B E S T P R AC T I C E S
July 17, 2006
SOA Raises The Stakes For Software Quality
How Software Testing Methods Must Change To Suit Service Orientation
by Carey Schwaber
with Randy Heﬀner and Megan Daniels
EXECUT I V E S U M MA RY
SOA makes software quality both more important and more diﬃcult to achieve. But traditional
approaches to software testing are insuﬃcient in an SOA environment. IT organizations pursuing SOA
ﬁnd that they must rethink their testing methods and revise testing roles and responsibilities.
Application development professional
SOFTWARE QUALITY IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR SERVICE-ORIENTED SHOPS
Software quality poses a signiﬁcant challenge for corporate IT organizations, especially when it comes to
the quality of custom applications.1 Defects in any type of application can disrupt the business and waste
precious IT resources; in an SOA environment, the consequences of defects can be even more severe.
Defects in services can lead to:
· Defects in applications that tap those services. An SOA initiative is in many ways an asset reuse
initiative, and the success of any asset reuse initiative is directly tied to the quality of the assets being
reused. Defects in services lead to defects in applications that consume those services.
· Redundant services and lower beneﬁts from the overall SOA initiative. If a particular service
is known to have quality problems, development teams will avoid using it whenever they can,
since using a buggy service often takes more time than using no service at all. Or, instead of
eschewing services altogether, they’ll build ones that they can trust to function properly. The result?
Redundancy of services, which reduces the eﬃciency of the SOA initiative.
· Strained relations between the departments, business units, and even companies. Services
that live at organizational boundaries are an enterprise’s public face in the digital world, and these
services tend to have high usage levels, high visibility, and high criticality. Quality problems in these
services can be embarrassing and can even jeopardize business relationships.
Corporate IT organizations recognize that SOA requires more rigorous quality practices and are
investing accordingly: Our data shows a dramatic correlation between SOA adoption and intentions to
purchase software testing tools among North American and European enterprises (see Figure 1).2
Forrester Research, Inc., 400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
Tel: +1 617/613-6000 • Fax: +1 617/613-5000 • www.forrester.com