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What can we learn about quality testing from J.D. Power and Associates?

KellyEmo on ‎07-09-2014 02:51 PM

Now that I am a mom, I pay close attention to where my car’s brand ranks on J.D Power and Associates annual Initial Quality and Dependability report. I’m sure many of you can relate to this. I love gaining peace of mind from things like that, and that in turn making my life as a parent just a little bit easier. But this year, the study caught my eye in a different way than it normally does. As I looked through this year’s edition, this headline popped out at me: “Initial Quality Problems Increase Due To New Technology.” The report states that this year, the average problems per 100 cars rose by three percent due mainly to new technology features automakers added to their latest models.


That got me thinking… Technology leading to quality issues – that sounds like something I would hear from testers. Then I wondered, could there be a parallel between cars and testing? After some thought, I found quite a few interesting and surprisingly relevant links between J.D Power’s report and the realm of testing. Here are my findings:


1: Technology is behind quality issues

In the car industry, “automakers are constantly trying to give consumers the new features and technology they want without introducing additional quality problems into their vehicles,” said David Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. Sound familiar? In testing, we are also always trying to deliver the apps our consumers want in the shortest amount of time—without bugs. The problem is that finding that delicate balance between quality and velocity of delivery—has always been hard to achieve. Many times, in order to deliver the application on time, we sacrifice the app’s quality by performing limited testing. Deadlines cannot be changed, but your testing capabilities can be.

Here are a few things that are under your control to improve application quality:

  • Having the top testing software/technology at your disposal,
  • Providing your teams training on the latest technologies and testing best practices
  • Integrating testing into your Agile and continuous integration development processes

Empowering these changes can mean the difference between providing your customers with quality assurance and adding more quality issues to their experience. 


Read more about testing best practices on the Future of Testing blog here.  


2: Your test environment and its conditions do matter


Certain regions report a higher rate of problems per 100 cars because of environmental factors and other conditions that can affect a car’s performance. The conditions your car, or in our case, application, is working in can also influence how well it performs.   One of the big factors for application performance is the network consumers use to access and interact with the application.  . Just like automakers need to test their vehicles in extreme conditions, we run our applications in simulated environments to make sure they function properly. This ensures the quality of each application.  Learn more about Network Virtualization here.


3: Even a single problem can affect brand loyalty

Although it may seem like one little problem, it could have a major effect. The quality study shows that owners’ brand loyalty drops five percent after experiencing a single problem, and up to ten percent with two! The same goes for applications. With over a million apps on the market, it only takes three seconds for a user to abandon an app and switch to another. This is just enough time for one error or bug to occur. So you have to make sure that your application runs as smoothly as possible. By solving problems during testing, you can give your app a greater chance of success—helping you retain customers in the process.


I hope you enjoyed my inspired (and hopefully unexpected) parallel between quality in the automotive industry and quality in applications. I enjoy drawing unexpected correlations (as we often discover in testing composite applications and integrations) and trying to find connections where one normally would not. But I want to know what you thought about it and whether you agree with the growing importance of quality and testing as we rapidly engage in the Internet of things.  


You can download Application Lifecycle Management here to see how it can help you with your applications! You can also learn more about HP ALM at the homepage here.


Leave me a comment below or tweet your thoughts directly to @HPSoftwareALM. For more insight on all things applications or ALM, be sure to visit our blog!

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About the Author


Kelly has over 20 years experience with enterprise systems and software in individual contributor and manager roles across product management, business development and product marketing. A majority of my focus has been in areas directly related to applications spanning from developer environments, enterprise Java, integration middleware, SOA infrastructure, SOA Governance and now application lifecycle management. Kelly has a B.S. in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the University of Santa Clara.

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