Author: Ian Stewart
An essential part of producing staff scheduling software is quality assurance. That means to say that software companies must assure themselves that their scheduling software has an acceptable level of bugs before releasing it. Companies that write software for cars and airplanes must invest a lot of money to be absolutely certain that their software has no bugs, and developers that write software for their own personal needs can let there be as many bugs as they like; however, most software systems fall in between these two extremes.
The Business Analyst
Software’s life cycle begins at the “idea” stage, produced by business analysts in consultation with clients and developers. They create the specifications so that the developers know what kind of software they need to build. They, along with the UI/UX designers, must take care to design software specifications that are logical and that interact in a predictable way with the rest of the existing product. Some softwares have “features” that look like bugs to the end users, because of poor design.
Developers need to take care that their code is easy to reason about, so that bugs can be easily identified. The best way to catch bugs is at the abstract level, when a developer can reason about the behaviour of a program from its code and notice flaws. Code should also be reviewed by other developers. This forces the developers to keep their code logical and well-thought-out because they need to justify their decisions to other developers.
Developers must also test their code, but they cannot rely on testing to uncover all the bugs, because that cannot cover every scenario. If a settings page has 20 checkboxes which can each be independently on or off, then there are 220 (roughly one million) possible combinations of those options, which is too many to test.
The QA Analyst
Quality assurance (QA) analysts are an essential part of a software development team. They act as independent reviewers of the software. Often, developers can have a conflict of interest, because they want to make quality software, but they also want to put it out quickly so they may cut corners. Additionally, QA analysts have the tools to do many tests automatically that others may have to do manually.
The Security Analyst
QA analysts are mainly concerned with, “Does the software work properly when I use it as intended?” Security analysts, on the other hand, are concerned with, “Can I hack the software when I use it not as intended?” They are concerned with protecting their and their clients’ data from outsiders trying to get access. In various organizations, this role can be filled by development managers, QA analysts, developers or an independent group.