If you tune in to your favorite news outlet today, chances are you are going to hear about some impending risk. Maybe it is a 50-year storm, a pandemic, a recession, or environmental disaster. Sometimes it is easy to identify risk. Sometimes not. There is an old saying that a receding sea may not be the lucky offer of extra beachfront, but the warning sign of an upcoming tsunami.
Risk is inherent in all aspects of our lives. A business takes on risk with a new product launch. An adult takes on risk getting behind the wheel. Fortunately, we have learned how to mitigate risk, whether it is through purchasing insurance or washing our hands.
Mitigating Risk in Software Code
We introduce this topic because it shows us the importance of mitigating risks as early as possible. Risk mitigation is the case in software creation as well. It was nearly nine years ago that Marc Andreesen famously said that “Software is eating the world.” Since then, software has become embedded in our everyday lives. From the simple apps, we operate on our smartphones, to the operation of highly complex systems utilized in the financial world, we depend on millions of lines of code to work correctly. That is a tough order.
Every snippet of code that is introduced into a software application also adds an element of risk. As stated by the author, Nancy Leveson, flexibility is software’s miracle and its curse. Because it can be changed cheaply, software is continuously improved. A program that is thousand times more complex than another one takes up the same actual space. The more code you write, the more potential the risk.
The Risk of Bad Code
The inherent risk of writing code is genuine. In an article from the magazine, The Atlantic, dated September 26, 2017, the vivid picture illustrating the extent to which software is fallible was witnessed on a single summer day in 2015 when the following incidents occurred within 24 hours:
- United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system
- Trading suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after a software upgrade
- The website of The Wall Street Journal crashed
- Seattle’s 011 system went down due to a software code glitch running on a server in Colorado
We tend to take the software that runs our lives for granted, but we shouldn’t. In the end, code is created by people, which means that imperfections are bound to occur, not on purpose, but as a part of life.
The Importance of QA Testing
Whether you are introducing a new software platform, or simply deploying a feature update to an existing application, you need to mitigate the risk of newly created code. This is where QA testing comes into play. By using an Agile approach to software creation, you break these potential millions of coding lines into manageable units. An Agile methodology incrementally recuses risk with every iteration and release. Developing code in sprints ensures a short time between project investment and proof that the product works.
But the incorporation of incremental code creation is not enough. Automated Quality Assurance testing plays a vital role in risk mitigation. If inherent software bugs are a disease, then QA testing is the cure. QA testing can eliminate software risks. At the worst, it can reduce a potential pandemic glitch to that of the common cold. Automated QA testing can be implemented repetitively round the clock, testing and analyzing every newly introduced series of code. In the same manner that software code consumes the same amount of physical space regardless, the cost of continual QA automation is inconsequential. As is true of life so often, the cost of curing a problem down the road far exceeds the price of doing so in the beginning.
Xcelacore as your QA Provider
Most of us have a healthcare provider and hold some type of insurance policy to reduce our risk exposure. At Xcelacore, we want to be your QA provider and insurance policy, finding, diagnosing, and curing the potential software bugs and glitches that can plague your software code. We would love the opportunity to show you how our automated QA solutions can be an insurance policy for your code creation and add value to the application, reducing the risks of costly delays, support costs, and customer discontent. At Xcelacore, we aren’t just about technology innovation, we are about risk mitigation as well.