As a mobile solutions partner, Copper Mobile offers a range of services to our clients. Depending on an individual client’s business problem, market position, competitive landscape, etc., the services we proscribe for any given problem will differ. In our sales process, we will sit down with a prospective client to really learn their company and understand their business problem to ensure that we are working together to solve their problem effectively and efficiently.
Once Copper Mobile has mapped out a mobile strategy to accomplish those goals, we present that to the prospective client. Along with that presentation comes an hours estimate. By that I mean that we look at all of the stages of planning, design, development, etc. and predict how many man-hours each stage will take. We do this in order to both generate a time-to-market schedule for the client to review, as well as a quote for what the prospective engagement is likely to cost.
Within this hours estimate, one of the biggest questions we always receive comes with the allocation for QA (Quality Assurance for anyone that might not know that particular abbreviation). Clients almost always ask us whether or not it’s really necessary, do we need to budget that many hours for it, why isn’t it just a part of development, etc. But, one very high profile snafu within the past week serves as a perfect example of why we take such a holistic, systemic and dedicated approach to QA.
Many articles have been written about Apple over the past couple of weeks, and rightly so. Whenever they announce new hardware, it has widespread repercussions for the mobile space. Apps have to be redesigned for different phone sizes; they need to be updated to work seamlessly with newer operating systems, etc. But, even a technology giant with essentially limitless developer resources can make preventable mistakes because of problems in QA.
In the original iOS 8 launch, there was an issue with HealthKit, a new suite of apps on the iPhone that interface with Apple’s “Health” app and are dedicated to health and wellness tracking, in addition to numerous other bugs in the newly launched OS. So, in typical Apple fashion, they sought to rectify these issues as quickly as possible. They launched 8.0.1 on Wednesday of this week, and that’s when the bigger problems surfaced. Updated iPhones started losing cellular service altogether, the fingerprint scanning touch ID stopped working, among a number of other reported issues. The problem was so widespread that Apple ended up pulling the update altogether, which is beyond rare for the technology giant.
Now, this isn’t to bash Apple. I truly do understand their desire to fix issues as quickly as they crop up. But, rushing through the QA stage, either in the initial launch or in the patches you publish later, almost always ends with serious issues — not so much for you, but rather for your customers. Now, the iPhone 6 has been wildly successful so far, selling more than 10 million units in the first weekend, so it’s not like this is a death knell for Apple. But, issues like these can be prevented with a deeper commitment to QA.
At Copper Mobile, we budget more hours for QA than many other firms in the mobile space. It’s not just a phase at the end of our development lifecycle where we run a few tests and send our clients on their way. We have baked QA into every single step within our development methodology to ensure that we have a continuous feedback loop throughout the entire development process. That way, we can catch issues earlier in the process and prevent system-wide bugs from promulgating.
We are deeply committed to QA because it prevents problems from metastasizing for our clients. By prioritizing QA as aggressively as we do, we’re hoping that we can prevent headaches like Apple has suffered this past week from afflicting our clients. Now, software is a fickle beast and even the very best solutions providers can make (or miss) minor mistakes. But, by committing to QA as fervently as possible, we try our level best to find and solve problems before our client, or their customers, ever have a chance to experience them.