On average, businesses in the tech industry spend nearly a quarter of their IT budget on quality assurance and testing. But this is low compared to a few years ago when tech companies spent nearly a third.
The reason for the drop? Cost.
Unfortunately, saving money upfront tends to cost companies more in the long run: Customers are less tolerant to slow apps, data insecurity, software errors, and overall bad customer experience (CX). And gaining that trust back can be costly.
Without proper quality control, there’s no way to guarantee a successful product, happy customers, and fewer bugs. That’s why performing quality assurance throughout the software development life cycle is crucial.
What Is Software Quality Assurance (SQA)?
Software quality assurance ensures that a program meets the company’s and industry’s standards and works as intended.
Software quality assurance varies greatly depending on the type of software and budget. Still, it pulls from various quantitative and qualitative research methods, like surveys, trials, historical data, and case studies.
Software quality assurance also takes into account industry best practices, such as:
- Focus on a results-oriented process. A results-oriented agile practice leads to more robust and stable software. Start by setting attainable targets and moving to larger goals when you’ve met them.
- Formulate an actional management plan. A software development management plan that maps out all necessary internal policies, processes, and compliances. For instance, health industry software should also followS. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws.
- Review and audit the quality assurance process. There’s almost always room for improvement. Ask yourself, “What can be done better? How can we improve efficiency? Is there a step in the process that needs to be addressed?”
- Use a multi-testing process. The more tests, the better. You’ll cover more bases, find more issues, and gain more insight into customer behaviors with multiple testing techniques. (Plus, you’ll save money in the long run.)
- Perform postrelease QA. The average company releases software with 15% bugs — but the best only releases with 5%. This is the importance of QA in the postrelease phase: Combine software testing and user bug reports to refine the software as you upgrade to meet the changing customer needs.
While best practices may seem subjective, these are qualities that increase a company’s reputation and customer experience. Of course, the quality assurance process differs from company to company, but it’s a procedure that should never cut corners for several reasons.
Reason #1: Provides a Better CX
Applications designed with the customer’s journey in mind have been shown to have better retention rates, which is vital in today’s day and age: More than ever before, customers are impatient and expect quality products and easy usability. Keep your product customer-focused through proper QA, and you’ll see how quickly your membership will grow.
Reason #2: Creates a Competitive Product
The need to create a competitive product is not news, but it is still relevant. If a product performs better or is cheaper than yours, customers are more likely to opt for that instead.
But what if you could create a never-been-seen product, is affordable (or free!), and works beyond expectations? That’s what proper software quality assurance testing will get you.
Reason #3: Meets Industry (and Company) Standards
Standards aren’t just about doing what’s expected: They’re also about complying with security needs and safety laws that protect companies and customer information.
For example, all American businesses are required not to do business with anyone on the OFAC Sanctions List — but part of the challenge is recognizing red flags and fool-proofing your software.
Software testing and quality control will help prevent accidental leaks and compromises, saving money and upholding your company’s reputation.
What Are Company Standards?
Company standards refer to an organization’s values, benchmarks, and beliefs. Within the IT realm, this might be something like:
- Meeting $1 million in revenue next year
- Launching an app with less than two rounds of post-SQA
- Processes like relying on an external QA team
Goals like these are essential because everything comes down to user experience (UX). That’s because the average consumer is impatient: 62% of people will uninstall an app if it crashes, freezes, or has bugs.
Take the fictional app creator, Mobility, for example. Their mobile game crashes whenever a user reaches the sixth level. Nearly one thousand players quit and eventually uninstalled the app. If Mobility had performed QA regularly or had the resources to perform an update, they wouldn’t have lost so many players.
What Are Industry Standards?
Industry software quality assurance standards are designed to guide software companies in developing high-quality, safe, reliable, and user-oriented software.
Therefore, industry standards guide the processes undertaken during the software development process to ensure consistently excellent products. Here are a few industry standards that software companies should always follow:
The Age-Old Debate: Internal vs. External Software Assurance Testing
If you’re a small company or want to save money, you’ve probably considered performing in-house tests rather than working with a third-party QA expert. At first glance, the cost is a significant factor: You may save more money upfront if you keep it in-house.
However, this isn’t true. It’s a rosy view in an attempt to save money. The truth is that your company will spend more money fixing bugs postrelease.
Unpredictability is in the name of the software development game. What happens when you need to perform post-QA? Or if there are bugs you can’t identify and fix? You’ll lose customers, and your reputation will be tainted, costing you more than proper QA.
A third-party QA expert helps you save time and money by releasing highly competitive products. Let’s dive into what a trusted resource can bring to your product.
Benefit #1: Can Perform Multiple Tests
On the surface, there are two types of quality control testing: Manual and automatic. But within these are dozens of subtypes that perform different tasks and identify issues.
For example, if you want to compare two layouts and see which performs better, then you need A/B testing. If you want to identify the triggers that make users exit your app, then you need loa