What is Software Quality? How do you measure it and can AI help?
Let’s take a few not so unusual scenarios that commonly occur when users interact with a software product.
- Your customer experiences problems trying to fill the shopping cart with the desired products.
- Your customer makes the payment but the payment does not go through
- Your customer is unable to complete the final purchase
- Your customer abandons the cart and goes to your competitor to complete the purchase there.
If this was really your product, these are glaring reasons to be worried. Your customers are essentially saying that your software quality is not up to their expectations to the extent that they are willing to take their business elsewhere.
Software quality can be interpreted in several ways, however, the ultimate measure of software quality is determined by the end-user interacting with your software, based on their experience, whether good or bad. Quality is also a matter of perspective and it varies from one individual to another. For some a software product that works well, without any glitches, passes the test while others may set higher standards and qualify only those that offer world-class experience.
Software quality is important for reasons such as customer engagement, customer satisfaction, product adoption, sales, and ultimately business growth. In this post, we’ll discuss what software quality is, understand various metrics that evaluate software quality, and know-how AI can help businesses build high-quality software.
How is Software Quality Measured?
Software quality definitions in general and what is mentioned above usually provide an informal guideline to measure quality but there should be a way to assess software quality more formally. We can do this by measuring ‘Functional quality’ and ‘Structural quality’.
The ‘Functional quality’ of Software reflects how well it conforms to the functional specifications. This can also be described as the accuracy to which the software is developed as per the plan.
The ‘Structural quality’ of a Software refers to how it meets the delivery of the functional requirements, such as usability, stability, or maintainability. This can also be described as the accuracy to which the software works as developed.
Parameters To Measure Software Quality
ISO 25010 standard provides the measurement of software quality and productivity characteristics, such as functional suitability, reliability, performance efficiency, usability, security, compatibility, maintainability, portability.
The Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ) also came up with its own standard that includes only efficiency, usability, reliability, maintainability, and rate of delivery.
Based on our experience, we think the following metrics are most essential in measuring software quality:
- Code Quality: The code quality metrics include vocabulary, length, volume, complexity, and the rate of bugs generation in a module. Poor code quality not only reflects bad programming but also makes it tougher to maintain and update the software as it becomes tough for other developers to understand the code.
- Reliability: The ability of the software to work normally under different circumstances like network/bandwidth/loads is called reliability. This is important because it impacts the performance of the software.
- Performance: Is the software doing what it is supposed to do? Is it doing within the time it is supposed to do? How easy/difficult is it to complete the task? And the number of resources it is consuming. All these factors measure the performance of the software. Good software must help the user complete his task easily, within the set time, and without consuming too many machine resources.
- Usability: In an experience economy, usability in general but experience, in particular, is the distinctive factor. Usability metrics of the software include onboarding experience, goal accomplishment, bugs, and user-friendliness of the software.
- Maintainability: Software needs to be upgraded with time to cater to the user’s increasing demands. It also needs to be maintained so that it performs at its peak, all the time. Maintainability metrics include the time/efforts required to add new features to the software.
- Security: How secure is the software? Can it protect against the latest cyber-attack methods? Security is important as most software collects the personal data of the users as well as has access to enterprise data.
How AI Can Help In Software Quality?
Where software automation can help with functional quality assessment, aspects of usability, reliability, and maintainability are more difficult to assess and establish with software automation. Due to this reason, an extremely manual process in software testing called User Acceptance Testing (UAT) has taken shape which is an inefficient but the only way to gauge the quality of the software product as perceived by the users.
However, AI can help with establishing the measures for structural quality to analyze the user behaviors and evaluate them against the goals and objectives of the software workflows. This can benefit both the pre-deployment as well as the post-launch of the software product and can act as a complementary function to automated software testing and user acceptance testing.
During the development phase, AI is playing a significant role in Software Testing helping developers test their codes in real-time. Test bots are automating activities such as test modeling, test generation, and failure detections, etc. AI-driven test automation is automating several repetitive testing tasks to help developers build and upgrade software at high speed.
In the post-development phase, AI can help you track and monitor various user metrics like user stickiness, user-friendliness, user behavior, and glitches/bugs, etc., and provide you intelligence in real-time to improve software quality and thereby experience.
How Can We Help?
AIMS Software Quality Intelligence helps you monitor all essential structural software quality metrics and assess the quality of your software applications in real-time in an easy and inexpensive way. Our platform can deliver diagnostics and predictive insights in real-time as your users use the software so that you can take corrective steps and deliver the best experience to your customers with the least possible lead time. For a free demo or to know more about AIMS Software Quality Intelligence, contact us here.