The BTN recently hosted an exclusive roundtable 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 Dima Tish (Head of Business Development at a1qa), who was joined by a select number of senior technology and engaging leaders in an interactive discussion.
The discussion brought about the following takeaways:
We need quality, standard, and security - achieving these things without automation is impossible
Organisational success is built around people but the human factor is the problem we have about security and quality. Human interaction results in potential errors, which can sometimes not be helped.
The group spoke in-depth about what percentage of their testing should be automated and what should be the aspiration to be hitting in terms of a quota. The general consensus was to automate as much as possible which ensured you can release software to customers, which will be delivering fast with an embedded quality. A couple of the group highlighted that the utopian position should be 100% automated but it was mentioned that for technology or operational principles, this is rarely possible. We should not set automation targets as this can ultimately result in people starting to gamify the task as a result of simply trying to meet the target. We should always be focused on the end goal and the reasons why we’re doing it.
There was an element of clarity in the sense that it’s not possible to automate everything as there are always new code/bugs which need to be manually tested, thereby when you fix a bug, you’d have to fix automated testing, which would create a larger circle of manual interventions.
Automate what we think is the most valuable thing to do and then do it pragmatically.
Focus on the problem we are trying to solve
The human task should always be framing the problem and ensuring the focus is on the feature/solution. There was an example discussing whether exploratory testing should be automated. Within this example, the human thought process is being used to find issues or discord within the User Experience (UX), therefore it doesn’t make sense to automate that. Having as much automation as possible is great but to deliver the great UX and ensure the problem is being solved, you can’t beat humans.
The discussion also touched the criteria of choosing your tech stack and how there will be different use cases for different solutions. The choice of tech stack should be chosen for its absolute flexibility and also there should be strategic elements to your decisions, whereby you look at what skill sets are available in the organisation currently, what skillsets are available in the marketplace, and then try to match with your choice.
There was an array of ideas such as the utilisation of a technology selection matrix being used to understand what are the things that we need and what do we need to get out of it, focusing always on the solution that the tech is there to solve. The tools we use should be looked at as to whether they are going to compliment or dictate your process and integration with your other tools and even future tools should always be taken into consideration.
There is never a ‘best tool’ in the market, there is only ever a best tool that fits our current needs and future needs. Find your recipe for success but don’t go seeking perfection or technology that doesn’t exist.
Things that don’t move are ‘quality’
Business plans shouldn’t always drive everything. However, prices and end dates can and will always be flexible, whereas where flexibility should never be integrated is within quality.
The quality of service standards should drive the decision on what we test as an organisation. A common situation is where the testers always get the smallest amount of time to test, so we must try to embed testing throughout the project from discovery to delivery.
Quality is sometimes leaned away from as a way of reducing costs within a project but you can achieve quality and reduce costs by simply thinking about the context and the design scope. There should not be a choice between the 2 headlines. If there has to be a justification for the importance of quality, then the communication which results in the buy-in has been lost somewhere. If you are simply unable to achieve quality, that is a much larger problem.
A misconception is that quality is directly related to testing. Often there is too much reliance on testing at the end of a project to check everything is ok, as opposed to ensuring quality and process is right up front and from the off.
The role of testing has always played an important role within organisations but the rapid rise of digitally-led solutions at the forefront of business has meant that testing could not be more crucial. Getting testing right and finding the right recipe of manual and automated testing is key to delivery success. If you get something wrong with regards to your security, you'll get fined. If you get it right, the savings will be there to reap in the future. However you define quality within your business, embedding quality throughout is imperitive and testing has to be at the heart of that.
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.