How An Organizational Structure Affects Test Quality

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How An Organizational Structure Affects Test Quality

If you have too many engineers working on a project, there's a higher likelihood for errors and miscommunication.

· Agile Zone ·
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Testing has many factors that can influence the success or failure of a project. While teams certainly require the necessary tools in order to make the process more efficient, test management solutions aren't the only assets to keep an eye on. In fact, many of the problems in testing come from internal workflows. Your organizational structure has been cultivated over the course of years to determine how teams mesh together in the most effective way. However, your structure could actually be adversely affecting test quality.

Too Many Cooks

There's an old adage that states "Too many cooks spoil the broth." This means that if too many people are working on something at the same level, the product ultimately won't live up to expectations. In development and testing teams, this saying rings true as well. Industry expert Ade Miller noted that if you have too many engineers working on a project, there's a higher likelihood for errors and miscommunication. If all of these members are making edits, it could lead to stability issues within the project. While you do want experts on your side, if they start to leave to work on other initiatives, this creates significant knowledge gaps with the members that are left to take over the project.

There are a few easy ways to handle this structural challenge. First, you'll want to create smaller teams for your projects, and delegate clear objectives. Pair programming can help spread knowledge and keep teams uninhibited even when a member moves onto another initiative. It will also be important to track progress and monitor who is making changes to the program. This could prevent any functionality issues in the future and ensure that the product is stable upon release.

Communication is Key

No matter how the organization is structured, it's essential to ensure that there are clear lines of communication. Without the right collaboration strategy, it makes it significantly harder to conduct QA management and keep everyone on the same page. A doctoral dissertation by Frank Philip Seth, from Lappeenranta University of Technology, suggested that managers and communication efforts are even bigger influences on quality than tools and hardware infrastructure. In fact, the mode of operation and the information flow were addressed as two main factors that impact team productivity and project quality.

"According to the research the software quality is an information-intensive process whereby organizational structures, mode of operation, and information flow within the company variably affect software quality," Seth wrote. "The results suggest that software development managers influence the productivity of developers and the quality of the software products."

For development teams that are still using legacy methods to organize their structure, they may be inadvertently hurting their product quality. By delegating smaller teams and establishing clear communication standards, teams can revise their makeup to be more conducive to the agile development process. As quality becomes a higher priority, reviewing your own organizational structure and considering the impact it has on testing efforts will be crucial.

organizational culture, quality, quality assurance

Published at DZone with permission of Francis Adanza . See the original article here.

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