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Software Quality Assurance & Testing Today

“This year’s World Quality Report shows, once again, that underpinning the key business drivers of every major enterprise – drivers such as business growth, end-user satisfaction, cost control, and security – is the importance of quality, and of the measures that are put in place to maintain it.” (World Quality report 2019/20)

I’m just commencing a set of posts on Software Quality & Testing and relating it to what we in Vantage Resources are seeing in the marketplace today. I also want to highlight our particular focus in the SQA and Testing space and the use of our METISUREÓ framework to underpin what we do in this space. I thought I would start with a general overview of SQA & Test today and cover other aspects of the subject focusing on aspects people, process and technology.

Background

The major changes in consumer purchasing, mass customisation and the acceleration of web enabled technologies have had a profound effect on all aspects of IT. In parallel a generation has grown up with the internet and mobile connectivity and view software in a different light. They self-serve, are tech ‘savvy’ and have high expectations in terms of service, quality, availability and personalisation. These people are also in increasing numbers in the general workforce, not just in IT. This is having an effect on the business IT relationship and the delivery of customer facing IT enabled change to the right quality standard. In addition, the level of regulation and regulatory supervision has significantly increased, as has the immediate visibility of service issues due to the use of social media. Organisations today face significant challenges in delivering quality solutions.

  • Increasing scope and scale of IT enabled business change as business units seek to respond to volatile market demands
  • Demand for faster response times in implementing change initiatives
  • More discerning customers with little tolerance for poor quality and mistakes
  • Increasing regulatory oversight of breaches of standards and more rigorous response of regulatory and supervisory authorities to such breaches
  • Increasing efficiency, resource and cost management through increased standardisation, centralisation, consolidation and the use of shared services
  • Increased usage of, and dependence on, third party software suppliers.  Focus of internal teams is integration, implementation and support.  Pressure to resource and support an independent quality and testing function to ensure successful quality implementation and benefits realisation.
  • Organisations not optimally configured to deliver improved quality change more cost effectively.  Carrying resourcing risk and cost of balancing supply with volatile demand.  Lacking skills and expertise in industry standard tools and practices.

What are organisations doing today?

The majority of organisations are applying varying degrees of ‘Agile’ practices and this move has been increasing steadily over the last few years.  There are some organisations still focused on testing as a ‘necessary evil’ to be conducted before we can implement (painfully test the quality in) with more and more moving to the position where quality is built in from concept to implementation and is validated by testing throughout the lifecycle.  This also especially so with the more advanced Agile /DevOps practitioners.  Also, many organisations appear to be still in transition from a situation where testing teams are assembled for each project and disbanded to where SQA and Test are an ongoing specialist function supporting all IT enabled change projects.

There appears to be a general acceptance that  software quality management and testing is seen as a separate independent professional competency with the ability to deliver significant added value/cost benefit through a more ‘standardised’ or ‘industrialised’ approach. 

The cost dynamics of detecting errors early is also well documented – up to many thousand times more expensive to find the defect in production than to find at requirements stage.  Equally the cost of serious errors in monetary and reputational terms is understood.

Yet organisations continue to struggle to put in place the people, processes and technology that can address the challenges. Many understand what they need to do but are pre-occupied with delivery of current business priorities to have the capacity – availability of people and time more an issue than budget – to put medium term IT Quality roadmaps in place.

The key to successful transition or transformation e.g. the move to Agile/DevOps implementation is to treat it as a change and look first at the organisational context for the change and, depending on the scale of implementation, to understand the capability and readiness of the organisation to implement its vision.

At the end of the day all parties want to achieve successful quality change, whether that is moving to Agile, or delivering the real IT enabled business changes needed for the organisation to thrive and prosper using Agile constructs.

At Vantage Resources we use our METISUREÓ framework to help clients identify how their SQA and Testing model is working for them, where they want to get to, and what a Quality ‘roadmap’ would look like for their organization.  We then supply whatever expert resources they require to support/assist them on the journey.

Vantage Resources can help you!

Ideally you should be able to answer a definite Yes to the following 3 questions:-

  1. Are you totally confident in your Quality Assurance and Testing model(s)?
  2. Could you clearly stand over them as best practice in the event of an issue?
  3. Would they stand up to external scrutiny?

If you have any concerns in attempting to answer the 3 questions you should be talking to us.

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