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Quality Assurance & Happy Stakeholders

Pleasing every stakeholder can be a problem in software development. Different people have different needs and desires. Some people may need certain functions while others want the application released as soon as possible. It’s important to realize that while it may not be possible to please everyone all the time, quality assurance is the best guarantee of happy stakeholders.
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Communication is the key to quality assurance. Information regarding the development cycle should flow openly across all the lines and people involved. While the end users may not need to know how to code, getting a clear and precise understanding of what end users need will help both with coding and design.

The rough spots in any development cycle are usually the points where communication has broken down. Somebody didn’t tell someone what that someone needed to know. This causes wasted time and frayed tempers. So, keep communication open and honest.

Clear product definition is a vital part of quality assurance. It’s impossible to assure the quality of an ill defined product. This is where project management steps in to make certain that everyone has the information they need to not only do their job, but to account for changes required by stakeholders and still get the software released on time. This isn’t always easy. So, a development workshop should be run before development commences in earnest.  

One of the best ways to make happy stakeholders is to make sure that the software under development meets the basic criteria for a fully functioning program. It must fulfill user requirements, function properly in the operational environment including successful interfacing with established software, and be easy to use. Meeting at least these requirements ensures that stakeholders will be happy with the final product.

Quality assurance is more than just running tests. It is a union of testing and management. It includes everything from the original documentation, through coding, project tracking and data collection. In short, it includes everyone involved operating as different members of the same team. Teams require leadership and a willingness by the participants to perform their functions without stepping on other people's toes. Ultimately, the best way to turn out a quality product and create happy stakeholders is to get and keep stakeholders involved in the software development process.

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