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Achieving Continuous Quality in a DevOps Reality

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Digital is one of the biggest business disruption happening to enterprises today. This disruption creates new winners and losers in various industries, it transforms brand engagement and how business models are evolving.

At the core of the disruption is the engagement with the end user (customer, employee, partner, vendor), moving from human interaction to digital integration through applications.

Applications are moving from supporting business initiatives to becoming the business. Think of it: banking apps are not just supporting customer needs, for more and more users they are the bank itself.

This change means that application delivery became a critical capability for enterprises. This is no longer a competitive advantage, but vital means to stay relevant.

Delivering applications must happen faster than before and within cost limitations. Quality tends to be at a level higher than ever before, keeping customers engaged and delighted. This means Quality and Quality at Speed is at the center of successful application delivery pipelines.

What Does Quality Have to Do With It?

Good question. When there is a meeting with technical management at Fortune 500 companies, one cannot just walk in and say, “There’s a shift to Digital,” and then define Digital as mobile and web, and talk about velocity and quality. It is not doing the shift justice. Rather, one needs to make the case that Digital represents a “mission-critical jobs on the line — your world just got way more important” initiative.

If the face of the business is shifting to Digital, QUALITY CANNOT BE AN AFTERTHOUGHT. Imagine that a bank was going to design and build a new branch. Would they just rush into building it, with little planning and no thought of quality practice? It would be a pretty safe bet that doing such a thing would result in a really crazy-looking building, with missing doors, crooked windows, counters being too high, and stools that are too low. Presumably, we would all agree that no one designed and built customer engagement points like that.

Quality has to be a first class citizen in the development of a business critical digital engagement point. It seems like that should go without saying. So quality has to be built into the very fiber of the software development cycle. The better the code, the faster the deployment of new features. Chances are higher that this way there would be more capacity to add further features in future iterations. Apparently, the higher the quality of early-cycle app code, the lower the cost associated with fixing defects would be.

But beyond slowing down planned software deliveries and time to market, app defects hurt businesses in a number of ways.

The Business Value of Quality (and the Cost of Poor Quality)

It turns out that the shift to Digital is a shift of engagement points. In the case of many companies, that digital engagement point is now a/ the primary engagement point.

If you were in the shoes of an entrepreneur and you went for Digital, you should have been aware that there was a quick and easy way of diminishing great ideas and demolishing bright future plans. Poor quality of digital engagement points may quickly turn into a deal breaker. Amazing features and advanced capabilities would be irrelevant, if they never worked right or played nicely together. It is that simple.

The cost of bad quality goes beyond a single customer ranting along the lines of “I’m disappointed that my app doesn’t work.” There is a hard lesson to be learnt — the impact of bad quality in the hands of consumers can be seen immediately. Sooner rather than later, it will ripple across the corresponding business with measurable financial ramifications. 

 

Eran Kinsbruner is Mobile Technical Evangelist at Perfecto. This article is an excerpt from his new book, The Digital Quality Handbook: Guide for Achieving Continuous Quality in a DevOps Reality.

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