The quality of your software is what determines its usefulness and sustainability.
There are many ways to improve the quality of your software, but long-term success requires a defined quality improvement strategy and a repeatable, systematic approach.
1. Define your requirements
Your requirements determine the scope of your software, and therefore should be defined before coding begins.
Your product owner (or equivalent) should create a high-level list of desired functions or features to be included in your software.
The more specific these requirements are, the better it is for defining the goal and purpose of your project.
2. Break down the system into component parts
Improving a complex piece of software can seem like an insurmountable undertaking, but the system as a whole is actually made up of smaller, simpler parts.
For example, if you want to improve the quality of an OS or online banking application, it may be helpful to break those systems down into tasks such as improving security and database management first before tackling more complex components like front end and middleware.
3. Create a quality model that maps to your company and software
Focus on the most important components for your product, as these will have the largest impact on its success.
Your quality model should give you insight into whether or not your project is succeeding by measuring how well it meets the requirements set out in step one.
There are a number of quality models that can be used to improve your software, including CMMI and ISO 9000.
4. Be flexible and iterative
Quality improvement is an ongoing process, not a one-time activity.
Don’t expect to create the perfect product on the first try.
Instead, expect to improve your software by increments and over time.
5. Be transparent
Your team should be open about issues so that they can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
This will help you maintain a strong level of trust with your team members, stakeholders, and customers in the future.
By being transparent, you create better products and foster stronger relationships.
6. Engage your team members to actively improve
Quality improvement can be a daunting task, so engage with your team members to create buy-in and generate enthusiasm for the project.
By encouraging them to share their ideas, you can work together to build high quality products that meet or exceed customer needs.
7. Improve continuously
Continuous improvement, or Kaizen, is a self-reinforcing cycle that encourages individuals and teams to work towards a common goal in manageable steps until the product’s quality reaches an exceptional level.
Your team can successfully apply Kaizen if they have clear goals for how to improve their software and what success looks like.
8. Don’t get discouraged or lose focus
Quality improvement is a process that takes time and requires patience.
If you encounter roadblocks, learn from them and continue to improve your quality model instead of giving up on it altogether.
Don’t become discouraged by the tough conversations and challenges along the way — they are unavoidable and help to strengthen the team’s dedication and spirit.