The Software Quality Life Cycle - Venturing Beyond the QA Prerogative

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that’s why we have doctors, car service workshops and a hole in the ozone layer. In testing, you simply do not get the functional "stress test" of hundreds or thousands of users performing functions in unexpected combinations. And, research indicates that approximately 40% of application problems are not caused by a software bug at all, but by some condition in the system environment in which the application is deployed. But these very real problems still need to be solved -- hopefully without needlessly escalating the issue to the development team, a practice that significantly affects downstream development dates. Any organization that is serious about software quality needs to extend their quality business system to quickly fix problems that occur once the application is deployed.  

CGI, a large systems integration house, has also deployed AppSight – this time as a strategy to manage quality in applications it has developed and deployed for its remote customers. In one example, the Toronto business unit of CGI, which serves some of the largest telecommunications companies in Canada, had a major performance problem with a web-based cell phone activation application. The commitment in the service level agreement (SLA) was for a 10-minute transaction completion time, but the transaction was actually taking 18 minutes and developers at CGI’s Centre for Testing and Quality couldn’t figure out why.  Using Mercury Interactive Corp.’s Load Runner didn’t help much either — the load performance and stress tool, which displays information on CPU usage, memory and the top 10 transactions didn’t uncover any problems in the pre-production environment. However, using AppSight’s Black Box technology, CGI was able to record the actual application behavior as the application ran in the live production environment. AppSight consolidated all the relevant information from several levels onto one screen so that CGI could see a backlog of pending requests and understand the need to increase the number of threads. "Armed with the insight captured by AppSight in the live environment, the CGI team was quickly able to implement a simple fix to increase the end-to-end throughput by 50%, slashing average phone activation times from 18 minutes to 9 minutes. ” AppSight allows us to analyze production problems we’d never find through performance testing and a traditional QA process, so we can recover quickly and continually deliver the highest quality applications to our clients,” said David O’Leary, Director, CGI Centre for Testing and Quality.

Conclusion 

Forward thinking companies are far beyond thinking of quality assurance as a quick shakedown period between development and delivery.  They are approaching the software quality life cycle challenge with a holistic approach that considers the dimensions of organizational issues, process, people and technology.  These organizations are delivering higher quality solutions to their constituents much faster, and supporting those applications throughout the life cycle with less expense and higher end-user satisfaction. 


Lori Wizdo is V.P. of Market Development at Identify.  Her 25 year career has included marketing, sales, and strategic planning experience in the information systems and software industries.   Immediately prior to joining Identify, Ms Wizdo was V.P. of Strategy and Business Development at Kamoon Inc., a provider of collaborative software solutions, where she was responsible for strategy, market development and field operations. Prior to joining Kamoon, Wizdo held several senior-level strategic marketing roles at Unisys Corp., where she led the successful market launches of the Unisys e-Business strategy and Microsoft business initiatives.  A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Wizdo has held other senior-level positions with a diverse set of technology firms, from start-ups to global corporations, including Xerox and NCR Corp.
You can contact Ms. Wizdo at
lwizdo@identify.com

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