For 30 years, I have worked in or was involved in Quality Assurance and Testing (they are not the same thing), and it is surprising to see how easily it can be set aside when it comes to budgets.
One of the oversized items that tend to get set aside to collect dust in the corner is the upkeep of processes and flows for continuous improvement. Processes are in place that can help scale work, yet it does take time and brainpower to keep it going. In a world where the term value is used often, it is odd that organizations have trouble seeing the value in all aspects of QA.
I recently discussed with a former colleague about the organization she worked in 20 years ago and recently went back. During her initial time there, QA was huge, and the work produced created many improvements and brought out the top-shelf quality in their products.
Since she has returned, the quality of the products has been good (not as good as it was, though), yet internally the QA work is nothing like it was. Before, they had excellent templates, documentation and training. There was a good Root Cause Analysis process in place to discover deep-rooted issues, and everyone worked as a team to have a solution to implement.
Test cases are vague and test in some areas while others get overlooked. The once thriving relationship between Testers, Developers and Business Analysts is now three silos with an old tin can and string telephone between them. Work is just rolled up to the door for the group to take, which is fantastic to hear in today’s age. There are blogs, books, videos and discussions all over the world about agility, way more than what it was 20 years ago. Yet, it seems there is a regression happening.
All because of what is truly valued. On the surface, there are quotes and lines on websites and commercials saying customers are the highest priority,” innovation is what we strive for,” yet in the background, the bottom line is valued.
When that bottom line is impacted by poor quality, there is a mad rush to point the spotlight on groups with old tools, no support, and an island to themselves to point the finger at why things are as bad as they are. It is hard to catch things when using an old net in taters because you want to save some money.
Then the decision is made to go “agile.” With the thoughts of improved speed and quality. Unfortunately, they will struggle there because the once scalable QA environment is a shell of its former glory. My colleague has a plan to help and is trying to implement it. That was why the discussion was to run it by me and see what I thought. She has a good plan, and i know she will succeed with her drive.