Sunday, September 09, 2012

Quality of software platforms for payments - differnt requirements?

The fast changing world of Internet and Mobile applications requires a new type of development approach. In this approach, where subsequent versions of the software are released in short intervals, the emphasis is not to catch out all bugs before release, but to rather fix them quickly after they are found (or reported). The user community then in effect becomes the final quality assurance step in the software cycle. Sometimes referred to as Agile, this is a very effective way to get functionality into the market and then quickly fix anything that is reported by the users of the software and works beautifully for most applications.

Some months ago, a flaw in the Google wallet on Android phones emerged (Read here). This flaw disabled the wallet functionality following a simple factory reset on NFC-equipped Android handsets. It seemed as if the reset trips the secure element in the device and in the process rendering the Wallet functionality useless. This was of course fixed quickly and no money or transaction histories were lost, but it made me think about the suitability of modern development approaches for payment applications.

The potential damages caused by mal-functioning software to money eco-systems and the integrity of payment systems can be devastating to individuals and corporations. Lost or duplicate transactions, money-records that do not balance or that is out of sync with master records, pending transactions without information to resolve payments that have not cleared, slow (or absent) confirmation of payments and user-interfaces that display wrong or inaccurate information are just some of the things that can go wrong.

Agile is without doubt the best way to build software quickly and fast. It is the best way to ensure that results are seen quickly and to allow for less-costly adjustments early in the life-cycle. But, when building payment solutions, one probably needs an additional (traditional), robust quality assurance step prior to releasing it into the wild.

1 comment:

Abdul Kader said...

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