QA's responsibility is to help ship the best product within the time, budget and other constraints defined by the business - not to seek needlessly costly and time-consuming perfection. Not to demand a fix for every minor defect and thus stall delivery.
But sometimes, the best intentions are interpreted wrongly.
- Organizational issues that leave too much of the testing process to the end.
- Certain QAs on the team who unfortunately fit the negative and mostly outdated stereotype of the tester who won't let minor issues rest.
- Developers or product managers who have set their quality standards too low and are easily irked by QA suggestions for change.
Whatever the reason, there are times when QA's attempts to help bake in quality (maybe with new processes or tools) go ignored. But not to worry! I have some insight into how to frame any major quality enhancement in terms of business needs.
Why Being an Advocate for Quality Matters
We have Scott Rice as our CIO and Jeremy Anderson, who's the vice president that I report up through, they're very supportive all the way up to our chief operating officer, about improving the quality and the experience of the applications that we release. And when you get that kind of support from the top, you literally can move mountains, and that's where we find ourselves.
The company sees quality and procedural improvements as going hand-in-hand with major business progress and innovation - not at that expense of it. And that's exactly how we want these tips and insights to be used in your organization.
How to Successfully Advocate for Quality
You want to get support from business execs and devs for your quality initiatives. To do that, you have to frame your ideas and solutions the right way.
Inspiring Customer Loyalty
It doesn't matter if we're talking about cell phone providers or B2B SaaS products, the current reality is that competition is fierce.
Customers typically take no issue with researching other options and asking their personal network for recommendations. People compare what level of service they're receiving, and want to know if they can get something better.
Being an advocate for quality should go hand-in-hand with increasing customer loyalty, which is exactly why Sprint has such a vested interest in QA. Maybe this boils down to performance or scalability or focusing testing resources on a new feature meant to really wow customers (like the Magic Box).
Improving the Perception of the Company
Old tech companies from the 80s, 90s, and oughts can seem well...old. They can get stuck in their ways, causing customers to actively search for the next big thing. As a vendor, CA Technologies used to bill itself as an all-in-one platform, something that too many software vendors still attempt to do.
We don't find customers that have environments that are unified in one single platform. The ones that are, are trying to get out of that simply because....things change so fast and there's always something better to explore.
This is manifesting in CA offering far more extensive APIs and easy integrations so that customers can connect to everything they need and all the best new tools in addition to the enterprise scale that CA offers.
These changes in how the enterprise-level solution operates have also come alongside modern test practices like test driven development, continuous testing, and a shift left approach. If there's a push for major change and mindset shifts at your company, you can help advocate for how new testing methods allow for startup-like speed and innovation.
But Not for Quality's Sake
By thinking in terms of the minimal amount of investment that will produce the maximum results, you can ultimately get more done in your organization. It's all in how you frame it.
As you're well aware, the terms "tester" and "quality assurance" are contentious and continually debated. "Tester" may not be representative of all the quality measures that an employee takes and "quality assurance" gives the impression that quality can be "ensured."
That means that improving processes is part of your job. Advocating for software quality goes hand-in-hand with making procedural updates.