Today, maintaining ‘Quality Standards’ and using various ‘Quality Assurance’ measures in products and/or services has become an essential factor for any organization irrespective of what they are actually providing and in which industry are they operating i.e. be it a manufacturing firm, service (health or financial etc.) providers or even a small consultancy firm. People expect certified quality products and for this; firms are competing harder and harder to gain competitive advantage. So, obtaining quality certifications can undoubtedly provide competitive edge to the firms.
With the passage of time, ‘Software Development Industry’ has also become aware of the importance of ‘Quality Assurance’ in order to successfully comply with the concept of ‘Total Quality Management’ (TQM).
People/Customers now have more confidence in such software/programs which have undergone critical tests and QA measurements. For this purpose in this article it has been tried to provide a better understanding about the importance of ‘Software Quality Assurance’ (SQA) to head towards ‘Total Quality Management’ (TQM).
In today’s technology driven world, software perform a key role in daily business and even in private life i.e. software are used in cars, trains, planes, banking systems, enterprises and so on. Therefore, software’s quality plays a crucial role and is important for the acceptance of software by end users and hence proves to be a key factor in success of software product. Developing software is an expensive process as it takes a lot of skilled people to develop it yet efficient companies spend excessive amounts to make it a “quality software” and also to fulfill the customers’ quality needs.
On the other hand there are some companies as well which don’t take quality assurance measures seriously thinking of it as mere additional costs. But as a result the possible software failure causes millions of breakdown costs, loss of market share and reputation or can even cause injuries to people. Thus, it is important that SQA measures should be strongly considered to prevent a lot of financial losses as well as life threats and such measures will eventually result in the firm’s proper implementation of TQM principles. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has provided all the characteristics regarding SQA in its ‘ISO 9126’ standard which was first provided in 1991 and was revised and divided in 4 parts in 2001 as “ISO/IEC 9126-1 to ISO/IEC 9126-4”.
Implementing SQA measures can result in numerous benefits for the organization. Some of which are as follows:
• Although implementing SQA measures can be costly for the firm but it will eventually decrease the amount of time and money spent on software revisiting requirements, design code and the documentation procedures etc. which might occur in future.
• Quality Assured Software mostly no longer requires modifications and repairs which will save a lot of time and money.
• Software Quality Assurance decreases the time between ‘Development’ & ‘Deployment’
• SQA measures can help in catching errors and bugs etc. before they are too costly to fix.
• Customers have more confidence and interest in quality assured software. Therefore SQA can help
the firms in increasing their customer base, market share and sales volume.
On the other hand, neglecting SQA can result in a number of adverse effects. The history is full of incidents where lack of quality assurance has caused the firms to suffer huge losses and sometimes even proved to be fatal to the people.
• In 1985, Canada’s “Therac-25” radiation therapy machine malfunctioned and delivered lethal radiation doses to patients. As a result 5 people died and a few were critically injured. The situation was caused by a bug called “race-condition” i.e. making the electron beam to fire in high-power mode without proper patient shielding
• A 2002 study commissioned by National Institute of Standards and Technology found software bugs cost the U.S. economy about $59.5 billion annually and also that about $22.2 billion could be eliminated by improving testing.
‘Software Quality Assurance’ is just as important as ‘Software Development’ and IT based organizations cannot hope to successfully implement the principles of ‘Total Quality Management’ without seriously considering the Software QA measures in that
(a) SQA saves a lot of repetitive work, modifications and repairs of software
(b) SQA helps in meeting the timelines
(c) Due to increased efficiency increases the profit per product
Original Author : Aden Alec
Courtesy : http://technology.ezinemark.com/