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Survey: Formal QA Process Key to Improve Testing Results

In order to achieve better applications quality, companies will have to implement a standard, centralized testing methodology and skilled staffers, according to a recent survey commissioned by Compuware and conducted by Forrester Research.

The survey questioned 305 U.S. and European senior IT executives from large companies about their approach to software quality assurance, as well as examined how companies approach application quality and which practices are the most effective at improving the delivery of high-quality applications.

According to the survey, “Today’s Quality Assurance Practices: How Can We Continue to Improve,” 85 percent of IT executives indicated application quality is either critical or very critical to their overall effectiveness in demonstrating business value. The findings also showed that 63 percent started improving application quality more than three years ago, and more than half invested in quality testing tools for application development.

Although companies grasp the importance of application quality and are making moves to achieve it, quality improvements still aren’t meeting expectations. For example, only 29 percent of the 54 percent IT executives who have invested in testing tools have seen significant improvement. When executives were asked what the biggest barriers to improving application quality today were, they said lacking standardized quality procedures was the top reason.

Despite the common pitfall of operating without a formal quality assurance discipline, less than half of the IT executives said they rely on a formal plan for improving application quality. The remaining IT executives said they were taking steps to improve applications quality without a formal plan, monitoring application quality or didn’t consider application quality a big concern.

Other findings of the Compuware survey included:

  • Out of the 32 percent that saw a huge improvement in application quality, 64 percent consistently apply a formal quality assurance methodology.
  • Forty-five percent of the 117 executives who consistently apply a formal methodology saw huge improvements in application quality.
  • Fifty-two percent of the 129 executives who consistently apply a formal methodology said that they are very effective at eliminating defects before deployment.
  • Even though there are benefits to operating with a formal quality assurance discipline, fewer than half of the IT executives said they rely on a formal plan for improving quality.

The Compuware-Forrester survey also noted that development, quality assurance and operations staffs play an important role in testing efforts by working together.

As part of the survey, 305 IT executives—180 from North America and 125 from Europe (France, Germany and the U.K.) responded. Fifteen percent represented companies with annual revenues in excess of $10 billion; 55 percent represented companies with annual revenues from $1 billion to $10 billion; and 30 percent represented companies with annual revenues ranging from $500 million to $1 billion.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.

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