Software Quality & How to Measure It

As technology and what it can do for us becomes more prevalent and sophisticated, the demand for high-quality software also increases. We’ve all heard from a young age that fast and good are often mutually exclusive ideas. ‘Do you want it done right, or do you want it done fast?’ is something you may have heard in your youth.

Fortunately, times have changed. With innovations in the software industry, we can finally have high-quality products, made in a short amount of time. The best way to achieve this is by running quality assurance tests.

Why is software quality so important? Poor quality software, or good quality software that is deployed too slowly, can hurt your company. Not only can revenue be affected, but your company’s reputation may also be tainted, and you could lose customers.

How to Define Software Quality

Software quality is split into two distinct categories, functional requirements, and non-functional requirements. These two categories are included in XP Methodology (Extreme Programming). Read about this and other methodologies in the Types of software testing methodology article.

Functional requirements are the functions that the software should be able to do. This category includes things such as calculations, data processing, or data transferral. Whatever the goal of designing this software is, that is one of its functional requirements. For example, a GPS app must be able to connect to satellites, and a texting app must be able to send messages.

Non-functional requirements are what make the software work, or in other words, they make the software able to operate. There are far more non-functional requirements than there are functional ones. A few of the aspects that fall into this category are usability, security, privacy, and the ability to receive updates.

Software Quality Metrics and Attributes

The CISQ software quality model is a popular set of guidelines used to measure software quality. We’ll go over a few of those topics, as well as a few of the ways we can run tests in these categories.

Reliability

This aspect assesses how stable the software is, and how likely it is to malfunction or fail. Not only does the software need to be stable when running, but it also needs to be able to hold steady when changes are made to the program.

How to measure reliability

  • Reliability testing – There are several types of reliability tests you can use, including load testing and regression testing. Load testing is to see how well the software functions under high loads. Regression testing is used to test how many bugs emerge when the software undergoes an update or change.
  • Evaluation – Using a simulated environment based on the real-life use of the software, professionals analyze how the software performs.
  • Failure rate – Measuring the average failure rate after each deployment period, or during each user experience, is a good indicator of reliability.

Security

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who want to harm or hack your software for some reason or another. Security will always be a vital part of any software development and evolve faster than the threats do.

How to measure security

  • Vulnerability testing – Probing the software for vulnerabilities is a good way to see how secure it is before someone with ill intentions does it first.
  • Security updates – Constantly monitor the security of the software and track how many users install the new security patches.
  • Time to resolution – This is the time between finding a vulnerability, and the release of a patch or update. The shorter the time, the better security is.

Efficiency

Here, we measure how well the software performs. Things like the source code, architecture, and the number of servers, all affect how well the software runs.

How to measure efficiency

  • Stress testing – What’s the maximum capacity the system can work at? This is very important for overall efficiency.
  • Load testing – Similar to stress testing, this test monitors how the software performs when a certain number of users are running the software at the same time.
  • Application performance monitoring (APM) – This software tells performance metrics from the user’s perspective.

Maintainability

Maintainability refers to how adaptable and flexible the software is. Can it be worked on by other developers? Can it work across platforms? Will it scale well? All of these matters tie into how well the code is written. High-quality code is a must-have for high maintainability.

How to measure maintainability

  • Lines of code – The more lines of code there are, the more fragile it is. Code that is very long or complex is at a higher risk of failure.
  • Complexity metrics – Related to how many lines of code there are, you can also test the complexity of the code by using a third-party service.

Rate of Delivery

New iterations and increments should be often, and a high delivery rate makes the software better. The more updates you give, the better the product becomes. Deploying iterations on a regular basis is known as continuous delivery, and it is beneficial to the overall quality of your product.

How to measure rate of delivery

  • Download rate of updates – Monitor how many people download the new updates, and when.
  • The number of releases – How many releases are made during a specific period, as well as how consistently they’re released.
  • Agile method completion rate – how quickly the development team finishes sprints, or stories.

There are more metrics to test software quality, and some may be more relevant to your field than others. Nevertheless, things like reliability, efficiency, and maintainability are universally needed in order to produce the highest quality software.


We here at Blocshop are committed to providing you with the highest quality custom-made software. Our projects are led by certified Agile practitioners, and we can offer a variety of services. Whether you need a new web app, cloud software development, or something more, we are happy to help bring your project to life. To discuss the details of your project, contact us here.

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