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Time to Ramp-up Your Efforts towards Non-functional Requirements

  • 28/09/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

No doubt, most enterprises have increased their focus on software testing and a significant part of their IT investments go towards quality assurance. Most project teams today implement various testing methods like unit testing, system testing, integration testing, and so on that focus on the functional requirements of an application/software. But, there is a hollow in the quality assurance processes of enterprises in non-functional requirements. With the growing threat from the hackers, rising customer expectations, and pressure from regulatory bodies to meet the compliance requirements, there is a need for enterprises to increase their focus on non-functional aspects like security, reliability, usability, performance, portability and maintainability of the applications/software.

Waiting till the end of the software life cycle to run non-functional tests will often result in rework, increased costs and delay in delivery. Specific focus should be laid on non-functional requirements right from the early stages of the project. Enterprises must make sure that their applications work acceptably under heavy-load conditions, meet user expectations for reliability, usability, and efficiency, and enhance maintainability of the applications, while ensuring utmost security. Most enterprises often fail to appropriately define their non-functional requirements.

A formal set of requirements must be defined for all the pertinent non-functional characteristics of the application and should take into account the needs and opinions of all the stakeholders involved. Requirements should also be refined on a regular basis to cater to any changing requirements of the project. The target level for each of the non-functional attributes must be brought down and everyone in the team including testers, developers, and business analysts should work towards meeting them. Business analysts will have a higher role to play in defining accurate and complete requirements as they work closely with business stakeholders and have direct knowledge of the business processes.

Apart from the requirements, design forms the key for non-functional requirements. It is essential for enterprises to focus on applications’ design and architecture to make certain that the proposed design will deliver the needed capabilities as well as ensures compliance with several non-functional aspects. Ensuring that all the organizational requirements are met and measuring the efficacy of all forms of testing is a time-consuming process if done manually. Implementing non-functional tools such as stress testing and code coverage tools will provide sufficient insights into performance, code coverage and the application quality. Overall, an effective QA framework along with commitment from all involved in the project will help enterprises to launch an application that will satisfy all the non-functional requirements.

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