Clients are more demanding than ever before, since it's so easy now to look up exactly how a company's product or service performs and if it's even worth the money. The internet has put this information at the fingertips of your customers, so it's vital that your business has a robust quality assurance program in place.

In addition to helping your company meet the expectations of its clients, a quality assurance program also improves efficiency as it makes it easier to understand which work processes are not performing well and need to be changed. Small gains achieved by this compound over time and have the potential to make a significant impact on your business.

The role of quality assurance in software development

The software development life cycle can be best described as a methodology that includes clearly defined processes that lead to the creation of high-quality software. Professional developers take quality assurance in software very seriously, they think of it as a core component of their development plan.

People who work in these roles are commonly called "testers" and their entire job is to ensure that the deliverable meets the client's quality requirements. Workers in the quality assurance role are tasked with making sure that quality is not sacrificed in the development process just to meet deadlines or to complete objectives.

It's also during this stage that the developer verifies that the software can do exactly what the customer needs it to do. A test plan is created and the software is put through a variety of test cases. This is done to verify that no unexplained errors exist in the system, that it's bug free and ready to be deployed across the client's systems.

A solid quality assurance plan helps build the company's credibility as well. Clients know that their work is being done with the utmost care and dedication. This builds a relationship of trust between the client and the developer that can often result in repeat business.

Quality assurance is an absolute necessity because it's impossible for software to be declared ready for delivery because no bugs were found throughout the entire development process. It just doesn't work that way. Sure, some of the bugs can be insignificant, but that's all the more reason to run the quality assurance gauntlet.

Where it fits in the software development life cycle:

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board, an organization that offers a standardized qualification for software testers, defines quality assurance as "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled."

The scope of quality assurance in the software development life cycle is actually quite broad. It's not merely limited to software testing. Quality assurance is a core component of the entire software development life cycle. The idea here is to ensure that all of the development and maintenance processes are and remain in sync with the clients’ wishes.

Continuous improvement in the processes can't be possible unless there's no quality assurance which identifies where the weaknesses lie. they can then be corrected to ensure compliance with defined standards. These standards can be one or a combination of multiple standards like ISO15504, ISO 9000, CMMI model and more.

What important services do quality assurance professionals provide?

Product management is one of the most important services that software quality assurance professionals provide. They conduct regular reviews of software to find out how its functionality can be enhanced. That feedback is then relayed to the development team for action.

Quality assurance professionals also perform the vital task of managing the customer experience. The inherent nature of their job is to be myopically focused on customers and users so they're in a position to view things from the customers' point of view. This gives them a unique perspective on fixing user-facing issues.

Collaboration with the product development team is also vital to ensuring consistent project execution. These professionals can assist with the identification of KPIs for product quality and offer advice on how to achieve them.

Quality assurance isn't just a box that needs to be ticked at the end of the software development lifecycle. It needs to be an ongoing exercise so that continuous improvements can be made to achieve better customer satisfaction. People in this role can also help create and manage the overall quality planning strategy.

Software testing for custom app development -- what happens?

Software testing is carried out on custom apps to find out if they meet the required security, usability and functionality standards as set out by the client. Therefore, the custom software is put through its paces so that there are no surprises when it's finally deployed.

There are four key testing stages that custom software goes through:

  • Unit Testing

A unit is defined as the smallest testable part of a software. Unit testing is the first stage of a software quality assurance program. It's carried out to find out if all or specific units of the custom app are fully functional as desired.

Unit testing gives developers a more granular view of how their code is performing. It’s normally considered to be a part of the programming phase since the programmer who wrote the code will normally perform unit testing themselves.

This stage can be run every single time a piece of code is changed. It allows the developers to resolve any issues that may arise fairly quickly. Developers tend to perform unit tests before even giving the software to testers for a more formal test.

  • Integration Testing

Integration testing involves combining all of the individual units into a program in order to test them collectively. This is done to find out if there are any interface defects between all of the different modules and functions of the custom app.

It doesn't matter how efficiently each individual unit performs because if it isn't properly integrated with other units, the overall functionality of the app is negatively impacted.

This is a very crucial stage in the quality assurance process. There are multiple approaches to performing integration testing but the end goal always is to check data communication between all of the different units of the custom app.

  • System Testing

At the system testing stage, the completed application is tested as a single unit. This is done to evaluate if all of the requirements have been compiled properly and if the end result meets all of the quality standards.

This task is performed by testers who haven't participated in the actual development of the app. It's at this stage that it's discovered whether or not the app meets all of the functional and technical requirements given by the customer.

Not only the design is evaluated in system testing but the behavior as well. When this test is carried out, it's usually intended to test up to and often beyond what the expectations and hardware or software requirements are.

  • Acceptance Testing

This is the final stage of the software testing for a custom app. It's performed to figure out if the custom software is ready to be released. Once the testing proves that the app meets all of the requirements and the intended needs of the user, only then can it be released.

Depending on the nature of the custom app, certain acceptance criteria might be set by the customer. The criteria might include data integrity, data conversion, performance, usability and scalability.

This is also the point at which the customer decides if the product is a Go or a No-Go. The developer has to follow the customer's lead on this and if the latter feels the software needs more work, the developer must go back and bring up the software to the customer's expectations.

Find the right custom software development team.

Working with a professional software development team will give you the peace of mind that all of these crucial processes are being strictly followed and that there won’t be any unwanted surprises when the deliverable is ready.

The team at Zibtek fits that profile. Zibtek is one of the leading software development companies in the world and has worked with both startups and fortune 500s alike. Zibtek's team of experienced developers can help with everything from enterprise app to custom CRM development, iOS, Android and cross-platform solutions, UI/UX design and more.

The development team is backed by highly skilled quality assurance experts that execute robust testing processes, optimize the software development lifecycle and immensely increase the product quality.

Only a full-service developer of custom software solutions can provide this level of service. While it may often seem appealing to outsource these tasks to overseas firms, the lack of oversight may result in the deliverables not being up to your expectations.

Zibtek is based in the United States with offices in Salt Lake City. It also has a global network of experienced developers that’s managed from the US as well. Contact the team at Zibtek to find out how they can ensure optimal quality assurance for your custom app.