testing in CI/CD channels, code analysis, SBOM of Software Bill of Materials management, and properly designed strategies for the release procedure are primary measures every organization can conduct.
- Shifting left
Responsiveness and feedback are predominant in the agile approach. The shifting left refers to handing over the responsibility for all essential aspects of the end product to the software team. For example, the end product will be manifold secure when the groups are conscious of harmful code or dependencies while building the product instead of after completion.
The lesser time spent beforehand on security management, security testing, and code infrastructure, the more the resources are conserved by the business at the end of the day. This leads to more satisfied customers with higher chances of fulfilling the business goals.
- Using the Proper Tools
There are several unique tools available due to the boom in software development currently. Tools like Jenkins, GitLab, and the Jira Board were the pioneers of modern CI/CD solutions and software delivery leading to many other tools that are adept at solving various challenges. The tooling problems other than customer problems can be solved with the right tools and do not always require developer experience.
Today, software solutions can range from Minimum Viable Product or MVP to white gloves solutions to complete product suites. The leading software development organizations make investments in suitable tools for their needs.
- Continuous Improvement
The process of software development is a continuous journey. A company’s success should be measured against the industry as a whole, against the competitors, and specifically, with themselves. Regardless of the experience and creativity of their employees, no organization can solve all their issues at once. Software development should be a holistic process with small amounts of improvement every day.
The lightning-fast delivery of superior software incorporates the correct planning, culture, tools, and strategies for every company – whether it is a budding startup or a successful enterprise. Continuous Delivery, Continuous Integration, security, shifting left, and using the agile approach are essential factors for this goal.
Hello, My name is Shari & I am a writer for the ‘Outlook AppIns’ blog. I’m a CSIT graduate & I’ve been working in the IT industry for 3 years.