During the last months I wrote a lot about quality and how to develop high-quality software. These letters dealt with topics like linting your code, testing and documenting it. I also wrote about the different perspectives and motives that might exist in your team.
But there is one view that I omitted more or less: The external view of your customers. They expect to receive and use your software. They expect it to be without bugs and to fulfill the role they “hired it for”.
It is not easy to integrate this view into your software development and quality process. Two possible options come to mind:
- User Acceptance Tests (UAT)
- Quality assurance in-house
UAT is the next best thing from deploying/selling your software and receiving feedback. UAT means having real users test your software from end-to-end and gathering their feedback. UAT can help you gain trust from your users. The people taking part in a UAT could be a well-defined group of users from a big company that is one of your clients. If these people test your software and find it performing well, you can gain good advocates for your product. UAT could also be a legal or contractual requirement for your software.
Quality assurance done by a team in-house usually helps companies find problems early and thoroughly. There are ISO certifications for that (ISO 9000). Most companies won’t be able to afford that though. QA is a topic worth a separate email.
I bet that most people reading this won’t have UAT or QA. So what could you do to still achieve quality in the eyes of your users?
We’ll talk about that in the next email.