Quality assurance professionals have traditionally been given the short end of the stick, often having only limited time to test. However, these individuals are an integral part of the software development life cycle and need to be treated as such. Organizations and project managers must enable their QA team to create high-quality products and consistently innovate business-critical processes. Here are a few ways to empower your QA team:
Encourage feedback and support
One of the biggest ways to empower QA is to foster feedback and support their ideas. This will help the team add value as the situation requires, better develop projects and give QA teams more of a connection in each piece of software. Huge Inc. QA director Kate Falanga noted that QA can improve the software development life cycle through browser and device support, risk assessments, design reviews and identifying when an app is ready versus when it's done. In an increasingly agile environment, this type of connection can be critical, and empowering your QA team through enabling feedback will be a significant first step.
"Whenever possible the QA teams sit with the cross-functional teams," Falanga wrote. "This allows for spontaneous conversation. It also allows QA to pair easily with a developer or other team member. If a defect is found, it is preferable to discuss it and, when possible, fix it on the fly rather than to take the time to write it up."
Provide capable tools
While QA testers leverage their own arsenal of skills, it often makes their lives a lot easier having test management tools to complement these capabilities. Not only does it allow teams to prioritize items and track overall progress, it also can provide clear lines of communication across different departments. Automation solutions would provide additional benefits, enabling testers to execute tests without having to manually perform each case every time. This would give a lot of time back to QA teams and allow them to carry out evaluations to detect more sophisticated threats.
Software testing expert Dave Worth noted that QA teams are often only focused on finding and eliminating bugs, but with capable tools at their disposal, they can directly contribute to the test-suite and improve the overall evaluation capabilities.
A common issue across numerous businesses is when QA teams become overburdened with projects and requests. As QA InfoTech contributor Rajini Padmanaban noted, many QA professionals feel it's prohibited to say no, which can often lead to prioritization and quality issues. One easy way to mitigate this and empower your QA team is to space out initiatives in a reasonable timeline. This will take off a lot of the pressure and ensure that the product lives up to stakeholder and user expectations.
QA teams can also be empowered through creating regular goals to achieve. This will help manage any workload issues and give employees the motivation to get to the milestones.
"[T]his was an exercise we did regularly, once every quarter or so, where we set aside a one week quality milestone for tasks such as: test maintenance, any new technical and soft training sessions, any demos/new studies/R&D to be conducted etc," Padmanaban wrote. "The benefits were bountiful and again besides core tangible returns that we reaped we were also able to re-energize the teams and promote great collaboration amongst them.