If you aren’t releasing software as quickly and effectively as you think you can maybe a software testing services company can help.
Or maybe not.
There are 3 key leverage points that you should be getting from using a software testing services company.
- Speed – delivery times for software project should be faster.
- Quality – defects should be found more frequently and earlier in the development process
- Sustainability – subsequent software project should start and end much quicker with higher predictable quality.
Here’s how to know if you are getting the most value from your software testing services company.
It is very easy for a software testing services company to get disconnected from your software development team and then take the blame for late releases or poor quality.
Daily meetings are good but agendas get stale and the value of the meeting can begin to decline. Daily reports are also good but it is also very easy to just glance over or even delete a status report email. Add to that, the fact that software testing outcomes are a lagging indicator – not a leading indicator – and it is easy to find yourself with a software team that struggles to release quality software on time. Is there a simple fix? Not hardly, but there are 2 simple things you can do that will pull your software testing company closer to your software development team.
Two-a-Days Keep Both Teams Sharp
We have found that software services testing companies that report twice daily and adjust once weekly seem to produce the most benefit in keeping their software testing teams aligned and in sync with software development teams. But, there are some subtle elements to these reports and adjustments that make them very powerful tools you can use to meet your software product release and quality goals.
- Report what you plan to do and why – each Test Engineer should do this daily as a part of their daily personal planning
- Report blockers immediately and then assign someone accountable to solve them – the software testing company QA Manager should be responsible for managing the resolution of blockers
- Report the deliverables you actually created and why each one is valuable – a list of defects or test cases is important but the “why” behind them is ultimately more valuable
- Meet to adjust the test plan weekly so that it is in sync with your product release date and quality goals – not all weeks need adjustment but most do
A Dedicated QA Manager Makes Magic Happen
You just can’t test every thing every time. And, you need to release quality software on time. This is where a dedicated QA Manager makes magic happen. In order to release software on time with the highest quality possible, a huge number of trade-offs need to be made to meet all of the constraints. This is part of release planning and a dedicated and experienced QA Manager can make your life easier and products better. Here’s how a dedicated QA Manager can help you get all the value you expect.
- A Playbook of Software Quality and Release Strategies – A QA Manager has seen more software releases than you will ever probably see yourself. Learning all the little tips and tricks to plan and navigate a software package into a stable release is only one part. The real learning comes from experience – seeing and doing it many, many times. Every software package and business situation is different and requires a slightly different strategy to be successful. Do you know which strategy will work best for your situation?
- Test Planning – there is always more to do than can be done. How and when you select and run tests can have a huge impact on your developer’s productivity and quality. Learning Test Planning is straight forward. Actually building and running a successful Test Plan requires experience.
- Software Quality Process Improvement – One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.” Process evaluation and improvement allows your development team to build better products faster. Only an experienced QA Managers have seen enough software processes to help your team make the changes they need to make to get better.
Hidden Benefits Behind the Scenes
There are three big benefits going on behind the scenes that may not be immediately obvious.
- The process of planning and discussing the “why” of the goals is much more valuable than the actual plan. Every Test Engineer should be taking a few minutes at the start of each day to plan their day – and insure they are working on the highest value items in the right order. Planning requires thinking to make sure that each person is making the most of each day in support of the product release date and quality goals.
- Blockers are nasty and get in everyone’s way. Get someone outside of the daily software production process to resolve them and your plans will run much more smoothly.
- Reporting value is subjective but immensely valuable. Why? Without a clear idea of value, work is just work – activities to accomplish an outcome. Value implies that the outcomes are worth more than the cost of the effort. In today’s fast moving world, it is almost impossible to complete all the tasks needed. Forced triage becomes the norm and value judgments become requirements. Don’t you want everyone on your team working on the most valuable outcomes? Wouldn’t you want to know if one of your team members thought something was valuable but you didn’t? Report value every day and you’ll quickly find your team is one the same page and in sync with each other.
What You Should Expect from a Software Testing Services Company
At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises. You make promises to your customers about the quality and reliability of your software. We can help you honor your promise to your customers.
At a minimum, you should expect that your software testing company is exclusively focused on software testing and software quality. It’s just that simple. You just can’t get the same level of software testing service and experience from a software testing company that does not specialize in software testing. If you’re doing this to save money, you probably won’t.
Your second indicator about the quality and capability of a software testing company can be seen in their Test Case Management System. Just ask, “How do you keep track of your test cases and test plans?” If your software testing company (or even your software development company) doesn’t use a Test Case Management tool then they aren’t well equipped to provide you the service and software testing outcomes that you need to honor your promises to your customers.
A Software Testing Services Company Should Deliver Value Every Day
At TESTCo, we know that simple processes that produce real value every day result in software products that meet their release date and quality goals. If you are having trouble meeting your software product goals, we’d enjoy the opportunity to share what we’ve learned and implemented for our clients every day.