Software Quality:
When Apps Break

What do users do when they come across multiple bugs? They uninstall it. And what's a CEO's worst nightmare? Discovering app errors from users, not the development team. Software quality matters, but does ensuring it have to break the bank? Let's find out!

What is Quality?

Quality in software development is not a mere buzzword. At its core, quality refers to the degree of excellence in a product or its ability to meet predefined benchmarks. In the dynamic area of digital solutions, maintaining a high standard of software quality is not just a desirable attribute — it's a necessity.
Reputation at Risk
Picture this scenario: the once-reliable application now exhibits erratic behavior, leaving users frustrated and disillusioned. Such unreliability doesn't just inconvenience users; it has the potential to inflict irreparable damage to your company's reputation. In an era where user experience defines success, the fallout from a tarnished reputation can result in a loss of clients and market standing.

The Cost of Unmaintainability
Software is a living entity, and its vitality is often measured by its ability to evolve. However, adding a new feature to an unmaintainable codebase transforms a routine task into a financial trap. The repercussions extend beyond financial trouble; the time and effort expended on the improvement of the codebase could be better invested in innovation and progress.

Data in Danger 
Imagine a scenario where the infrastructure is improperly configured or lacks backups. The implications are severe. A single misstep, a server failure, and all that information could vanish. As an entrepreneur, you guess that the cost of data loss extends far beyond the monetary consequences.

Security Breaches and Legal Aftermath
Security flaws in software are not just technical glitches; they are potential gateways to legal trouble. Safeguarding against such flaws is not just a matter of compliance; it's a fundamental responsibility in the digital age.

Software Quality as an Investment

In software development, viewing quality assurance as an investment is paramount. While the aspiration is to attain the utmost quality, the reality is that ensuring perfection in every aspect incurs substantial costs. The associated overheads of comprehensive documentation, additional code, and extensive testing may not always be justified. Consequently, it becomes imperative for the product team to strategically identify and prioritize key areas. By doing so, the team can focus its efforts and resources on aspects that are of utmost importance, thereby setting clear expectations for the desired level of quality in those specific areas.

Free Software Quality Checklist

Identify areas that need more attention.

(functionality, reliability, maintainability, performance and security).

Spot hidden signs of low software quality.

Ensure you have error monitoring system in place.

Verify that your error notification system is functioning correctly.

Unseen Threats?
Not Anymore!

Download Full Checklist for a Quick Health Check

What Are The Software Quality Attributes?

There are different areas that term quality could apply to:

Hiring FAQ’s

  • Functionality & Usability: 
    Software should implement its functions according to the requirements, and it should be usable on a chosen platform.

    For software to meet quality standards, it must not only align with predefined requirements but also exhibit seamless usability on the chosen platform. These factors are often regarded as the core elements that bring tangible value to the end user. However, it is crucial to recognize that the significance of functionality and usability may vary based on the stage of the product's lifecycle. In the early stages, users tend to be more forgiving, understanding that the product is evolving and refining its features. Conversely, as a product matures and becomes a well-established, paid application, the expectations surrounding functionality and usability heighten. Users expect a refined and flawless experience, and any shortcomings in these areas may be less tolerated.
  • Reliability:
    The app should be dependable in its operation, at a level promised to the users. 
    The significance of reliability varies across different contexts. For a high-traffic e-commerce website, downtime is deemed unacceptable, as it directly impacts user experience and potentially results in financial losses. On the other hand, for an internal tool used sporadically by a small group, achieving a 99% uptime might be deemed acceptable, as the cost and effort to reach absolute perfection may not justify the benefits.
  • Performance:
    Software should work efficiently according to the use case.

    A laggy social media app? Users bail faster than you can say "uninstall." But let's be real, a 5-minute delay for a midnight report? Not the end of the world. It's all about context—speed matters where users need instant action, but a little patience is cool when it's report time.
  • Maintainability:
    The way of how software is built, should allow its further development and making improvements.

    How you build today sets the stage for tomorrow. Imagine this: adding a new feature to a well-crafted app—it's a smooth ride which is safer, quicker, and kinder to your budget. Now, flip the script and imagine diving into a forgotten codebase. A total nightmare, right? Investing in maintainability pays off,especially for projects still in the hustle. But, if you've got an internal tool taking it easy without much change, you don't need to go all-out.
  • Security:
    The software should protect data against unauthorized access, breaches, and other threats.

    Security is the digital guardian we all need. The deal here is making sure your software is Fort Knox against unauthorized access, breaches, and all those lurking threats. For a financial app, letting user data out in the wild is completely unacceptable. But, for a small utility script on a computer cut off from the internet, it's a different story. Security is crucial, no doubt, but the level of alarm depends on a particular situation. So, it's all about checking the threat level and wrapping your software in the right amount of "digital armor".

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.”

- John Ruskin

How to Know if the Quality of the Software Is Low?

Software is a complex ecosystem, and it’s often more than meets the eye. While users interact with the final product – be it a website oran app – the underlying components contribute to its overall quality.

Visible Signs of Software Performance Issues

Here are some visible symptoms that may indicate worse quality, discernible to end users: 
  • Bugs: The software doesn’t function as expected, manifesting in unexpected behavior. Previously resolved issues reappear over time, signaling potential underlying problems.
  • Dragging Dev Time:  Changes to the software become a cumbersome task, slowing down the development process. Incidents in the software development lifecycle start to feel like unending obstacles.
  • Downtime: Unplanned interruptions that disrupt the availability of the software (whether it's a hiccup in user access or a complete shutdown). 

Hidden Signs of Low Quality

While users interact with the visible face of software, certain critical areas might elude their attention. These components are, however, within the grasp of your development team. Here are some facets that might not be immediately visible but can be evaluated with your dev team:
  • Errors & Crashes: App crashes may go unnoticed until users report them. To stay ahead, it's wise to integrate error tracking software. This ensures that developers are promptly notified about each instance, allowing for taking action.
  • Technical Debt: Outdated libraries or components from years past could become susceptible to security threats over time. Detecting technical debt early on can prevent significant issues down the line. A sluggish development process may also signal a struggle with the codebase, often stemming from outdated technology. Keeping an eye on these aspects can aid in maintaining a healthy and efficient software development environment.

Free Software Quality Checklist

Identify areas that need more attention.

(functionality, reliability, maintainability, performance and security).

Spot hidden signs of low software quality.

Ensure you have error monitoring system in place.

Verify that your error notification system is functioning correctly.

Unseen Until They Break

Certain crucial elements often remain invisible until they encounter a glitch, and these primarily pertain to the robustness of the development process and its setup. Here are a few that typically stay under the radar until a hiccup occurs:
  • Backups: The backbone of data security, often overlooked until a critical loss occurs. Regularly testing and validating backup systems ensures they're ready to roll when needed.
  • Security: Prioritizing important security measures, including encryption and authentication protocols, is essential for defense against potential threats.
    - Firewall: The protective barrier of a firewall typically operates in the background, safeguarding against unauthorized access. Its significance becomes apparent only when breached, emphasizing the need for ongoing monitoring and reinforcement.
    - Secure communication: Establishing and maintaining secure communication protocols ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data, shielding it from potential vulnerabilities.

Need Help to Check Your App? 

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How to Improve Software Quality?

It might turn out that your app suffers from the low quality. Come up with a plan and tools needed to improve it. 
  • Documentation: Specifications, checklists, and user journeys with expected behaviors ensure standardized testing procedures. This consistency guarantees that your software is rigorously tested following the same instructions.
  • Automated tests: Developers can write unit and end-to-end tests, automating tasks traditionally performed by manual testers. These tests are not only repeatable but also consistently executed with high precision. With optimal test coverage, the entire app can undergo thorough testing after each codebase change, minimizing costs.
  • Monitoring and response plans: Dedicated software can monitor critical parameters of your app,promptly notifying you of any anomalies. Establishing clear response plans is crucial in determining who receives notifications during system downtime, and what actions are to be taken in the event of an app crash. This strategic approach ensures not only the detection of issues but also their effective handling.

How to Approach Quality Improvement in my Project?

Alright, let's talk about software quality best practices. Here's a step-by-step guide to steer your quality improvement initiatives.

Start Monitoring Your Software For Errors and Other Symptoms:

  • Plug in your APIs to the uptime monitoring software, such as Datadog or Statuscake.
  • Connect all system components to the error tracking software, such as Sentry or Crashlytics.
  • Determine the inquiry path:
    - Who gets notifications from monitoring software?
    - How do we handle certain alerts?
    - Who is responsible for resolving them, and how do we know they have been taken care of?

Adjust the process

Hiring FAQ’s

  • It’s impossible to fix everything at once, especially on a limited budget. But you can at least make sure that anything new that gets added to the platform will be done the right way. Determine the expected level of quality of certain areas, choose tools that work for you and incorporate them in your software development process.
  • When a new bug appears, fix it and immediately write an automated test, so it never happens again. If we build a new feature, let’s start with documenting its behavior.
  • Thanks to this approach, quality debt would not increase as you develop the platform.

Catch up on quality debt

  • Plan incremental increase: identify critical processes that are the most important to work on and prepare an action plan to bring them up to the new standard.
  • Allocate time in development sprints dedicated to do this work. It won’t get done if it’s treated as an optional, “after hours” task.


Quality, as John Ruskin aptly put it, is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort. It's an investment that pays dividends in user satisfaction, brand loyalty, and the longevity of digital solutions. Improving software quality is also not just a task; it's a strategic decision-making process that involves continuous monitoring, automated testing, and a commitment to addressing quality debt. As you embark on the journey to enhance your software's quality, remember that it's a step-by-step process, requiring adjustments to your development process and a dedicated effort to catch up on quality debt.

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