Miscellaneous

Published on September 25th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan

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How QA teams can build a culture of quality

Announcement: Testing your product on the latest stages of development might not be the most rational decision. To boost productivity and increase your income, consider building a strong quality culture in your company.

Thanks to a strong quality culture, your business is likely to save up to $67 million for each 5000 employees and make 46% fewer mistakes than your rivals with weak QA teams. These statistics, published in Harvard Business Review, might induce you to reinterpret your attitude to testing and evaluating the solutions you create. But first, you should assess what “quality” means and why it doesn’t boil down to debugging and boosting the efficiency of your product.

Depart from the Conventional Corporate Structure

In traditional waterfall development, the testers might intervene with the process at any stage of the product’s development cycle but would concentrate predominantly on the release stage. In Agile, you would hardly come across a customary QA team. The core concept of the innovative approach is: testing is not someone else’s job. When you build a product or a certain part of this product, it’s your responsibility to make sure it’s running smoothly.

Provide Your Team with the Appropriate Tools and Infrastructure

The term “appropriate” in this context means that the tools need to provide credible and repeatable results. To realize on time the essence of a potential hazard and to estimate its quality, it’s essential to get access to the most exhaustive and up-to-date information. The more aware the decision-makers are regarding the QA department goals and the interim results, the more expertly they can adjust their tactics and strategies.

Automated Testing

The less testing depends on the human factor, the more precise and accurate it is. In case of a failure, the whole process should not stop. Only those parts of the product that failed the test come back to their developers. Other professionals keep on working on their respective tasks without halts or wait periods.

However, at the early stage of development, automated testing might be excessive. Before the work starts, the team should decide on which parts of it to automate. Though you don’t have to jump on the bandwagon of automation and hope it will fill any gaps with automation. While software testing automation can help you release faster, it can also quickly burn through your budget and set you back.

Test Frequently

Don’t wait till the final stage of the product’s development to carry out an overall testing. Instead, run a test at the end of each sprint so that the revealed problems won’t be transferred to the next one.

Some might argue that frequent testing would slow down the development process: once a bug is detected, the team has to step back to the previous stage to fix it. This, allegedly, would prevent the developers from staying on schedule. In fact, running intermediate tests and fixing the bugs straight away saves time if compared to cleaning up the total mess afterward.

Give a Clear Definition to the Terms “Ready” and “Done”

The product is “ready” when it meets tangible criteria that describe qualities that can be measured and tested. These criteria must be based on the users’ expectations that the quality assurance teams take into consideration before starting to develop a solution.

The notion of “done” encompasses the criteria that characterize the validation activities. This means the validation was carried out, and its results are acceptable. This task can be classified as “done” after:

  • Functional testing was completed
  • Consequences for performance were assessed
  • Data integrity validation was carried out
  • Security validation was conducted
  • Automation tests were passed
  • Potential consequences of regression were taken into account

Other validation formats can be added to the list, depending on the individual features of the organization’s working process.

Focus on Customer Satisfaction Indicators

In a traditional corporate structure, only the technical characteristics of the product would come under the spotlight. But you should always link these to the customers’ response to your output. What’s the use of improving the find/fix rates if they don’t tell on customer churn or upsell opportunities? After all, you are trying to enhance the quality not for the sake of meeting some abstract standards but to expand your client base, boost your sales and increase your profit.

Meet Regularly to Discuss the Roadmap

Some organizations don’t encourage quality assurance meetings at the early stages of the product’s development. They are afraid that the vision of the final goal might get diluted when comparing too many opinions and perspectives. However, the practice of successful organizations, such as Forte Group, proves that discussing the code before it is implemented allows developers to more efficiently comply with the quality standards.

Keep Your Stakeholders Informed and Engaged

To act consciously and rationally, your stakeholders should be aware of what’s going on in your company. Timely deliver comprehensive news to the influencers who will spread it among decision-makers, allowing them to keep up to date with the latest developments and gathering their unbiased feedback.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you have a clearer vision of what is a QA team in an agile structure and how it differs from the more conventional waterfall approach. The ultimate goal of changing your attitude to quality is to give your products an additional competitive edge and to help your brand to stand out from the rivals. The most forward-thinking tech companies invest considerable funds and efforts in building their culture of quality and it steadily pays off.

Photo by Product School on Unsplash

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About the Author

Bibhuranjan

Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.



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