As we all know, Quality Assurance (QA) is more than just testing a product. It is more than ensuring the quality of the product for customers. It is about helping everyone become better at what they do—helping find those deep-rooted issues that create problems and frustrations down the workflow. It removes barriers between teams and disciplines to work together and improve overall value, inside and outside the organization.
1 – Keeping the house in order
One of the things that will stop any far-reaching improvement initiative from any department is having issues within. A Gardner should not be advising their neighbours when their lawn looks worse than theirs. Why should others listen when they don’t practice what they preach? Having that environment that others can look at and say, “yeah, I want us to work like that.” It can go a long way to influence change.
2 – Metrics
If you don’t have the numbers to back up to measure against, then any change requests will only sound good but not get past the initial conversation. Everyone wants to make things easier to how work is done. It would be sporadic to hear someone say, “Oh yeah, I like getting frustrated when an issue comes up.”
A good metrics program can help give that added support for added details on what is going on. Keep in mind a metrics program is not software. It has a process in place to collect and use the data. There are plenty of programs out there to help organize and display. What is important is ensuring it is the correct data and that everyone knows what is collected.
3 – Root Cause Analysis
To take a QA department from good to significant requires a detailed Root Cause Analysis program. Without it, teams will treat symptoms of problems and not determine the right solutions to eliminate them from existence. An RCA program is not just a matter of doing defect counts of issues like Coding or environment. It is a matter of working together as a team and dig for answers. Then work collaboratively on the fix and how to implement it.
4 – Understand the audience
Do you know your audience? Do you understand how information is assimilated and used to make the right decisions? Regardless of where you are in the organization, if you do not understand how the different stakeholders understand information, you could be missing the mark. Everyone takes in information differently, and something as simple as a bar graph could end up confusing when a pie chart with the same report makes all the difference in the world.
5 – Trust
The first four items, along with the confidence in the work, help establish a strong level of trust. Removing barriers between teams and organically grow the level of collaboration across the enterprise that continuous improvement will be second nature.
In September, there are two opportunities for QA teams and leadership to help turn these five things into reality: The Test Managers Conference and QUEST X. Both virtual conferences will be spread out over time and each one with specific goals.
QUEST X will be for analysts to discuss issues and tips on how to improve on the front lines. This conference is an excellent opportunity to have the conference experience without travel and taking full days off to gather information. Contact QAI at http://www.qaiusa.com/ for more details.
The Test Managers Conference, like QUEST X, will be a 6-week conference/workshop for QA leaders to discuss and work through issues that concern them with industry leaders. For more information, check out the site https://www.softwarequalityconference.ca/.