The BTN recently hosted an exclusive roundtable discussion with a1qa, an independent software quality assurance provider, focusing on driving transformation.
The role of Quality Assurance (QA) and Testing has been crucial as organisations start to migrate to more digital operations but the acceleration of digital transformation over the past 18 months has put added pressure on the delivery of technology at scale, with quality, and quickly. How can we ensure QA & Testing continue to be high up the agenda, even when pressure is on to deliver quicker and quicker?
The session was led by Valeria Sologoub (Deputy Head of Business Development) and Alex Pechinsky (QA Consulting Group Expert) who were joined by a select number of senior technology and engaging leaders in an interactive discussion.
The discussion brought about the following takeaways:
As the technological world changes, so does our remit
There has been an increase in the facets of testing, as such the remit of QA is changing. This change in technology demands more continuous testing platforms and in turn is linking virtualized services, API tests and non-performance tests.
The group discussed which approach would likely lead to greater success; cross-functional teams (T-shaped) or specialised teams (I-shaped). Small-scale companies need a wide knowledge across all elements leading towards the T-shaped approach. However, in larger scale companies working in international spaces, there are a multitude of factors, such as time zones, language barriers and complexity of testing, which require a much more specialized approach to their testing.
There was an array of ideas of how QA will be moving forward in the future. One that was heavily discussed was the adoption of a Quality Assistance method which has seen success in many companies release delivery times and a reduction of overall blockers. This method involves the QA manager coaching the developers and engineers to write good and effective tests. An important thing to note would be project teams must manage their own deliverables.
How can we ensure an alignment and blend of quality and speed of release trains?
Delivering super-fast release trains with test automation was the highlight of the discussion. How can we improve the speed of release trains whilst also improving the quality of our results? The biggest issue when posing this question is not the quality of the deliverable but the quality of the release. You can have as much automation necessary to run super-fast release trains, however, not analysing the results causes failure as well. Analysing what comes out of your testing is crucial to ensure quality of the results are maintained. The first and most important step is to understand the deliverables and where the bottlenecks and constraints within the process occur.
Challenges can also come within the companies’ own financial decision-makers. The concept of smaller but quicker releases has not landed well with them due to expected releases. However, our IT and QA thought-leaders shared one common consensus - it is important to release something on a regular basis. The intention of any team should be the need to release something every week - even minor changes such as colour/font.
The general feedback was that there was no simple answer, it will always be defined by what is needed to be delivered and the team you have involved.
The ideal QA leader must proactively shape and measure the culture
The discussion also touched the criteria of the ideal skillsets of a QA leader, whether it be the soft skills (interpersonal skills) or the hard skills (technical understanding).
There is certainly a need for both assets when delivering on QA, however, there seems to be a priority in interpersonal skills. It’s not just about managing but much rather influencing and having coordination with engineering and design teams - focusing on a much larger scale.
a1qa is a next-gen software testing provider offering a full range of QA services for 18+ years. The clients of a1qa ― global enterprises, including the Fortune 500 companies ― obtain business and operational benefits while reaching the desired outcomes with professional QA. a1qa has successfully delivered 1,500+ projects across various industries: eHealth, eCommerce, telecom, BFSI, M&E, IT and software development, real estate, utilities and energy, among others.