Best Practices: How to Gain Adoption and Ensure Software Quality

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by Diane Kenyon, VP of Engineering and Operations

Diane picBenjamin Franklin famously stated that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the world of quality software, that analogy may be underestimated. Errors in software development discovered at the release stage are greatly more expensive and difficult to repair than when discovered during the testing and development stages.

While there are no guarantees of perfect success, establishing best practices for development and properly educating your team of those guidelines will significantly reduce the likelihood of errors and diminish their impact. The key lies in making sure everyone knows the rules to the point of being able to quote them, and that each person understands his/her responsibilities within the project. Culture, compliance needs, expectations and risks all go into establishing a framework for success.

Following this structured process for defining and hardening your best practices improves consistent adoption across all team members:

Step 1 — Evaluate your processes and best practices

Work with your team to determine what’s working and what’s not working. Assess the risks and tradeoffs for all steps of the process. Ensure processes are clear and concise for each role. Then update and document your best practices guide.

Step 2 — Define the baseline of best practices for each team

Step 1 generally defines the “ideal process” followed under routine circumstances. Step 2 trims the “ideal process” to those steps that are absolutely required 100% of the time.

  • Define the checks and balances that belong with this set of processes — they become the baseline that may be utilized with appropriate escalation and communication.
  • Document realistic examples of when skipping otherwise routine best practices may be allowed.

Step 3 — Educate the teams on the output of steps 1 and 2

This should be an interactive session to ensure that all questions and concerns are addressed. It is critical that each team member comes away from this step with a complete understanding of your best practices guide, the baseline and the procedures.

Step 4 — Audit what practices are being followed

Establish a timeline to audit processes under routine circumstances. Perform audits on the timeline pulling a sampling of tasks/projects to evaluate. Also, audit against the baseline best practices when exceptions arise. Report your findings and repeat. Continuing to assess and re-educate on best practices will ensure you are achieving the best results.

Best Practices are often talked about, but does your team really understand what they are? Following these 4 steps to adopt and educate help ensure that management, development and QA are all on the same page. Team members can be held accountable to follow them, and perhaps more importantly, will feel more empowered to hold each other and themselves more accountable to the process.

Author: bridge360blog

Software Changes Everything.... Bridge360 improves and develops custom application software. We specialize in solving complex problems at every phase of the software development lifecycle, removing roadblocks to help our clients’ software and applications reach their full potential in any market. The Bridge360 customer base includes software companies and world technology leaders, leading system integrators, federal and state government agencies, and small to enterprise businesses across the globe. Clients spanning industries from legal to healthcare, automotive to energy, and high tech to high fashion count on us to clear a path for success. Bridge360 was founded in 2001 (as Austin Test) and is headquartered in Austin, Texas with offices in Beijing, China.

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