Software Development is a quality conscious industry, especially due to the difficulties of running or managing offshore software development. It becomes imperative for software companies to define rigid standards & metrics to comply with.
QMS stands for Quality Management Systems. Quality here implies that the product meets the customer’s specifications while the system itself could be a series of policies and protocols put in place for ensuring effective workflow while dealing with large ticket, custom software development programs.
If these specifications are not documented or quantified properly, there are chances that the customer will refuse the product. That’s bad business since this will mean scrapping the entire project.
Can you see what a waste of time, energy, manpower & other resources this can be? Here are three reasons why you should have a QMS in place:
Without clear objectives, you are a sitting duck
Whether you are looking to develop software by outsourcing it to vendors or whether you are a vendor who’ll eventually develop solutions for your clients, have clear, measurable objectives. On top of the regular business objectives, there are likely to be issues related to legal, cross-functional participation of various teams, and compliance. Quality management solutions best practices start from here.
Bet on Best Practices and trusted Methodologies
Economic backlashes, budget restraints, lack of time, risk related to projects, and the big “quality” debate is a given in technology products development. As vendors, it’s your responsibility to address these shortcomings in the system by going for proven approaches and frameworks for software development such as Capability Maturity Model (CMM), Capability Maturity Model Integration, Agile Development, etc.
Why you may ask? Because any other approach leads to more work on the same project. According to Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, 60 to 80% of all software development is “rework”.
Rework is expensive; additional iterations, recoding, and prolonged projects mean rapidly depleting resource reserves for you.
Put your foot down on Imperfect Specifications
Often, client’s specifications of product requirements are vague. This is because they know the minimum requirements & keep evolving on that as the product gets built. It is absolutely necessary to get a process in place to ask relevant questions so that the development process is clear. Work with clients to get this step right. Collaborate with multiple teams to ensure clarity in specifications. Without knowing the exact requirements, you aren’t developing software. You are building a case for heart-in-mouth complications, wasted resources, and complex management issues.
Add Process Improvement As Value Added
When requirement specifications are jotted down, often project managers & developers tend to miss out on small but crucial information due to the sheer size or scope of the project. If a checklist is made available, the requirement specification process goes smoothly. Apart from serving during the development phase, QMS can help introspect & improve processes. While working on development or implementation, you might hit bottlenecks or find that processes need tweaking – take this up on behalf of the client. Who says there are no cross-sell opportunities in large-scale software development projects?
Work from strength derived from Measurement & Metrics
As a part of the metrics & measurement process, data is collected, quantified & archived as an organizational resource. Data thus collected ensure that developers or project managers are not relying on memory. Once a measurement database has been established, comparisons across projects become possible. Data, however, is not limited to work collaboration, software implementation, beta launch responses, and field reports. Data is everywhere and sticking up your efforts by analyzing metrics helps you perform better and develop software that actually works.
QMS Safeguards Your Business
Sometimes, at project closure, clients may come up with requirements never mentioned previously. Sometimes, they may even state that they are unhappy with the product & do not wish to pay. QMS systems ensure periodic internal & client reviews that have strict documentation rules & regulations. They also specify payment methods & ensure that payment procedures are in place. This re-assures the software development company of documentation they can fall back on for protection. Think of QMS as an insurance policy for the seemingly endless man-hours spent on project development – going out to work without is like going skydiving without a chute.
In order to produce high quality products or services, a Software Development firm must introduce & implement several quality control mechanisms. QMS serves as a method for checks & balances at appropriate checkpoints. The question is: are you using such protocols in your technology business?
What do you think are the best way to approach technology projects or software development programs? What are your thoughts? Please share them here as we’d love to hear what’s on your mind.