Over the years the software industry has developed many solutions to producing quality software to meet business needs. Software, however, is an ever-changing industry, and our tried methods are failing to keep up with modern development practices. Quality Engineering has made waves in the industry for a few years and is often associated with iterative or agile development processes, as a new way of ensuring quality software. How does Quality Engineering fit in to traditional Quality Assurance to get us working software?
By Chris McIntosh, Senior Software Developer
We have all seen the various studies of software development and the causes of failures to deliver on time and cost overruns. The original Chaos report stated that a mere 16.2% of projects finished on time and budget. There have also been numerous studies surrounding the cost of defects and how it varies depending on when in the lifecycle they are discovered. The consensus, first reported on by Barry Boehm in the 80’s, is that the later in the software process a defect is discovered, the more expensive it becomes. There is some debate as to whether or not this is a hard and fast rule, but suffice to say, defects are rarely free to fix. Agile has cropped up to try and address some of these issues. It has certainly helped. A more recent report on software project failures puts it at 50% – 70% of projects are finishing on time and budget, with the projects using more agile techniques in the upper end of the spectrum. Agile practices are successful in reducing the failure rate by, in part, making the team test the development more frequently and elicit requirements more often. This is wholly dependent on your team’s ability to gather, record, and test requirements efficiently.
Here are some simple techniques that you can slowly introduce to decrease the defect rate due to poor requirements.