I went last week, the 20th March 2014 to the first Mobile Quality Crew in Berlin. This meetup was organized by The ASQF (Arbeitkreis Software Quality und Fortbildung e.V). The ASQF is a group of professionel that discuss Software Quality for different themes:
- Medical engineering
- Mobile Quality
- Project Management
During this first meeting Patrick Spitzner, international quality manager for Paypal germany has given a speech about Quality in Mobile Application. First he presented the different challenges that a company can meet while developing mobile applications:
- Native or web app: should be the app developed in HTML5 or using the native SDK of the OS?
- Fragmentation of OS and Devices: which OS version and screen resolution must be supported?
- Power Consumption: it is necessary to check that the app will not reduce too much the battery life.
- Test environment: how can be the app tested? What are the required tools? Testing the app can be tricky, as sometimes some features can only be tested in production. For instance if you need an active bank account.
Then Patrick gives some key points to define quality. Actually quality isn’t just about bugs but also some other points that the end-user can “feel” like:
- Broken Functionalities
- Graphical Handovers or Transitions
- Overall performance and reliability
- Unintuitive flows
There are also some other points that directly concern the developers as: Error handling, collateral damages or unusual edge cases.
It can also happens that the quality break comes from an upper department like Marketing that completely missed the market needs.
Finally, the presenter mentioned the classical problems in the Quality Processes. How to handle the issues found by the end-user/customer? How to find time to fix them? How to avoid being publically exposed, which could lead to a company image loss?
The conclusion of all of that is: Quality is not an afterthrought! It is necessary to be early on it, from the start of the project. A quality check must be even done on the functional specifications to discover inconsistencies.
After the presentation, we had a small round of questions and then came the Pizzas, it was time for the 40 participants to eat and discuss about quality and testing :).
It was an excellent meetup, well organized with interesting topics, even if I missed a little more technical details about processes and tooling. I will continue to go there and maybe hold myself a presentation about Code Quality, let’s see what happens during the next meeting that is planned the 15th Mai 2014. It will be a webinar about: Best Practices in Mobile App Testing. If you want to have an overview have a look to the video (unfortunately in German) on Vienna Mobile Quality Crew Blog.