BFTE Solutions LLC: Quality, Reliability, and Agility to Redefine Software Engineering Services

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Samy Sikdar, Founder & Owner One can draw a parallel between successful global companies and their products based on particular acumen. Entities such as Apple and IBM in consumer electronics, Amazon in e-commerce, Oracle in enterprise software and Google in internet technologies are all well known to design and follow industry best practices in their development efforts. These practices—accepted or prescribed as the crucial element to success—mark the difference between the exemplary and the rest.

In this era of “digital transformation,” embracing the best practices in software development becomes all the more imperative for companies across industries. A bug-free software application is the primary differentiating factor for a company to gain a competitive edge in the market place. In the long run, best practices could spell the difference between success and bankruptcy. The challenge for companies, however, lies in achieving the optimum balance between quality and speed of application development and testing. According to a recent report, the software testing market is anticipated to record healthy growth, propelled by a rising need for cost-effective and efficient error detection mechanisms.

Helping companies attain the edge by infusing the “quality” factor into their software development and rollout cycles is BFTE Solutions. As a software engineering services leader with over 20 years of relevant industry experience working with startups to medium-sized organizations and leaders such as Oracle, VMware, Sony, and Rackspace, BFTE Solutions’ core focus is to balance quality delivery with competitive speed. “We try our best to leverage client’s in-house resources, and then bring our LEAN operation model to make them more self-sufficient,” states Samy Sikdar, founder and owner at BFTE solutions. BFTE Solutions brings time-tested know-how, proven techniques, and expertise that help companies effectively solve some of their core software development problems. Today, they help growth-oriented, fast-paced organizations scale their software engineering capabilities, by balancing quality, reliability, and agility.

The Nature of Software Testing

Many of the young, growth-oriented companies carry out major software releases once they enter the market. As the adoption rate goes up, the companies often receive requests from customers to quickly release improved versions of their original product. However, in the pursuit of high-speed release, especially in large-scale development cycles, quality often becomes an afterthought for companies.

As they move forward, the emphasis on quality becomes progressively less important, and less of an area of focus. The product quality becomes an objective that is only seen as the responsibility of the quality engineering team, and not as part of the product development schedule. Once the product adoption rate starts going up, the focus will turn into keeping up with the release velocity and getting features into customers’ hands in a timely fashion. That’s when the daunting task of juggling release frequency with quality starts to creep in, and, over time, it will become a sore point in the release decision-making process. “But throughout these processes, there need not be a trade-off between release speed and quality,” says Sikdar.

The Solution

“BFTE Solutions understands the challenges that growing companies face juggling between priorities and successful rollout of engineering wide initiatives that catalyze smooth product delivery with quality,” states Sikdar. With their time-tested and modern know-how, the company has identified key best practices along with proven techniques and expertise to help organizations and their leaders solve their core day-to-day engineering problems.

Some of these best practices and guided benchmarks have become industry gold standards in five areas that any company can adopt early on.

BFTE Solutions understands the challenges that growing companies face juggling between priorities and successful rollout of engineering wide initiatives that catalyze smooth product delivery with quality

• Test Automation:

As organizations replace traditional waterfall approach to software delivery with agile development, the need for accelerated release cycles arises to improve the quality of the applications and provide a better overall user experience. Achieving “quality at speed” then becomes the dev teams’ mantra du jour. Automated tests, therefore, need to be the number one priority to accommodate synchronous testing during “timeboxed” agile sprints, whether it’s for just unit or overall functional/component testing. Manual testing just won’t cut it and would cause a slip in schedule or push testing beyond developer sprints compounding engineering costs. “A well thought out automation testing strategy such as Mike Cohn’s ‘agile testing pyramid’ or any other model from the beginning can reap the benefits of finding defects early on and keep the engineering costs to minimal,” says Sikdar. “The cultural shift to continuous testing is a mandatory best practice for automated testing,” she adds.

• Quality Engineering:

Coupled with Test automation strategy, quality engineering best practices can be socialized with dev/testing teams alike at the earliest to cover the various testing efforts–unit, functional to integration, manual or exploratory, load, or performance testing. Also, InfoSec Validations are an integral part of the quality effort and can benefit from the ‘shift left’ approach. Equal importance needs to be given to the dynamic generation of high-fidelity software test environments that accurately represent the real-life complexity of production environments and pave the way to gaining a higher vote of confidence in the overall quality.

• Developer Productivity:

Developer productivity tools, processes, and frameworks are key areas to standardize early on with the engineering teams. Onboarding with the right set of end-to-end integrated, productivity tools - product planning, requirements gathering, agile development tracking, project management, defect, release, post-release monitoring, and incident tracking are essential to smooth product delivery. At the same time, supporting developer efforts by provisioning on-demand setups that mimic DevOps environments can help teams move closer to making quality releases.

• CI/CD Adoption:

There is a strong correlation between software released with continuous delivery (CD) approach and organizational performance. Embracing CD would translate to the adoption of 3 Cs – Comprehensive configuration management, Continuous integration, and Continuous testing. Successful CD approach encompasses built-in quality, releases in small batches, and automating repetitive tasks like regression testing and deployments wherever possible. Over time, teams experience lower change fail rates, levels of deployment pain, and reduced team burnouts and unplanned work, which is an important quality metric to track.
Also, close engagement with release managers can keep schedules on track along with monitoring major, minor, and unplanned releases via fully-developed release checklists.

• Software Development Metrics:

How do we measure quality in Software Engineering? While there could be multiple approaches, there are a handful of metrics that top engineering teams track, such as defect priority & severity, change failure rate, test coverage ratio, mean time between failures (MTBF) and mean time to repair (MTTR), defect removal efficiency or defect density to name a few. Additionally, velocity and process metrics can be effective in measuring the engineering team’s productivity. Whichever way metrics are utilized, tying internal Objective Key Results (OKRs), Key Risk Indicators (KRIs), to business-facing KPIs, Critical success factors (CSFs) help leaders with data-driven decision making and improving product quality in the long run.

“These are the industry gold standards that BFTE uses, and we work with our clients to ensure that they meet them,” Sikdar adds.

Considering the services that BFTE provides, it is their objective to summarize these gold-standard best practices for the optimization of operations. The company’s approach is to facilitate an organization-wide understanding that “product quality is a team effort,” meaning that it is not one specific team that is responsible for quality, but it is about the overall engineering mindset—whoever is part of the release should be equally responsible for attention to quality. BFTE incorporates this philosophy into all stages of a growing company, even the ones that have just started out or are in the stages of their evolutionary growth.

"A well thought out automation testing strategy from the beginning can reap the benefits of finding defects early on and keep the engineering costs to minimal"

In one instance, BFTE worked with a relatively new company, whose proprietary environment was demanding few releases in quick intervals. The company neither had refined its approach nor had the experience to tackle its internal challenges, most of which revolved around high defect rates. BFTE assessed the situation and started with the root cause analysis of the defects. They put the points of error down on paper and categorized them to see the underlying challenges. One of the key strengths that BFTE exhibited was their proficiency in requirements gathering. Working with product owners and management, BFTE soon brought in best practices like Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) and coupled that with Continuous Integration & Delivery (CI-CD) to make sure that as products are getting slotted for development, the testing efforts were triggered in parallel. This helped the client to incorporate changes faster into their product, according to the customer demands. Once BFTE began integrating best practice early on, the goal of building quality applications in less time became more feasible. BFTE was able to identify the bottlenecks and helped the client improve subsequent releases. They also ensured that the company’s beta customers could get fast updates to see if they are on track, resulting in a holistic solution for all parties involved.

BFTE has established itself as a goal-oriented organization with its diverse client list and finger on the pulse of the software testing market. Its focus is now on the U.S engineering and software development market, and the company also aims to cater to overseas clients. The attention is to bring in the latest and greatest know-how in the tech world to the world of “best practice software testing service optimization.” In the next 12-18 months, BFTE will also integrate AI and ML into the testing techniques.

With developments like this, BFTE is carving a niche in the software testing space, lending a much-needed injection of best practices into their clients’ environments. “We want to aid our clients in scaling up through our engagement at the enterprise level at every layer, and also help measure quality in a very constructive way,” concludes Sikdar.

BFTE Solutions LLC

Foster City, CA

Samy Sikdar, Founder & Owner

An Engineering Services Leader, BFTE Solutions, brings the time-tested and modern know-how, proven techniques and expertise, and techniques that have helped organizations to solve some of their core day-to-day engineering problems effectively. BFTE Solutions is backed by more than 20 years of relevant industry experience working in the enterprise, a startup to medium-sized organizations such as Oracle, VMware, Sony PlayStation, and Rackspace. BFTE was formed to help growth-oriented, fast-paced organizations scale their software engineering services balancing reliability, quality, and agility. The company aims to bring about best-in-class, enterprise-grade dev and testing methodology, dev process tools, and practices early on to engineering teams to help contain the pain points, avoid accumulating tech, and process debt

BFTE Solutions LLC