How will the software quality market evolve over the next few years?
What is at stake? What is it going to take?
Internet, the Web, and e-Business are increasingly demanding higher and higher levels of quality for network-based software systems with less and less mean time between failures. Why?
The impact of poor quality and less than robust systems increasingly affect the bottomline for many businesses.
A lot has happened to improve the situation and new methodologies and new tools for improving software quality have emerged in the last few years, but I would suggest that radical new approaches and initiatives must be created and adopted if the desirable quality levels to support the e-Economy are to be truly realized and especially at the Internet and global level.
What would that look like?
It will take a combination of component-based development, design by contract, specification-based testing, and statistical process control. It will require and even demand much higher levels of predictive and profiling analysis.
It will also demand enterprise level and even systems thinking as more and more complex "web-enabled" applications are deployed into and amongst various market spaces. So we have the twin challenges of faster and faster delivery and deployment times requiring higher and higher levels of quality.
All of these changes are placing great pressure on the traditional ways of testing and viewing quality.
The 'target" customer is no longer just the QA or test group. Increasingly what is demanded is a business and enterprise level focus in addition to the technical.
Moreover, these challenges are not only technical but also cultural in nature and it may be useful to describe at a survey level this "new" future in terms of the new initiatives that are now increasingly required including component-based development and applied software engineering, specification-based testing, test coverage and analysis technology, design for test principles, various predictive software and profiling analysis techniques and approaches, and full life-cycle application testing activities and methodologies as well as a concentrated focus and emphasis on the various quality and testing ˘states÷ as part of these initiatives.
The future of quality demands nothing less.
Mr. Drake is a software systems quality specialist and management and information technology consultant for Integrated Computer Concepts, Inc. (ICCI) in the United States. He currently leads and manages a U.S. government agency-level Software Engineering CenterĂs quality engineering initiative.
In addition, he consults to the information technology industry on technical management and software engineering and code development issues.
As part of an industry and government outreach/partnership program, he holds frequent seminars and tutorials covering code analysis, software metrics, OO analysis for C++ and Java, coding practice, testing, best current practices in software development, the business case for software engineering, software quality engineering practices and principles, quality and test architecture development and deployment, project management, organizational dynamics and change management, and the people side of information technology.
He is the principal author of a chapter on ˘Metrics Used for Object-Oriented Software Quality÷ for a CRC Press Object Technology Handbook published in December of 1998. In addition, Mr. Drake is the author of a theme article entitled: ˘Measuring Software Quality: A Case Study÷ published in the November 1996 issue of IEEE Computer. He also had the lead, front page article published in late 1999 for Software Tech News by the US Department of Defense Data & Analysis Center for Software (DACS) entitled: ˘Testing Software Based Systems: The Final Frontier.÷
Mr. Drake is listed with the International WhoĂs Who for Information Technology for 1999, is a member of IEEE and an affiliate member of the IEEE Computer Society. He is also a Certified Software Test Engineer (CSTE) from the Quality Assurance Institute (QAI).