Aristotle’s words explain our strapline “Making Quality a Habit.” It’s the best possible summary of our approach to work and informs everything we do with our clients.
But we have a number of other beliefs concerning software quality, why it is important to your business and the mindset you need to deliver it. We’d like to share them with you through our Software Quality Manifesto.
Technology has become increasingly pervasive. You’d be hard pushed to find any company that isn’t reliant on systems to underpin their business processes – processes that go far beyond behind-the-scenes administration of customer interactions. Almost all large companies now directly engage with their customers through systems rather than people, even if this only involves a brochure website. And with so much of your customers’ experience now reliant on technology, the quality of that technology can make or break your reputation.
We believe the overriding responsibility of the QA team is to ensure your customers have a good experience of your technology, protecting your reputation from the damage caused by bad systems. Keeping our focus fixed on this goal holds us steady on the right course as we take the individual decisions and plan our tasks within a project.
It should not just be the aim of a QA and Testing department to find defects; we must seek to track back to the origins of the defect and ensure process or template changes are made to avoid re-occurrence in future. Having the mindset to see defects not as one-off occurrences but as outputs of the process inspires us to improve our process continually, making execution as smooth, fast and low cost as possible. Each time we identify opportunity to improve our process – whether adding steps, making it clearer, or better aligning outputs with dependent processes – we gain payback from every future project.
As well as continually improving your process, we believe you should optimize it to find defects as early as possible. Rather than relying on a Software Test to find and fix all defects introduced during the process, quality gates in the form of walkthroughs, document reviews and static testing should be implemented throughout. This isn’t an exercise in purism; it is the most efficient model for delivering new software. The paper “Achieving Software Quality Using Defect Filters” by Randal Rice introduced the 1: 10: 100 metric, which has since gained general acceptance. This ratio defines the unit cost of finding and fixing a defect, first in requirements, then in a traditional Test phase and finally in Production. In other words, finding and fixing defects requirements in costs 10 times less than waiting to find it in the Test phase, 100 times less than a Production impact.
The benefits are more than purely financial. By eliminating defects early in the lifecycle, your test phase is shorter and less prone to overrun due to quality shocks. This in turn allows for earlier deployments which are more reliable and have less impact on subsequent dependent projects. Finding defects earlier is cheaper and allows you to deliver more reliably.
At Quast we believe in ‘Shift Left’. The term is a great sum-up of these ideas of process focus and early identification to ensure quality is built-in to the product. We always work with a Shift Left mindset and believe this to be the most important role we play in the Software Development Life Cycle.
The QA and Software Testing disciplines exist to assist in the introduction of high quality new technology. We see this as a tremendously important role. Technology is changing our lives for the better, whether it’s aiding communication, furthering knowledge or helping cure diseases. Everyday tasks are made easier. Businesses can now interact with each other and their clients faster, through more channels, and over longer hours than ever before.
With our existence based on aiding the exploitation of new technology, we’re committed to making the best use of technology ourselves, in everything we do. With the great tools now available to make QA and Testing faster, more efficient, more extensive and more reliable, we see it as our obligation to constantly seek to maximize the use of technology in our work.
You are at the heart of your business and so our success is based on helping you achieve what you want to. People first; everything else follows.
At Quast, we are concerned with assuring and testing software to make sure it supports your goals. But to do that effectively, we need to be sure we have a really good understanding of your requirements, and gaining that certainty depends on working closely with your people. It means getting to know what functions they want their systems to perform, how many people will use them, and when they need to be available. Working closely with the people who will be affected by change is the foundation for everything we do.
The key to our company is the people we bring together and the services they deliver. We work hard to make sure we find the right people and then create an environment in which they thrive. We are always seeking to find people passionate about our disciplines, and are committed to supporting them in their engagements, helping them develop, recognising their good work, making their work with us enjoyable, and rewarding them fairly.
We believe that win-win is the only way that works. Healthy, lasting relationships are built on trust. No sneaky stuff!
We want to build great relationships, relationships that benefit you, your customers and us. Our entire mindset is based upon co-operation rather than competition.
Our industry is lucky to have so many outstanding, independent, best practice groups: ISTQB, BCS, SIGiST, the TMMi Foundation. We think they are the best place to go for Best Practice – including Framework, Process and Templates. Because we don’t think any single commercial organisation can assemble the same breadth of thinkers and inputs, you won’t find us offering a Quast Best Practice.
But in order to be applicable across a broad range of circumstances and industries, Best Practices are by nature high level, rather than situation specific. It follows then that Best Practice does not necessarily translate as Your Practice. As a result, when companies talk about adopting best practice, really they should be talking about adapting it to their own situation. This is where we believe we can help. We can help you take Best Practice and apply it to your industry, your targets, your values and your culture.
It is by adapting Best Practices to make them Your Practices, and then Practising, or enacting, them repeatedly, that we believe companies will find true success.