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Volume 10, Number 23 -- June 22, 2010

Original Launches Overarching Tool for Quality Management

Published: June 22, 2010

by Alex Woodie

Original Software last week unveiled a new automated quality management (AQM) product that that's designed to help today's development shops write cleaner code, and to do it faster and with more transparency and oversight than before. Called Qualify, the new product provides a centralized place to manage and report on the flow of work done by other tools used in the quality assurance (QA) process--including Original's automated testing tools for i/OS applications--while providing better means for collaboration among QA stakeholders.

In the modern development shop, agility is the key. Gone are the days when a programmer or QA technician could spend his entire career using just a handful of tools that he mastered long ago. Today's rapidly changing IT landscape demands that the developer quickly incorporate new languages, tools, and techniques into his repertoire. Failure to adapt to these new technologies and techniques often means not meeting customer expectations of how an application should look and perform.

While new tools and techniques enable developers to create applications they could only dream of five years ago, the added complexity is taking its toll. Each new tool brings its own approach to the steps involved in the QA process--from requirements planning and resource management to regression testing and deployment--which further increases complexity and hurts agility. Add to that the tightening release cycles and higher customer expectations, and the need for improved management processes becomes obvious.

Attempts to manage this heightened complexity through Excel and first-generation AQM tools such as Hewlett-Packard's Quality Center have not proved fruitful, Original argues. They are not flexible enough to provide insight into the activities among multiple projects, nor can they adapt to the different development techniques that today's programmers might want to use.

When one considers that 25 percent of software development projects fail (according to a 2009 report by the Standish Group); that 84 percent of companies are unhappy with their quality management solutions (according to an Original study); and that bugs found late in the development cycle cost an average of $250,000 and 20 developer-hours (according to a recent Electric Cloud survey), there is clearly room for improvement upon the status quo in AQM.

Enter Qualify.

A 'Communication Backbone'

Original designed Qualify to be the primary tool for managing all of the processes involved in the development lifecycle. The product helps to integrate and coordinate the various phases of the development lifecycle, including requirements planning, scheduling, resource management, test execution, defect management, and reporting.

The vendor says Qualify was created to boost the efficiencies of IT development shops by breaking apart the various informational silos used by the different tools and techniques, and also being agnostic when it comes to the different development methodologies that developers may way to use (such as agile or waterfall).

Original describes Qualify as a "communications backbone" for QA and related tasks. The software integrates with Original's full range of automated and semi-automated testing tools, including TestBench for System i, TestDrive, TestDrive-Assist, and TestSmart. It provides a workflow mechanism that connects users with the tasks they have been assigned to complete using various tools. Users can stay on top of their tasks through e-mail, or even check on their projects using the smart phone interface Original developed.

The software gives managers a dashboard that reflects changes and updates on the status of their projects in real time. The dashboard also includes graphs for various measures of development and QA teams' efficiency. Managers can drill down from these metrics to view more detailed information, while logging ensures a historical record is kept of each project for later analysis.

Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software, says Qualify is well positioned to bolster efficiency. "With more complexity in IT projects and a need to respond faster to changing markets, development teams have had to adapt the way they work, requiring processes and technology to support the dynamic nature of their businesses," he states in a press release. "The absence of a holistic solution for ensuring quality when managing the software development lifecycle has been a bone of contention with the customers we speak with."

Pricing starts at $4,000 per user. More information can be found at www.origsoft.com.


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Original Launches Overarching Tool for Quality Management

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