How competitive is your software Kaiserslautern

How competitive is your software (improvement)?

It is all about software today. Today, an organization’s functionality and innovation is increasingly driven by software. Nowadays, electronics and software are responsible for over 90% of all innovations in the automotive industry, and many industrial companies are becoming software companies (i.e., with more and more software engineers as employees). The efficiency of software development enables quick reaction to market trends. In this context, companies are realizing that software quality makes the difference and is an essential competitive factor for their success.

Quality is the best business plan.

J. Lasseter (Co-founder of Pixar Animation)

Indeed, a recent report by Capgemini states that the average spending on quality management and testing in IT companies has grown from 18% in 2012 to 35% in 2015, and it is estimated that this proportion of the budget will increase to 40% by 2018. Hence, it is all about software quality!

Despite the importance of managing software quality, it is still common that a company only realizes that they have a quality problem when it is already too late or too expensive to fix it. In the evolution and adaptation of software, software quality is often neglected due to cost and time constraints, and technical debt is incurred. Hence, maintenance costs rise and the development of functionalities takes longer… This leads to questions such as: Which software quality problems occur in your company? Is there time to manage software quality in rapid and continuous software development? And if so, how do you do this?

A Software Quality Workshop

Bearing in mind that relevant quality factors of software systems should be considered during the software development process, we propose an integrated workshop for the creation of a measurable quality model, from strategic business goals to quantifiable metrics. The workshop demonstrates a workflow and corresponding moderation methods that allow using GQM+Strategies™, Quamoco, and GQM to build such a quality model and to visualize the findings.

First, GQM+Strategies™ aligns the goals and strategies of an organization across different units through measurement. Besides a clear understanding of what the goals of the organization are, the use of GQM+Strategies™ facilitates communication between different units by creating a common understanding. It helps to show the developers their contribution to the higher-level key performance indicators. Usually, there are enough goals or strategies depending on the product quality. During the workshop, we identify the organizational goals underlying software quality.

Second, Quamoco solves the problem of traditional software quality models, which provide either abstract quality characteristics or concrete quality measurements, by integrating both aspects. It provides a generic quality model that needs to be tailored to a company’s specific strategic goals. We use ISO/IEC 25010 as the generic model to match the specific quality goals identified during our workshop sessions.

Third, GQM provides an approach for goal-oriented measurement. Starting from the goals, questions are derived. By answering these questions, we define the respective metrics quantifying the goals. GQM thus provides a way to define a metric and interpret it. We demonstrate how to make quality aspects measurable and where to get the data from. In our workshop we examine how to integrate the model, i.e., the measurement, the analysis, and the derived feedback, into the software development process.

Our Experiences in the Q-Rapids Project

We are conducting this research in the context of the Q-Rapids (Quality-Aware Rapid Software Development) H2020 European research project. The main research question of Q-Rapids is:

How can quality requirements be integrated into a rapid software development process in order to significantly increase the productivity of the development team and shorten time to market of software products and services whilst ensuring appropriate levels of quality?

Q-Rapids logo
Q-Rapids logo

We have already performed software quality workshops with the four industry partners of Q-Rapids. You can follow our latest results in the dissemination section of the Q-Rapids website.

We also invite you to attend our “International Workshop on Managing Quality in Agile and Rapid Software Development Processes” (QuASD), co-located with PROFES 2017, to be held in Innsbruck (Austria) on 29 November 2017.