Software is Now the World (and Software QA is right behind)

You used to be able to “work hard” and be successful. In the days when my grandparents and parents lived, that meant mostly physical labor. People retired from working when they could no longer toil at what they did. They got social security for a few years and passed away…This paradigm existed into the 70’s. About the same time software and software QA began their nascent appearance on the world’s stage.

We’ve spent much of the last century making things faster and better, but the “things” we did, didn’t changed much. We just did them better and faster. First we applied new processes such as the assembly line to make things faster. Then we employed machines and robots to do what we did before using improved processes and methods. Cars go faster and run on less fuel, but they are still cars with 4 wheels.

Work Valuably and the Technology Multiplier

So much has changed since the 1970’s. These days, “hard work” will not necessarily lead to success. I believe “hard work” needs to be modified to “work valuably”, whereby whatever you do is adding or creating value, and preferably with your brain rather than your brawn.

What’s radically altered the workplace equation is the explosive growth in the development and application of technology. Technology allows the leverage of “working valuably” such that those that are 20 percent better at utilizing it, don’t make 20% more money, they can make 200-300 percent more money. Why? The technology multiplier effect!

Now, a person with an idea can take their idea and start up a company with little or no money. You don’t need 10M in start-up capital because business models have changed. You don’t need your own data center for example, you can just rent in the cloud. You don’t need a big distribution chain because of people don’t go out and buy software anymore. And, you don’t need an army of developers; a handful can do it in a few months.

The Software Future

Software is the great enabler of the “technology multiplier”. It’s what makes hardware smart and usable by people. Software is not only “eating the world”, it is becoming an unseen “force” behind much of what we see, do, and experience every day. We should all be thinking how to ‘software-ize’ our thinking and move in that direction. If you are a steel worker, learn how to operate robots that move steel or fabricate it. If you’re a coal miner, think about ways robots can do your job, and the specialized expertise and contextual understanding it will take to develop software for these robots. If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, think about the things you do at the end of the month or end of year and how that can be automated such as our clients at BlackLine do.

In The Software Future, QA Must be the Foundation

The problem is that in a future with software everywhere and in everything, the function of the impact of defects approaches a power law or even exponential devastation. This is because software and systems have and will become more and more connected and dependent on each other. So what happens when one piece of the puzzle breaks or has a hiccup? It ripples through everything it’s connected to. As more and more systems become interconnected and dependent on each other, we’ll start hearing more and more in the news about how entire systems, some mission critical, have gone down, without a known cause such as the recent airline check in fiasco just a few short months ago.

Building good quality software is actually an easy thing to do if you make no mistakes. Software engineers don’t make mistakes do they? You don’t make mistakes do you? Neither do we at XBOSoft, we just find them! Moving forward toward a software future, the role of quality assurance will have to transition from nice-to-have to a critical component of every release. Automation testing in all areas of development will become the “new normal” for successful software. And the new frontier in automation will evolve to process the creation and remediation activities after defects are found.

Confidence in your software’s quality for the “Software Future” starts with software QA!