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Is Quality Baked into Your Software Application?

Is Quality Baked into Your Application?

Many software development companies advertise their integration of Quality Assurance (QA) into their workflows but fail to explain how they go about it.

You’ve probably seen claims like, “We invite QA team members to all meetings.” But what does that really translate to in terms of quality?

At Frogslayer, there’s recently been a revived emphasis on strengthening QA involvement early in the development lifecycle. Something we refer to as ‘shifting left.’

This shift doesn’t just add quality to the mix; it integrates it into the core of our development process. In doing so, we’re enthusiastically supported by the entire agile team and can deliver high-quality outcomes that exceed client expectations.

This blog outlines three approaches we use here at Frogslayer to bake quality into our software applications from the start.

VDP (Validation, Design, and Planning) 

At Frogslayer, many times, our engagements with a new or potential client begin with a Validation, Design, & Planning (VDP) workshop—a process that helps guide our clients early in the project life cycle. 

Throughout the VDP, we collaborate with our clients to create a clear vision, pinpoint the business value, explore users’ needs, map out necessary features, plan the technical bits, and more. Here, Quality Assurance (QA) plays a crucial role, actively contributing to discussion rather than just observing.  

Anyone who follows the old “1-10-100” wisdom (and we all should; that’s the concept at the core of the “shift left” principle) knows that even a single question during the VDP could potentially head off numerous defects later.  

The VDP not only lays the groundwork for the project but also establishes the solution’s design. It mines business, technical, and cultural insights from the client. Here, QA assumes one of the most critical roles—acting as the project’s first user and the client’s advocate. This unique perspective allows QA to voice any potential reservations, ensuring the project’s direction aligns closely with the client’s expectations from the outset. 

Having Quality Assurance involved from this first engagement means that QA’s expectations for the product mirror those of the client, as discussed from the very start.

Knowledge Transfer from Business Analysts

Our requirements gathering is operating at a very high-level thanks to our improved VDP process. Business Analysts meticulously collect and document requirements and diagram business flows to lay out challenges for the rest of the team.

After the gathering is complete, an in-depth meeting is conducted to bring the team up to speed, employing diagrams, illustrations, and photos to dive into the nuances. These meetings introduce and clarify new, industry-specific terms to ensure our team speaks the same language as our client.

This isn’t just a cursory glance through a few UI mock-ups; we engage in a comprehensive review of our partner’s business, understanding their situation, goals, and how we can drive their success.

QA is involved from the start, actively questioning application flow and logic to align with client expectations.

Enhancing Acceptance Criteria for Better Quality 

At Frogslayer, setting detailed Acceptance Criteria is a core practice for our QA team.  

This approach is vital for clear communication with developers on how tasks will be evaluated and provides guidance for designing test cases. It also helps pinpoint testing challenges that need addressing.  

With the improved business requirements QA is receiving, we’re now able to write Acceptance Criteria in greater detail. This allows us to identify more “corner” case scenarios for developers to consider to make their solution more robust.  

Well-defined Acceptance Criteria also streamlines the creation of effective Test Cases, particularly when dealing with intricate scenarios.

Quality is at the Core of Development 

When considering a custom software development partner, it’s crucial to ask when they integrate Quality Assurance into their process. 

If the answer isn’t, “Right from the start, of course!” then quality might be taking a backseat in their priorities.

True quality is baked into every aspect of development and should be a fundamental part of every team member’s approach.

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