Top 3 defect prevention techniques
Market trends around emerging technologies and agile methodologies are shaping software development priorities, driving demand for faster release cycles and the need for quality to be considered earlier in the application lifecycle.
How software teams are measured for success will expand, developers will work with colleagues in cross functional roles, and the products being built will reach new limits.
Although ensuring software quality is the primary goal for development teams, it is always surprising to see a low level of involvement toward defect prevention activities across the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
Only 26% of executives identified increasing quality awareness among all disciplines as one of their objectives. The reality of this is that many applications are still released with known defects.
This huge cost savings alone should be enough to convince senior leaders to examine why so few prevention activities are taking place across their projects.
Catch defects early
Research has shown that the cost of fixing a bug in the testing phase could be 15 times more-costly than if the defect was found during design and six times more-costly than if found during a build phase.
Defects that are not found earlier have a larger impact the further they progress in the SDLC.
As developers continue to build an application, the defect can impact more user scenarios, increasing complexity and adding cost, time, and effort to come to a resolution quickly.
There are simple measures software teams can adopt to uncover bugs earlier in the lifecycle, whether teams are designing enterprise-grade desktop applications that store highly-sensitive financial data or a modern, digital-store front that processes thousands of transactions an hour.
Prioritise UX with the right UI Dev approach
How do we make great, best-in-class software that not only looks pretty, but can also be used by real humans? How do we hold developers accountable to think about the user?
Behaviour- driven development (BDD), a software development process where teams create simple steps on how an application should behave from a users’ perspective, can drive entire teams to prioritise UX in their UI design.
Adopting BDD demands a mindset shift and updated workflows that incorporate multiple stakeholders from business analysts to designers to developers to testers.
Test-Driven Development (TDD), an alternative approach, is focused on the developers’ perspective on how software should function, which can misdirect development to prioritise functionality over user experience.
Take for example the dev of the AirPod. The BDD approach starts your development lifecycle with the end in mind. It outlines the steps a user will take and the impact to the user once that action occurs.
Apple, well-known for its design thinking, has transformed how consumers listen to music from simple white headphones to its recent crowd-pleaser, AirPods.
They did not start their development lifecycle looking to design a product that had the ability to connect sound between a phone and a user’s ear.
Instead, they honed in on the customer’s one desire: to hear and control music away from a device. This technique unleashed design possibilities and empowered the development team to innovate, introducing one of the most popular earphones beloved for its sound quality, sleek design, and features.
Building software with a BDD approach at the forefront brings developers closer to the ideal user experience, further preventing bugs that seem functionally correct, but that are not what the customer expected.
With BDD support in test automation tools, development teams can accelerate an end-to-end behaviour-driven and user- focused perspective.
With BDD in a test management platform, software teams can collaborate on building feature stories with easy-to-use editors that convert action words to user scenarios and provide step auto-suggestions.
With BDD in test automation, teams can then accelerate BDD workflows by converting feature scenarios into automated tests instantly.
Expose critical defects earlier
Developing quality code that is clean, efficient, and results in zero critical defects does not have to be a pipe dream for software teams.
I like to call this aspiration, Dev Zero, a rigorous approach to software development aimed at keeping defect count at zero (or almost zero) at all times.
By having developers test a key user- scenario as soon as it is feasibly possible, this will compliment QA efforts to uncover high-priority, critical issues and application flaws earlier in the SDLC.
This creates a strong application foundation that prevents critical defects from going past development and having a broader impact as code continues to be layered.
With native integration for test automation in a development environment, developers can quickly test their code against pre-defined functional user scenarios.
With embedded test automation functionality in an integrated development environment (IDE), developers can access their entire application source code in one location instead of inspecting a web page or a desktop component manually to include in an automated test script.
QA can then collaborate with developers to not only ensure software quality from a ground- up, development perspective, but also a top-down, user perspective as a tester.
Leveraging one tool, QA can then launch both UI automated tests created by testers and by developers concurrently.
Ensure software quality with AI
Regardless if your development team follows an agile or waterfall methodology, one of the initial steps will be to design the purpose of the application and how to address key user needs.
It is the most crucial, pivotal phase in the development lifecycle that transforms a logical system design into a physical system.
AI provides a major leap forward by being able to detect application components across a wide array of different formats and technologies, including application blueprints in the design phase.
AI-powered visual recognition enhances current techniques in software testing by being able to automatically create tests directly from mock-up designs or wireframes.
Imagine creating UI functional tests that normally would be built after development in the design phase – the very beginning of your SDLC.
Test automation tools with AI-powered visual recognition allow software teams to identify application components and automatically create test scripts based off of those component properties before they are built.
The developer’s imperative
The role of the developer is changing. Future developers will need to learn and adopt new skills, including how to use native-test automation with IDEs, how to adopt new development methodologies, and how to leverage AI to ensure software quality at every stage of the SDLC.
Software teams aspire to hire future engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset to not only create efficient and robust code, but also practice Dev Zero to emphasise the importance of quality-driven innovation.
Developers have a responsibility to identify where their teams are missing the mark and an imperative to adopt their approach to ensure they expose critical defects earlier in the development lifecycle, prioritising the need to keep costs low, while accomplishing quality at speed.
Akshita Puram, product marketing manager, Smartbear