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The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: July 2005

Improve application quality

1 July 2005

Quality assurance is an accepted component of application development, but still needs improvement if it is to meet expectations.
Compuware Corporation has announced the results of a recent survey commissioned by Compuware and conducted by Forrester Consulting. In the summary study titled, "Today's quality assurance practices: how can we continue to improve?" 305 US and European IT executives from large companies revealed their approach to software quality assurance. The study examined how companies approach application quality today to identify which practices are most effective at improving the delivery of high quality applications.
85% of IT executives surveyed indicated application quality is either critical or very critical to their overall effectiveness in demonstrating value to the business. With such emphasis placed on quality, many IT organisations have naturally taken steps to improve it. Study findings show that 63% of respondents started their efforts more than three years ago, and more than half of them have invested in quality testing tools for application development.
While companies understand the importance of application quality and are taking steps to achieve it, quality improvements are still not meeting expectations. For example, of the 54% of the surveyed IT executives who have invested in testing tools, only 29% of them have seen significant improvement. When asked about the biggest barriers to improving application quality today, respondents ranked not having standardised quality procedures at the top of a list of five possible reasons. IT staff who are untrained on QA procedures and the lack of a formal process placed second and third.
"Technology will not deliver quality. Effective testing processes and skilled staff make all the difference," said Margo Visitacion, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "Unless development, QA and operations staff are onboard with the testing process, organisational boundaries will blur and responsibilities will not be clear."
Despite the common pitfall of operating without a formalised QA discipline, less than half of the IT executives surveyed said they rely on a formal plan for improving application quality. The remaining IT executives admitted that they were taking steps to improve applications quality without a formal plan, monitoring application quality, or did not consider application quality a big concern.
Of the 32% of respondents that have seen a huge improvement in application quality, 64% consistently apply a formal quality assurance methodology. 45% of the 117 respondents who consistently apply a formal methodology have seen huge improvements in application quality. Additionally, 52% of the 129 respondents who consistently apply a formal methodology said that they are very effective at eliminating defects before deployment. Despite the obvious benefits of operating with a formalised QA discipline, fewer than half said they rely on a formal plan for improving quality.
"Establishing quality controls and purchasing quality tools is a good place to start, but organisations stand to gain even more from these investments by implementing a standard, centralised methodology, a continuous improvement program and management-focused metrics," said Elizabeth Maly, marketing director of Compuware Quality Solutions. "With the complexity of today's business infrastructure, IT managers are hard pressed to manage risks effectively and ultimately judge when an application is ready to deploy.
Maly adds that for companies looking for a quality management solution, the Compuware Application Reliability Solution (CARS) provides a flexible approach to implementing standard processes and practices across the entire IT organisation.
CARS creates an objective mechanism to weigh and prioritise what to test and a discipline of best practices across an organisation.
For more information contact Compuware Corporation SA, 011 516 2900, http://www.compuware.com, for information on the Compuware Application Reliability Solution (CARS) http://www.compuware.com/products/cars/</a>


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