Future Strategies in Engineering Quality

The BTN was recently delighted to partner again with a1qa for a VIP round table for executive technology leaders who are championing the use of testing to maintain and improve the quality of their products and services.

The conversation was led by Dima Tishchenko (VP of Global Business Development at a1qa) and Kate Bazyleva (Head of Pre-Sales at a1qa) and was an open and interactive conversation, which brought about the following takeaways:

 

Why aren’t you automating? Vs. Why are you automating?

Dima opened up the discussion by asking if there was a ‘magic percentage’ we should all be aiming for in terms of the blend between manual and automated testing. This brought about some strong views around organisations getting hung up on percentages as a means of success, with some starting to consider it as gamifying the testing process. The focus should always be on the delivery and the project itself, the automation aspect should then be directed to doing as much as you can without necessarily putting a % aim onto it.

The level of maturity within your QA team will have a direct impact on whether your teams know what to automate and when. Rather than being percentage focused, try to change the behaviour and culture and understand where it can truly add value. The blend of manual and automatic testing is sometimes seen as siloed efforts but we must ensure that our testing leaders are coordinating testing efforts across all testing tools and approaches. This new reality of Agile and DevOps dictates a new approach.

An automated first strategy can only be truly instilled when our teams are asking the question of why we are and why we aren’t automating something. This mindset ensures we are focusing on the right areas.

 

You’re not going to get a one size fits all

The advancements of technology and availability for development has meant that there has never been more of a vast pool of technologies at the fingertips of technology leaders. Therefore, how do we ensure we are selecting the right ones and ensuring they all talk to each other also? How do we define what our criteria of choice is?

The first step should always be to gather your requirements and focus on consistent tools, processes and standards. The actual tools that we use are sometimes less important. When looking at adopting a tool, the focus should always be on the environment, the culture and the end desire.

There was a discussion around the types of tools to integrate into your product suite, whether that be open source, from a vendor or building your own. The general consensus effectively came down to the same theme around the need to know the test principles prior to choosing or building the correct environment.

We shouldn’t be slaves to our tools and we should always be open to people trialling new tools. Everybody always thinks their ask is more important so we must ensure we requirement gather effectively before any tech solutions are rolled out.

 

Quality is a team sport, we get much higher value when quality is not left to just Quality Assurance (QA’s) and Quality Assurance Advisors (QAA's)

The role of quality might be perceived to be entirely laid at the feet of those individuals whose role is explicit to ensure quality but we should be striving for our organisations to have quality embedded throughout. Quality should be reflected throughout the product/service, whereby everyone becomes accountable for quality, not just left with a focus on those with quality in their job title.

An example was used in which we could look into trends with Root Cause Analysis (RCA), thereby helping to improve testing by avoiding bugs getting released into production, before they become issues. The earlier we can do the testing the better as it costs substantially more time/money for a bug to be running on production than on a developers laptop.

 

 

Bringing about change is only possible by bringing everyone on board with you. Embedded quality at the beginning of all projects is how efficiencies can be creating and this is only possible through agile ways of working. Waterfall processes can result in you having already lost the game before you even have started.

We must ensure we have ruthless prioritisation and focus, with particular laser-sharp decision making being always around ROI.

When we can automate testing, we should. However, our focus should always be on the customer and the outcome so the wider picture should be our North Star.

 

About a1qa

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.