In Project Management, the terms Quality Assurance and Quality Control are often used as synonyms. However, there are still quite a few differences between both. 

In an overview, quality assurance (QA) is a set of activities ensuring the high functionality, productivity, and quality of products by removing any defects that may occur during the development of any custom software application or product. In comparison, quality control (QC) refers to the actions where the final product or software is inspected to ensure the highest quality. And both of these steps are crucially important for the success of any product or software. You can’t launch a faulty product in the market because your brand’s reputation and reliability are always at stake. 

Let’s understand QA and QC roles under the umbrella of project quality management in detail. 

Project Quality Management

Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are both significant components of Project Quality Management and are used in different industries, including software development. 

For example, in software development, the main goal of Quality Assurance is to track the performed process and prevent any defects during primary development. On the other hand, Quality Control is there to detect several possible risks associated with the final product.  Both aspects bind together and will improve and ensure the development of successful software.

Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control 

In the software developer environment, quality assurance and quality control play the most crucial role. The purpose for both is the same, however, with different approaches. Let’s understand the role of each in detail and how these both processes work hand in hand in quality management.

Duration

Duration is the first and yet the most critical difference between QA and QC. Quality Assurance is a process that’s implemented throughout the designing and development stage. In contrast, Quality Control is initiated at the completion or final stages when the product or software is ready and fully developed. So, consider QA to be a prerequisite of QC that needs to be completed before reaching quality control.

Focus

Quality Assurance focuses on process-oriented practices, such as how the software is being made, what tools and steps are being taken, how it will be delivered, etc. The QA process is bound to follow specific standards and methods based on software and customer requirements. On the other hand, Quality Control is a product-oriented practice that solely focuses on the final product/software. While testing the product, it also ensures that all the required standards were followed correctly.

Goal

In software app development, the ultimate goal of quality assurance is to avoid and prevent any defects (bugs, etc.), while quality control is accountable for identifying bugs at the final validation of the software. In short, verification should be considered as QA’s goal and validation as QC’s goal.  

Responsibility 

In a quality assurance process, apart from a QA engineer or analyst, multiple team members are involved in identifying and preventing defects during the software development process. Thus, the quality assurance team is responsible for the full software development life cycle. On the flip side, the testing team would be responsible for the software testing life cycle in the quality control process.

Final Thoughts 

A clear understanding of the aspects of quality assurance and quality control for everyone involved in the project, let it be designers, developers, or stakeholders, can help minimize the defects. It also helps create a useful project and quality management plan, ensure the development of high-quality products and/or software, and ultimately preserve the clients’ trust.

At Odyssey Computing, we take the development of software very seriously, and our quality management team ensures that every standard and requirement is being met during the quality assurance and quality control process to provide defect-free software to our clients.

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In today’s rapidly evolving technological world, web development standards and trends sometimes change faster than they can be implemented. And for this varied purpose, web developers must stay a step ahead of the game. That is why, to keep up with the ever-evolving web trends, our web development team always stays vigilant and well-prepared to create fully functional futuristic web apps for the clients.

The future of web development is based on a blend of digital and ordinary concepts like never before. After discussing the possibilities with our fellow designers and developers in the community, we have gathered some noteworthy web development trends for 2021. Let us explore the future that this sphere holds for us.

Advanced Animations

Animation has always been an integral part of the design industry. However, the use of advanced animations, including interaction design in web development, has increased year after year. From micro-interactions to particle backgrounds, we have witnessed it all. The web animations in 2021 are expected to be more complex yet exciting in terms of dividing the page elements into the foreground and background interfaces, creating interactive design experiences, incorporating floating typography, or crafting a unique 3D parallax effect.

The purpose of interactive animations is to create a brand message that is supported by interactive design features. Since the future is all about engagement, it is important to have the right set of animations that can really spice up your website design and subsequently improve user interactions.

Furthermore, the merger of foreground and background elements in websites will also benefit user engagement; by transmuting the web pages into somewhat closer to a theatre stage, where everything looks up-close and appealing to the eyes. The overall placement and functionality leave a memorizing experience where users are drawn into the resounding performance of different animations working together to present a greater view.

This is something that you can always integrate into your future web apps to stand out and because, by the end of the day, the intent is to hold the users’ attention by presenting your brand’s message the right way.

AI Dev – Artificial Intelligence Development

We know artificial intelligence has been making its way for the past many years, but now it has evolved into a mastermind. Mimicking human interactions and actions by learning them through technology is remarkable. Integrating artificial intelligence in the development of web apps is something crucial for its sustainability in the future. Having a chatbot installed in your web apps can give you leverage over your competitors. You can enhance the user experience by improving web functionality based on data received through chatbots.

Businesses can literally boost their presence by involving AI. From enhancing user experiences using chatbots to creating self-learning algorithms for coding. The possibilities are unlimited. Your business can always stay a step ahead by having web apps that are supported by Ai features.

Having AI chatbots and virtual assistant apps would be the next big hit in 2021 for businesses.

Comfortable Color Schemes

Having comfortable color schemes is the need for today’s web world. With the increase in digital space use, most people spend time in front of screens, scrolling web pages, social platforms, blogs and news websites, etc. Thus, it is not surprising to see that users face eye strain by constantly staring at the web screens for a longer period.

Being a responsible team of web designers, we have been taking this into consideration while preparing for our clients’ websites. The year 2021 is all about creating a concerned and comfortable web experience for users by ensuring that all elements are placed in the right composition, by using color schemes on the lighter side that does not leave an unpleasant experience.

With the introduction of a dark theme this year, in 2021, web designers will be more focused on thinking outside the two extremes – light and dark mode by creating a middle ground to create websites with subtle and cool colors.


Website Design and Development for a Cause

In 2020 the internet has become a refuge for both brands and users (in need). With Covid-19, everything has changed. The patterns in which industries used to operate have been affected. Thus, over the past few months, brands were required to develop sustainable platforms and actionable plans for user engagement and sustainability.

We have seen the internet becoming the top hub for online-conferences, social gatherings, meetings, classes, and whatnot. This pushed the web designers to develop innovative, meaningful, and easy-to-navigate designs considering the audiences who weren’t dependent on online platforms before. And this was just the start. In 2021 we are looking to have websites with impactful designs and functionality that highly resonate with the changing social and environmental issues.

Final Words

In 2021, we plan to continue by providing value-added services to businesses and helping the world through these unfortunate troubled times. If you are looking to revamp your web app, need a new website, or a customized software for management, then feel free to get in touch. Our team at Odyssey Computing would be happy to assist.

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When we think of artificial intelligence (AI), images of smart robots patrolling the streets or taking over manufacturing production lines undoubtedly come to mind. We can thank Hollywood for that. The thing is, AI can be used for so much more than manual tasks. In fact, the software-based robots of today are set to revolutionize the way in which businesses are conducted, automating tedious administrative tasks that can take up a large proportion of our work days. This automation, known as robotic process automation, will allow businesses to shift focus from menial tasks to more complex and strategic necessities through custom software development.

How it Works 

By watching what we do, software machines can learn to fill in forms, document tasks, generate reports, and more. Not only that, but with more efficiency and significantly less error than we human counterparts. In fact, zero error. Yes, I said it. None. Essentially, any high volume, rules-driven, repeatable business process can be automated, giving your enterprise a significant competitive edge. Below we outline some of the advantages of robotic process automation for your enterprise through custom software.   

Accuracy 

Robots never get tired or hungry. They don’t take bathroom breaks or rely on copious amounts of coffee. They are programmed to follow rules. They are consistent. They are compliant. They don’t make mistakes. Imagine the significance behind these words and the implications for your business. Even your best employee can and will make a mistake. Multiply these mistakes by the number of people performing these tasks. With robotic process automation, the same work can be performed 100% error free. Improved quality means higher satisfaction and increased profitability.  

Cost Savings 

Beyond accuracy, robotic process automation can deliver immediate and significant cost reductions. Menial tasks that once took minutes for an employee to complete can be reduced to seconds. Not only are you saving wages, but saving costs due to improved enterprise efficiency. After all, increased output for less, means a better bottom line.    

Scalability  

Unlike we humans, robots are capable of performing a significant amount of tasks in parallel.  Additional robots can be deployed over time as needed, whether it be seasonally or as demand increases, or reduced given fluctuations in workloads. No additional hires or layoffs needed. Robotic process automation is fully scalable, depending on workload flux.   

Increased Productivity  

I know what you are thinking…some may argue their concern over the reduction in jobs related to these kinds of automated tasks. The truth is, it actually frees up time for value-added activities previously not possible, increasing productivity and efficiency of current employees. Survey any one of your employees and I guarantee you they would LOVE to be free of some of their busy work. 

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As thousands upon thousands of employees have officially relocated from their cubicles to makeshift home offices during the coronavirus outbreak, now more than ever employees are reliant upon enterprise software to communicate with colleagues and operate remotely. Amid the public health crisis, a new era has emerged for employee enterprise software. For many businesses this experience has not been an easy transition as they scramble to arm their employees with all the tools necessary to operate effectively outside of the office. This should serve as a wakeup call for some to focus less on day to day operations and more on long term resiliency through a technology enabled business plan. Now is the time for businesses to expand their digital workplaces and remote access in order to become capable and competitive into the future. After all, the businesses of the future will be reliant upon the ability to work quickly, efficiently, and securely via remote working capabilities, not just during public health crises, but as the world shifts ever more in favor of teleworking. 

Right now, many businesses are relying upon third party platforms and tools to facilitate remote teleworking capabilities beyond standard phone and email. From sharing documents, to videoconferencing and chat, there are a host of tools out there to help enable these types of features for the enterprise. Utilizing third party tools is a sufficient means to operate in the short term, but less than ideal overall. Below we will outline a handful of reasons utilizing off-the-shelf solutions is not the best investment in the long term.  

Firstly, there is a lack of unity. Utilizing a handful of different tools and platforms creates a fractured infrastructure. Essentially, there is a lot of friction involved when moving between tasks, reducing productivity.   

Secondly, there is little opportunity for customized features specifically tailored to a company’s specific needs and requirements. Businesses are simply forced to choose between what is readily available, often including unnecessary features and functionality.  

Thirdly, the cost of subscription services and software tools may seem cheap in the short run, but add up over time. Like renting a home, your money could be better spent actually owning the property. Custom software development involves an initial investment but once it’s built its yours. No more throwing money away on licenses or wasted features that aren’t utilized.  

With all this in mind, custom enterprise software development is the ideal long-term solution as it allows for a centralized channel of task management and communication, specifically tailored to the enterprise, with the best return on investment. It may initially seem daunting, but working with a knowledgeable and experienced enterprise software development company can make the process so much easier. 

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According to Statista, the big data market is expected to reach $103 billion by the year 2027.  This isn’t all that surprising, as internet users are said to generate a couple quintillion bytes of data every single day! It’s captured everywhere, from emails, smart devices, mobile applications, web applications, social media accounts, surveys, you name it. Those that are able to accurately capture and transform this data in meaningful ways through custom software applications will have tremendous advantages into the future. These big data processing tools provide a host of advantages, from risk management and predictive analytics, to tremendous insight into consumer behaviors and more. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Below we will outline a few industries that are set to be entirely redefined by big data in the days to come.    

Healthcare  

Big data is having absolutely profound effects on medicine as it is revolutionizing the way healthcare practitioners identify and treat illnesses. By harnessing big data, healthcare is striving to better understand each individual patient as much as possible and as early as possible in order to better identify early warning signs and treat illnesses before they become more serious and more expensive to treat. Overall, big data has incredible implications for our global community as doctors are able to both significantly improve our overall quality of life as well as prevent avoidable deaths. One of the greatest examples is in the human genome space. Given recent technological advances, clinicians are able to diagnose and treat deadly illnesses like never before as the delivery of genetic information has reached unprecedented speed and accuracy. This is largely due to custom data analysis software applications that, coupled with hardware, are able to conduct genetic profiling in just a fraction of the time and expense. We are fortunate enough to have partnered on a few of these projects and couldn’t be prouder!   

Retail  

When it comes to retail, understanding your customer base and anticipating their wants and needs is the key to big sales. Fortunately for retailers, big data is providing just that. Retailers are essentially sitting on a gold mine of opportunity. Those with a data-first strategy aiming to more thoroughly understand their customers and match them with the right products will reap big rewards. The great thing is, data analytics can be utilized at every stage of the purchasing process, from predicting future trends, optimizing prices based on competition, to identifying which customers are likely to be interested in particular products and what they will want next. The opportunity is virtually limitless.  

Manufacturing  

Not surprisingly, data plays a big role in modern manufacturing as robotics and increased automation are reshaping manufacturing processes. Even on a smaller scale, data serves to transform more traditional manufacturing processes through embedded sensors in equipment. In doing so, manufacturers are able to capture invaluable data which allows them to monitor the health of the machines as well as output. For example, our client manufactures oven profiling hardware for electronics manufacturing. Essentially, by running their hardware through the thermal ovens, coupled with a custom web application for oven profiling, their customers are able to improve manufacturing efficiency while improving the quality of the end product. It’s a win win for everyone involved. 

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Successful custom software development relies upon consistent methodology and a well defined process. For this software developers utilize what is referred to as the software development lifecycle or SDLC. SDLC is essentially the process to development which aims to build the highest quality software as efficiently as possible. SDLC involves following a set of intricate stages which include strategy/planning, design, building, and deployment. There are a number of popular SDLC models, including the agile model, waterfall model, and spiral model. We will expand on those another time, as today we will focus on the stages and best practices of the software development lifecycle.  

Strategy and Planning 

This initial stage concentrates on defining the system to be built. For this you must ask yourselves what you want. During this stage its important to get input from all key stakeholders, from board members to end users. Anyone who has a vested interest in the product will likely have valuable input into what the software should provide. With valuable feedback, its time to define all the requirements. These are typically outlined in a detailed software requirement specification which outlines the overall plan for the project. It is important that the requirements are clear and well defined in order to set a solid foundation for the project.

Design

This stage utilizes the software specification documentation to define a detailed roadmap of features and functionality known as user interface design. Designers typically begin the process through intricate wire-framing which showcases screen layouts and the movements between screens. It’s all about creating an ideal user experience. Once screen functionality is well defined, graphic designers can transform the blueprints into rich visual screens. These screens will become the basis for the development.  

Development 

This next stage is when coding actually begins. Given the previous stages were completed in thorough detail this process should be smooth and efficient. Developers utilize the visual designs to implement features and functionality. Testing should be done as software development proceeds, not when it finishes. This is crucial, as it is vitally important to catch issues as coding progresses in order to cut down on unnecessary additional development time. 

Deployment 

Now is the time to get your product in the hands of users! Congrats! But your work isn’t entirely complete. Once users are able to log some time it is important to ask for feedback. Maybe there are some features that could use an adjustment, or functionality that is not streamlined enough. There is always opportunity for improvement for the increased satisfaction of your users. Continuous improvement will help to increase and maintain engagement. 

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Sourcing the right custom software development company can sometimes be a daunting process. You recognize a need, but where do you go from there? After all, building custom software is not exactly as simple as shopping for a car. And even then you are met with a wide variety of options, from luxury trims to differing sizes, engines, and efficiency. With something as potentially expensive, time consuming and sensitive as custom software development, it is important to find the right fit in a development team. One that understands your business as well as your unique needs, requirements, and objectives. With that in mind, here are a few tips for hiring the right software development partner. 

Experienced

When vetting potential software development companies, make sure to take the time to thoroughly analyze their existing portfolio. If you are looking to build a web app, make sure they have ample experience building scalable web applications. Better yet, look for companies with similar experience in your industry. If you are a healthcare provider, for example, custom software development will likely involve compliance issues given HIPAA’s regulations regarding personal health information. Finding a software development company experienced in this space will not only be important to the overall success of the project, but will also likely reduce the time and costs associated with development. They’ve been there, know exactly what to expect, and how to build it. Also, make sure to find someone with a long history of successful software development projects. Choosing a more seasoned firm will not only increase your chances for a successful product, but give you the satisfaction of knowing you are in confident hands.  

Local 

Off-shore (outside of your country) software development can often be a tantalizing prospect to first timers given seemingly cheaper costs. After all, labor cost disparities between developed and developing countries can be substantial. While at first glance off shore development may seem like a no brainer (after all who doesn’t love saving money!) there are some potential drawbacks one must consider. Firstly, distance. Working with a partner overseas can create challenging barriers to the software development process. Differing time zones, working habits, expectations, and cultural barriers can be challenging to overcome. Secondly, there is no guarantee of delivery. Sourcing a firm overseas comes with risk. You honestly never know who is behind the screen, literally, and what their true capabilities are. In fact, overseas companies often hire unexperienced developers in order to meet demand. Lastly, there is something to be said about seeing the whites of your software development partners eyes. Sourcing a local firm who can meet for regular updates as to development progress and feedback is priceless. 

Communicative

Just like any successful relationship, communication really is key. When looking for the right fit in a software development company, look for those who are attentive and objective. They respond to and carefully consider your thoughts and questions. They are quick and thorough when responding to your needs. Also, find a firm which matches your communication style. If you find your team difficult to talk to or communicate with it will no doubt impede the overall process. It is important for both parties to be completely and unequivocally on the same page. It is a partnership, after all, and it should always feel like one. Don’t settle for anything less. 

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As we move through 2019, it is important to utilize these software development trends. The software industry is continuously growing and changing so staying on top of new trends is vital. These 5 software development trends are the most significant for the industry, but there are always new and evolving ones to keep an eye on.

Blockchain Moves beyond the Finance Industry

Blockchain technology has moved into other industries such as retail, healthcare, insurance, and IT. The expansion of this technology has led to better use cases, with greater variety. The increase in use cases, such as the secure distribution of information through smart contracts and identity management, will lead to further investments in blockchain.

Low Code Development Speeds up Application Building

This technology reduces the need for traditional hand coding, with the ability for coders to essentially cut-and-paste the pre-built features they desire. This industry is not brand new, but is rapidly growing in 2019 as platforms for this practice become more developed. This method of coding saves time, money, and training to due to it being less technologically advanced than traditional coding.

Microservices for All

Microservices will definitely become crucial for software developers, as we move forward. This enables the building of highly scalable applications thanks to increased security, quicker updates, and improved design capabilities.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Voice User Interfaces (VUI)

AI is taking a giant step into business, and quickly, making it one of the biggest software development trends. More business in various industries such as healthcare, hospitality, and e-commerce are utilizing AI based VUI. Not only is VUI used for customer interaction, but for work tasks as well. The use of AI software in the workplace will most definitely increase productivity.

Developing on the Cloud

Businesses are taking on more and more serverless cloud architectures which can support various software applications and lower the cost of operation. This is a huge advancement and helpful for developers who are having to worry less about even virtual infrastructure. Thanks to cloud service providers and several open source frameworks, software development will be forever changed.

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If you have read anything in the last few years having to do with software development, you have surely heard the term agile methodology tossed around here and there, as it has become the new standard for software development projects.  So much so that it is almost synonymous with software development as a practice.  If you have not, rest assured, you will shortly.  The main aim of this post, however, is to uncover the many nuances behind its popularity, as more than 80% of software development companies now rely upon it for the success of all their projects. For those of you still yet unfamiliar, agile software development refers to a set of development methodologies which focus on an iterative and collaborative approach to formulating software solutions.  The movement has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years given how successfully the approach works to refine and deliver a project over time. It involves a dynamic mix of continuous testing, planning, and integration to evolve a software solution in a way that is highly flexible.  It is exactly this adaptability which makes it so effective, and thus exceedingly popular.  In fact, even public sectors, which are often considered highly conservative and old school when it comes to their processes, are adopting agile given its vast benefits.  We will go over some of these main benefits below.

For starters, that agile method is less time consuming, and therefore results in faster development overall, given such active collaboration and communication among team members.  In addition, its flexibility allows software developers to continuously improve a project per all requirements.  In this way, it also acts as a relative safety net, ensuring no stone is left unturned as a project progresses.  It also assists in risk management as developers can identify issues and respond early on.  It’s highly cost effective as short milestones and deliveries allow for a fixed cost approach, while its transparency in frequent deliveries leads to greater customer satisfaction.  Lastly, and most importantly, quality is ensured by integrating testing throughout the life cycle of a project.  It is for these reasons agile methodology has become, and will likely stay, the development standard for software development companies far into the future.

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