In the spirit of Yogi Berra, I’ve decided to list of the obvious things that I know in life: water is wet, the sky is blue, and big software projects fail.
I’m sure that you are aware of the very public failure of the centerpiece of Obamacare, Healthcare.gov, and by now have heard enough of the public interrogations of this project, the system, its agency, and policy.
Rather than adding to that, I’d caution that instead of staring too long and too closely at this incident, we should allow it to serve as a simple reminder that there are more and bigger failures lurking.
The future challenges for Software Quality assurance (SQA) follow a few software trends, including:
Complex and large software packages
Integration with external components and interfaces
The need to deliver quickly
The need to deliver bug free software
The standard software quality activities defined by IEEE, such as verification and validation, are integrated into the software development cycle. We see dedicated SQA roles and resources in major organizations. Also, many multi-national companies are pushing to have a central team drive and manage the quality processes, methodologies, and tools across all their sites and teams.
After watching application after application fail on launch day or during a routine upgrade, it seems the IT industry is finally waking up and focusing its attention on software quality and software risk. Because of this and other factors, we have seen positive growth numbers in software revenue in the third quarter of this year. And we expect this number to continue trending upward from here on.
You can read more about our growth in a press release we issued this morning, but I wanted to highlight a few key details here on the blog.
We’re less than a month into the launch of HealthCare.gov, and as each day passes we’re finding out about more glitches, shoddy code quality, a lack of end-to-end testing, and rushed changes made days before the healthcare exchange was to go live. All of which are symptomatic of a software project being rushed to completion to meet a deadline without considering the implications of a botched launch.
The Obama Administration has already announced that HealthCare.gov was not properly tested before launch, but with top contractors of the site being questioned by Congress, we’re learning the problem lies much deeper than that. In fact, on the surface, it looks like each contractor handled a very small part of the overall website and left it to someone else to tie them all together at the last minute.
There has been a tectonic shift over the past two to three years with businesses realizing that analysis and measurement of critical business software is no longer simply nice to have, but a necessity. Every CIO, CEO, and board member is keenly aware of the fact that the stakes are too high and the size and complexity of mission critical systems has outpaced traditional technological safeguards.
Whether you move from an on-premise platform to a mobile device or a virtual cloud environment, security has always been the biggest concern. It’s no more shocking to hear about big banks, financial institutes, and large organizations shutting down their business or coming to a standstill due to an unexpected system crash, a security breach, or a virus attack.
Security outages are observed on all platforms. And it is becoming more and more challenging to detect and prevent such malicious intruders from getting into our complex multi-tier systems.
It’s no surprise that organizations are moving more and more of their business critical systems to the cloud because of its availability, speed, and ease-of-use. But how does this effect and organizations ability to properly test and maintain the quality of those systems?
The best approach we’ve seen so far is Service-Oriented Development of Applications (SODA) which is the process of developing applications with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) in mind. The idea is to create an overall business service that is able to adapt to business ever-changing requirements at the lowest cost yet with the shortest cycle.