Part 11/11: Test The Quality Of Development With 7 Questions

Blog post series about testing development projects, part 11/11

Articles about planning software testing and managing it.

Point of views:

  • Business critical development projects, where IT plays a strong role.
  • One or more outside vendors.
  • Client’s business personnel as testers. They are business professionals, not software testing professionals.
  • Goals for testing:
    1. Make sure that the implemented solution supports the needs of the business.
    2. Make sure the implementation doesn’t endanger the business

Quality indicators of development

I’ve gathered here a couple of different quality indicators. The focus is supporting business and strategy realization. With these questions, you can test the quality of your development. Choose last 20 changes that have been executed and answer the questions honestly.

1. Did the change help with strategy realization?

As tools develop, making ideas true gets easier and easier. When people get excited, they create great applications. But the question that should be asked more often is: Are we using the funds reserved for development in a way that they support business strategy?

Developing wrong things has two big problems: o Resources are wasted on wrong developments.
o Upkeep of “unnecessary” applications takes resources. All the unnecessary modifications make it difficult to follow development according to strategy.

2. Does the solution support the business?

This is best answered when doing a query inside the business. List all the latest changes and ask the right people to rate the changes. Make sure it’s at least one month after the change implementation, so that the implementation has stabilized.

3. How did the project planning, executing, scheduling turn out?

If there are too many projects going on at the same time, all development is delayed. Do you have the courage to prioritize projects and, when necessary, stop the developments worth less, so that the important things can be finished? What is the payback time of the investments?

4. How much is the technical debt?

Quite often projects are finished on time and on budget. Some of the development planned is not realized. The technical debt sums up all the time, and it’s paid with further development. When thinking about a single project, staying in schedule might be important. But if weeding out is a normal procedure, it means initiating projects is not done with quality.

5. Is the new function actually in use?

If development is slow and not good quality, changes will not be used. Find out, are the latest changes actually in use. For example, are reports being made? Are new applications in use? You might get surprised by the results.

6. How’s the job satisfaction?

What does job satisfaction have to do with quality? A lot, in fact. Motivated workers work more innovative and effective, than dispirited. If the job satisfaction is not good, the quality of development suffers greatly. And if the quality suffers, satisfaction suffers. Take care of people, develop them as well.

7. Are the applications replaced shut down?

Last indicator is managing the applications. If you create new, are the old applications shut down? Is upkeep getting easier or worse? This has straight impact on the development, is it more effective or more expensive?

Is Excel really enough as a tool?

The biggest problem of Excel is that the spreadsheets are so easy to make. “I put all my change requests in Excel and status on one column”. You can solve small problems easily. But managing development as a whole is much more difficult. (Of course there are fine, smart Excel applications for this too).

Does this sound familiar: The development calendar is in one spreadsheet. All the development ideas are divided by areas in their own spreadsheets. Test cases are in their own spreadsheets. All the defects are on multiple spreadsheets and some are in e-mails. Implementation plan’s tasks are in spreadsheets, budget, work hours in spreadsheets… There are actual applications to manage development. They offer the possibility to manage, develop and report. I will happily tell you more, if this is a current issue.

The benefits of developing with quality

Developing with quality and modern tools gives you these benefits: – The solution will support the business development. – Implementations are on time, securing the business. – The technical debt of projects is smaller. – All the functions are actually being used. – The replaced applications can actually be shut down.
– End users will receive an application they can use. The implementation has a positive impact on job satisfaction.

Hurry is not really an excuse. “There’ s never time to do things properly, but there’s always time to do things all over again”.

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