Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash
For organizations to succeed in the market, having a quality product or service that meets or exceeds the customer’s needs is high on the list of priorities. Hence why they would have a “Test” team to work through it to ensure what they are producing will do that.
The unfortunate thing is that some organizations put too much emphasis and responsibility on those “Test” teams to make sure that there are no issues that go out to customers. So looking at a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) chart, that team would be Accountable for the quality. That is like having only the goalie of a hockey team on the ice and hoping to win the game still while the opposition can put on a full team.
There is plenty of documentation out there that states there is no way one team, Testers, can test 100% of an application. Regardless of the tools used, there will always be gaps. If the time for delivery were not on the table, that would be a different story. Very unlikely, though, because the competition is not waiting.
When something does go wrong in production, the fault is, mostly, pointed to the test team. Either publicly or internally, the message that most people were to hear is that it was not thoroughly tested, or it was a miss by the test team. Why say things like that? Yes, it will give the clients a sense that there was a miss and will have a clear indication of who to blame and will feel that the company will be doing something to rectify it so it wouldn’t happen again. This statement is what they want to hear. The people that don’t want to listen to it are the people that did the testing.
A message like that is demoralizing. There is added stress on that team with the finger-pointing. It is something that nobody likes to go through.
Now getting back to the RACI if we were to change it around and put every role as Accountable, including those outside of the delivery team and executives, The message would be different.
“There was an break with the development process that created an unforeseen issue impacting our customers. We apologize and assure you that the organization is reviewing and rectifying these gaps so this issue does not occur again.”
externally and internally this message puts the organization and everyone in it as accountable for the quality of the product. Creating a team environment like this where everyone is involved in quality does not dilute the accountability it will strengthen it. Now everyone will have each others back during the development of the product and can leverage each other to ensure what is given to the clients meet the needs.
Now you have 6 players on the ice, not just the goalie, to work together on winning. This sharing of accountability does not mean that goals will not be scored because they will, it means the frequency will be less, and the ownership of the outcome is on the team, not one individual.