What are good practices for improving quality in a project new to me?



  • For the first time my team is going to take over a project from another company. Our goal is to improve quality - as I heard the project has a lot of bugs, UX issues and its performance is very low... Would you give me some ideas/best practices how to start the improvement strategy? IMO we should start with legacy bugs first but what processes/tools would be the best?



  • Start with understanding what works:

    • What data is valid ?
    • What data is used ?
    • What is successful ?
    • What are the variations ?
    • What are the users like ?
    • What are the long term business goals ?
    • What are the short term business goals ?

    Goals can be very different across industry, company stage, location, profit vs non-profit, etc. Learn what quality means to your company and then learn what the software does and then look at what are considered to be bugs. You'll approach them with the right mindset that way. Maybe losing 10% of users at signup isn't a bug 'cos competitors only reach 74% (lose 26%), etc.

    After some analysis, work with the current team to prioritize and tackle bugs. Be methodological about them and be sure to also do root cause analysis so more are not piling up. Remember that tests show quality but do not improve it, work on app code is needed for that. Also do postmortems for bugs going forward and use it to identify longer-term issues. Also consider technical retro's for design improvement idea generation.

    For any improvement strategy, measure it.

    Just don't use number of bugs please.
    Use project tools such as Jira, Pivotal Tracker, Trello, VSTS, etc. to not only handle tickets but to look at trends over time. Two long term ones to watch are effect on customers (more than just 'bug count' though, include severity and impact measures) and backlog count. It takes a lot of hard work, but over the long term these should stay 'flat' and not be always increasing. We'll add it to the backlog is one of the most comforting lies we make. I HAVE DONE THIS (avoided increasing counts - well, ok, lied about the backlog too), but only in about 10% of projects that had with a mature (software development experience wise) team and/or leadership.

    Improve quality, don't just add tests.

    Tests measure quality but don't improve it without further actions.

    Make sure your organization focuses on quality, of which testing is a small part:

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