Quality, some could also say beauty of effective solutions delivery, is in the eye of the beholder but just who the beholder is and exactly what they want can sometimes be lost on the journey from concept to delivery.
Software and solutions delivery is a relatively modern industry with proven methodologies and frameworks designed to support the generalised stages of the software delivery lifecycle.
The Software Delivery Lifecycle
Examples of methodologies and frameworks used to support software and solutions delivery include Agile, RUP (Rational Unified Process) and Waterfall.
Whatever an enterprise’s choice of SDLC methodology and whatever framework is in place there must also be project controls to support the project management function of delivery.
Software and Solutions Delivery via Coordinated Project and SDLC Controls
With a mixture of roles supporting the delivery of software and solutions across an integrated project management and SDLC landscape, there are always challenges to maintaining focus on the needs of the business regarding their definition of quality.
We work in an industry where the application of an SDLC has morphed from supporting delivery of “thick clients” to a world of solutions made up of increasingly complex networks of distributed computing services, including ubiquitous adoption of cloud-based services.
With this complexity it’s not surprising that the quality of software and solutions can sometimes be lost in the process of supporting delivery; it’s a natural question to ask how quality in software and solutions development can be improved against this backdrop.
At IntegrationQA we believe the answer to that comes from enabling business sponsors, and their direct representatives, to understand in business terms what quality dynamics they require in their solution capabilities. To do this we take a business-risk driven approach across functional and non-functional requirements – including requirements the business may initially be unaware of.
The business-risk assessment approach helps to identify areas of focus for quality dynamics in software or solutions delivery and empowers the business to be informed of their appetite for risk and what mitigations (controls) need to be integrated into an SDLC to achieve a level of acceptable risk.
Even if controls are put in place to acceptably mitigate a risk, they are only effective if implemented correctly and kept up to date. For this reason the efficacy of implementing controls needs to be considered via appropriate verification and in some cases on a regular basis. For example, a control to ensure that the usability of a website remains effective set against constant updates to browsers and their associated operating systems should be verified not only at go live but also every 3 to 6 months.
Traditionally, business risk assessments are focused on security based non-functional (quality) requirements but there are also great opportunities to bolster quality in non-functional areas that are not in the security space – such as usability, performance, operability, compatibility, maintainability, reliability and transferability (see ISO 25010).
Championing the concerns and viewpoints of different system users enables quality. There are many categories of a “system user” ranging from a direct client of the business to internal staff (responsible for) maintaining the system supporting the business.
A business-risk assessment driven approach allows for specific focus against relevant areas of quality for each “system user” and challenges a business to consider – in terms they understand – the level of quality they wish to achieve and the complexity and cost of reaching those goals.
For further details of business-risk driven processes and the capabilities in this space offered by IntegrationQA clickhere.