Quality or Speed – Which One Should You Aim for in Development?

Picking One Over the Other

Speed and quality are surely the top goals any software development team aspires to. Speed can help you build an advantage over slower competitors while keeping your customer base engaged. Quality ensures you’re giving your users the best experience they can get with your software.

Unfortunately, aiming for both at the same time feels like a utopia. A speedy development can often sacrifice certain stages and instances necessary to ensure higher quality. Going for that higher quality takes time, which means that a quality-driven approach to development may trample any aspiration of having a faster time to market.

So, when you tackle a new software development project, you may feel forced to decide which one is the most important for you – speed or quality? Here, we’ll review some of the things you should keep in mind when making such a decision as well as some tips to make it easier for you to choose. 

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Speed As The Main Objective

The rise of Agile and DevOps methodologies and processes has had quite an impact on software development over the last decade. The idea of using an iterative approach to software development certainly sped things up while augmenting the development team’s flexibility and increasing the feedback instances that factor in a higher quality.

With agile development, companies can easily get results faster with a more-than-acceptable quality. However, these methodologies have been sometimes misinterpreted or poorly implemented, leading to an obsession with speed. Things got a little distorted, to a point where some teams started to think that they didn’t need dedicated QA teams anymore. Naturally, the ones that did that sacrificed quality because speed felt more important to them.

Is that a wrong approach? Not necessarily. While having a minimum level of quality is a must for any modern software, speed as a priority can be understandable for certain projects and goals, including:

• New features for social media engagement
• New product with no competition
• A strategic product or a new feature in a stagnant market

We can easily illustrate this with the infamous Facebook motto “Move fast and break things”, which basically means that you should develop new things as fast as possible and worry about quality later.

Facebook (and many other companies like it) were able to get away with that mentality because social media isn’t an essential service. The company’s main objective is to keep audiences engaged, so it made sense to launch new features as quickly as possible and adjust afterward while using the platform’s own users to test them.

The important thing you should keep in mind, though, is that you can’t focus on speed without regard for anything else. In fact, you need a solid QA by your side to help you achieve that minimum quality threshold you need for your software to be acceptable. This brings us to our next point.

What Are QA Services?

Here’s what you need to know.

The Process

In software development, Quality assurance (QA) is a procedure that aims to ensure the quality of the software being built. It focuses on improving the development process itself by continuously adjusting it. Thus, QA (which is also known as QA testing) defines the processes to create software, monitors the results produced by those processes, and adjusts them to make them more efficient and effective according to quality standards.


The Safekeepers of Quality

As you can see, the notion of QA is essential for quality, especially when using Agile methodologies. That’s because QA & testing services are the safekeepers of quality when you hit the gas during development. Making software testing an integral part of all the sprints in your software development life cycle is the only way you can be sure that quality consistently makes it into any quickly-developed software.


The Catch

Does that mean that using QA with an Agile methodology is enough to get both speed and quality? Not quite. While software QA services can certainly bring more balance to the scales, there will be times when it won’t be enough and you’ll need to have a different approach and slow down your development a little. Let’s see when.


Quality As The Main Objective

There are some projects (and even entire industries) that would be wise to focus primarily on the highest quality possible regardless of how long the development takes. That’s because there are certain digital products that deal with sensitive information or handle delicate tasks that can’t afford to fail. Some of them include:

  • Banking
  • Financial
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • IoT projects

All of them manage very sensitive and private data that needs to be handled carefully. This means that the software in charge of powering those industries need to boast a superb performance, a strong security level, and robust backup and remediation systems in case someone fails. Delivering all of those takes a lot of development time but, given what’s at stake, organizations in those fields prioritize quality over speed. 

So, it’s expected for these kinds of projects and industries to take a slower development pace to provide the team with the necessary time to thoroughly test the solutions they build. In this context, QA plays a crucial role to make sure that the processes you use during the software development life cycle are as efficient as they can possibly be.

QA plays a crucial role to make sure that the processes (...) are as efficient as they can possibly be.

A Speed And Quality Balance

As you can see, going for speed or quality depends on your business goals and your overall requirements. You surely noticed, though, that while you can’t achieve both at their highest level, you can aim for a balance that doesn’t entirely sacrifice one of them. QA services play a pivotal role in achieving that balance.

With QA and software testing in combination with Agile and DevOps processes, you can aim for faster times to market with improved product quality. Granted, you need to tightly integrate QA services into the development to make sure they aren’t overlooked. Thus, you can make way for continuous testing, which will have a significant impact on your final quality.

Some things to make this combination work more successfully include:

  • 1_soak_BDev_SRP_Numeros
    Plan QA instances from the get-go.
    Don’t try to jam QA afterward and don’t skip QA practices just because.
  • 1_soak_BDev_SRP_Numeros
    Include test automation.
    It allows you to run tests in regression, allowing you to focus on new features while automated testing takes care of the old features.
  • 1_soak_BDev_SRP_Numeros
    Use Parallel testing.
    Use solutions that can run scripts at the same time instead of sequentially, which can significantly reduce the time it takes to conduct unit, smoke, regression, and cross-browser tests.
  • Use pair programming instead of code reviews.
    Code reviews are great to ensure code quality but they can take a lot of time. You can get the same benefits in less time with pair programming.
  • Consider Test-Driven Development.
    TDD is a good alternative if you want to reduce your time to market since it relocated the tests to the development phase rather than conducting them afterward.

With these suggestions, your project can have the best of both worlds and you can start leaving behind the sterile speed vs. quality debate. Naturally, you’ll have to see how it all fits in the grand scheme of your project but with the help of an experienced team like those here at BairesDev, you’ll surely get what you’re looking for. 

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