Understanding When a Software Product is Stable

Understanding When a Software Product is Stable

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Determining the stability of a software product is a crucial aspect of software testing and quality assurance. Stability, in the context of software, refers to the product’s ability to run consistently without crashing and to maintain its behavior over time despite incremental updates and patches. This article will guide you through the criteria to consider when declaring a product stable and how to navigate known bugs.

Defining Software Stability

From a tester’s perspective, a stable software product is one that runs consistently without crashing. It is important to acknowledge that achieving a 100% bug-free product is virtually impossible. There can be various types of bugs that remain hidden, including:

  • Bugs of implementation
  • Bugs of unclear specification
  • Bugs of poor documentation
  • Bugs of misunderstood requirements
  • Bugs of portability
  • Bugs of testing

Given this reality, bug trackers, reports, and subsequent releases are essential tools in managing software stability.

Stability vs. Shippability

In software development, the term “stable” often means that the product’s behavior does not change with patches or bug fixes. However, from a testing perspective, it is more practical to consider whether the product is “shippable” or “releasable.” The key question to ask is: What can we do to gain more confidence in the product so that it can be shipped?

Once the testing phase cannot identify any more realistic efforts to increase quality, the product can be pushed to user acceptance. Ultimately, users will provide the final verdict on whether it is stable enough for production.

Contextual Criteria for Stability

There are no universal criteria for when a product is ready to release. The decision depends on the context of your business goals and customer expectations. For example, a first-release website for uploading cat photos will have different stability criteria than a mature banking application.

Deciding on these criteria is usually a group decision involving sales, customer support, marketing, developers, testers, and operations staff. Each group brings a unique perspective on customer risk tolerance and the technical impact of potential problems.

Practical Examples

Consider a mobile application for financial transactions. Stability in this context might mean:

  • No critical bugs affecting transaction accuracy
  • Consistent performance under load
  • Compliance with regulatory standards

On the other hand, a social media app might prioritize:

  • High availability and uptime
  • Fast response times
  • Minimal crashes or freezes

Leveraging No-Code Solutions for Stability

Ensuring the stability of your software product can be streamlined with the right tools. Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android, offers a fast and effective way to create, run, and maintain automated tests for your apps. Repeato leverages computer vision and AI to simplify the testing process, making it an excellent choice for quality assurance teams looking to quickly edit and run tests without extensive coding knowledge.

For more information on how Repeato can enhance your testing strategies, visit our documentation or explore our blog for additional insights.

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