In this Post
- Business Value of QA
- Anxiety of Risk
- Start with Strategy
- Beyond the Tool Stack
- QA Brains Matter
- More Than Just Testing
It’s safe to say that QA Managers are under-appreciated in their companies. Too often they’re seen by the rest of the organization as the person who prevented the product from launching on time. Ouch!
It’s completely unfair to be seen as the goat, and it’s certainly no fun to always be in firefighting mode.
What if I explained how using the right QA testing services can change the perception from goat to hero? Or, from “the head of testing”, to “our #1 brand ambassador?” I believe that QA can deliver a lot more value to the organization than simply testing software and reporting bugs. Consider this axiom:
“Testing” happens when you tell your tester what to test.
“Software Quality” happens when your team knows the goals and constraints, has a well thought out strategy and plan to achieve them, and a unique person to support and hold everyone accountable to their part in achieving the goals.
I talk with QA Managers every day who want their team to be perceived as contributing more to the business. They just aren’t quite sure how to go about it. Permit me to present a perspective I’ve developed since founding TESTCo in 2002 (yep, that’s a lot of QA experience).
Identify and Communicate the Real Business Value of QA
The quality of your software is reflected in:
- Customer satisfaction or complaints
- Engineering staff retention or turnover
- Business goal success or failure
- Your personal delight or embarrassment
In fact, software quality probably means more than you realized! At the core of what QA does is mitigate risk that threatens to rob profits and dilute brand loyalty.
If your business builds software, mobile apps or websites (for yourself or others) then your business risk is high because of technology. In these cases, QA testing services become a very necessary and strategic asset for the organization. After all, it’s your software, mobile app or website that brings you new customers, or is the product a customer buys from you. What could be more critical to your business than that? Answer: Nothing.
Anxiety in the Face of Risk
It’s understandable if your anxiety is growing because your testing team (internal or outsourced) is giving you the run-around.
You know, those weekly Sprint meetings where you’re supposed to help Engineering get everyone on the same page, but you wind up feeling disgruntled? Like you didn’t get the information you really need from the testers.
Or, you’re having to calm down a frustrated engineering manager because of a fix-one, break-one scenario where software defects get fixed but something else breaks. Yeah, and what about the angry phone call from the product manager who’s hearing about surprising bugs that users are finding after release? There’s a way out of this nightmare.
The Best QA Testing Services Start with the Right Strategy
You’ve heard it before – there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is also more than one way to test your software. The key (and our preliminary goal for you) is to get as much QA testing services benefit as possible at the lowest possible cost.
Effective strategies start with a clear goal and list of constraints. These are the boundaries of the strategy and there are a variety of different ways to combine QA testing services in order to achieve your goal within your constraints.
The best strategy will provide you with the most benefit for the least cost. At TESTCo, we’ll provide you with several strategies we’ve considered and a recommendation for the one that suits your goals the best.
With a defined strategy you’re able to better communicate with Engineering and Product Management. You can set expectations more accurately.
Best Practices Beyond the Testing Tool Stack
We’ve been testing software since 2002. In that time we’ve perfected a process and philosophy that work really, really well for delivering business value beyond simply finding defects. You see, we don’t just find bugs, we help the development team deliver software that thrills and excites your customers. It’s not the tools we use, it’s the brain power and discipline we put into every assignment.
As QA Manager, when you have access to accurate information and clarity of purpose you’re in a stronger position to deliver business value that is broadly recognized and appreciated. The following is a list of “must-haves” if you seek to elevate QA’s contribution to the business.
- An understandable report on the exact features completed and tested every day – twice daily. Not just completed. Completed and Tested.
- A detailed understanding of your business and technical goals and priorities and their current daily status during your Sprint. Your priorities, not whatever the Dev team can get done.
- A strong foundation of regression testing and measurement of coverage. Yes, good old-fashioned test cases built over time and then run as a final regression prior to releasing. No more surprise defects after you launch.
- Weekly product quality meetings with the project QA Manager to review your software development quality measures and processes with recommendations for small improvements that make a big difference. Say goodbye to bad or missing estimates and buggy code that causes missed dates. You’ll see your software quality real time and be able to make smart adjustments to achieve your goals.
- Daily software testing by a Test Engineer.
Do our best practices pay off? Read what other QA Manager have to say about working with TESTCo.
Notice in the previous section that I mentioned QA Manager and Test Engineers. I’ll expand on this important point.
Sure, you’re a QA Manager – in role if not in title. But imagine if you had on the project testing team a like-minded QA Manager to help you get the strategy right, develop the test plan, and report to you daily? This proposition is even more attractive when the QA Manager is available at no additional cost, speaks English fluently, and is based in the Central time zone (as is the case with TESTCo).
For example, if my company works for you, here are the things you can count on your QA Manager for:
- Analyze and select the best QA Strategy for your unique situation, goals and constraints
- Building and tracking the QA Plan to make sure Real Value is delivered every day
- Constantly confirm or replan so that the Goals are achievable within the Constraints
- Coach and support the Test Engineers to peak performance
- Negotiate and resolve blocking issues
- Lead post-mortem meetings to improve the next Sprint
I deliberately differentiate between Test Engineers and Testers. Software Test Engineer or Software Tester. Test Engineers are engineers who love to test. They have the mindset of engineers: “Let’s define the problem set a goal, and make it happen.” In other words, Test Engineers don’t have to be told what to do. They’ll figure out the best path to take once they understand the goals and constraints. Plus, because they’re engineers they know how to communicate effectively with the Dev team. Testers are generally limited to doing whatever you tell them to do.
We Know There’s More to QA Than Just Testing Software
I hope my perspective on QA is helpful to you. Maybe it has inspired you to elevate the role QA plays in the organization. I’d love the opportunity to help you.
We’re experts that diligently and consistently test and measure the quality and readings of your product relative to your business and technical goals.
We do the QA Testing work necessary for effective business and technical decisions. If you don’t have a daily report on your goals and quality, you’re missing key information that you need to build a stronger and more profitable business.
TESTCo provides everything you need in QA Testing Services to easily and successfully launch your website, mobile app or software.
Say good-bye to frustration, buggy software, disappointed customers and missed prospects. Say hello to a stronger and more profitable business because your software is an asset rather than a liability.
If this makes sense to you let’s talk about the state of software QA in your organization. Just click the green button on this page to schedule a time to chat with me.