Product Quality in Software Development: Quality Assurance at MailStore

Daniel Weuthen, Director of Engineering
“Stability and Performance are the results of our focus on quality,” says Daniel Weuthen.

“At MailStore, quality assurance begins with the quality awareness of each and every employee,” says Daniel Weuthen, Director of Engineering at MailStore. “When we develop our software, we aspire to a particularly high level of quality covering all stages of the development process.”

Stability and Performance: The Fruits of our Focus on Quality

MailStore’s customers appreciate the excellent performance and stability of the software. This is especially important when it comes to ensuring that emails are always available in the case of an audit and thus archived in an audit proof manner. But fully functioning software also enables a company to address the latest important challenges in IT, such as digitalization. “In our day-to-day operations, we benefit from the fact that the software is always available and requires very little maintenance. This means we can focus on the current challenges we’re facing in IT,” says Thomas Böhm, System Administrator at Beck+Heun, summarizing the additional advantages of having top-quality software.

Quality Awareness is Part of our Corporate Culture

But how can a mid-sized company like MailStore ensure that its software is kept at a constantly high level? The answer is by combining the aforementioned quality awareness of every employee involved in software development with a rigorous quality assurance (QA) policy. Indeed, MailStore subscribes to the axiom that “Quality awareness is part of our corporate culture”. It goes without saying that we also abide by conventional rules of QA and these are reflected in various processes at MailStore and form a multi-level system.

Quality Assurance throughout the Development Process

For example, following the credo of agile software development, we review our software for errors in parallel to the incremental software development process. Through a combination of automated (e.g. REST API testing and unit tests) and manual testing as well as peer code reviews performed throughout the development process, the development team ensures that the quality of the end product is as high as possible and prevents serious errors from being identified only at the end of the development process, which could lead to a new version not being released on time. “The sooner we find an error, the sooner we can recover it and minimize the risk of a serious issue jeopardizing the target release date,” explains Constantin Weiss, Software Quality Engineer at MailStore. “Thanks to our multi-level review process, we end up with a highly stable product with excellent usability. Our QA processes ensure that MailStore customers receive a good product that they can use without problems.”

Seeing Things through the Customer’s Eyes

QA team at work
QA is Teamwork

It’s clear, therefore, that MailStore’s QA team tries to look at a product through the eyes of the customer. “Is the software currently in the state the customer is expecting?” This is the key question of the QA process in which an exploratory test is conducted to see whether a new feature does exactly what it is supposed to, and to identify any weaknesses that could impair the intended functionality. As such, the job of quality assurance at MailStore is to ensure that customers get a product that fulfills our pledge of providing reliable, low-maintenance software for email archiving that meet regulatory requirements

Nevertheless, should a version of MailStore’s software contain errors (and software experts agree that this is something that can never be entirely ruled out), the following predefined process is triggered: When a customer reports an error, the problem is initially categorized and evaluated. If it transpires that the issue has its origins in the software, a plan of action to recover the error is drawn up and regression tests conducted to prevent the glitch from reoccurring.

In this way, MailStore is able to ensure that its software works properly, that archived emails remain secure, and that customers are completely satisfied.

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