As the digital landscape keeps evolving, so do the responsibilities and implications of important roles in the technology field. In software development and testing, the role of QA or Quality Assurance experts has also changed over the years. Much of this is attributed to tech's natural, organic evolution of technology. Some aspects, however, have more to do with reacting to stimuli and adapting to conditions in the real world.
Specifically, the new role of QA involves a broadening of implications;
the role can now be seen as an organization-wide gatekeeper for quality.
It involves quality coaching and quality enablement for the whole team and often for the whole company. The idea is to look at the big picture and to evolve from the quality of individual products to the quality of the process, the mindset, and, eventually, the work culture of the entire organization.
Let us take a bird’s eye look at the evolving new role of QA in the modern software industry.
QA as Quality Coach
Viewing QA as a quality coach role can help you understand how QA managers can participate in enabling quality for the whole team and, by extension, the whole organization. The idea is to stop confining the quality focus on the micro picture alone and to take it to the macro picture - by encouraging and nurturing a quality process, a quality mindset, and ultimately, a quality culture for the organization where quality becomes the focus of larger organizational actions and processes.
It's crucial to note that QA is particularly suited to the quality coach role as QA managers and experts already possess some of the most important traits and qualities that make a quality coach - domain knowledge, technical expertise, and leadership experience. Also, since the QA role demands effective communication, this allows QA managers to listen, learn, communicate, and foster change with much more urgency.
Here are a few ways QA can largely influence existing mindsets and foster a quality culture in the organization:
- Unit tests are inevitable - they validate units of written code and are the basic building blocks of software testing. As a quality coach, QA can start bringing in change in the way unit tests are planned and created by taking a Test-Driven Development or TDD approach. The TDD approach is much more complex, requiring the participation of the entirety of project stakeholders. It’s also more conducive to overall quality.
- QA has a role in changing the approach of designing project requirements so that quality can remain the top priority from the very nascent stages of a project. Project requirements can, over time, start taking into account the processes involved in achieving requirement goals and making sure that quality is preserved during every part of the process.
- Another way QA can reinforce their role as a quality coach is by carefully monitoring performance, productivity, and the optimum allocation of human resources. This is also made more intuitive by using team-based KPIs, both qualitative and quantitative, and using KPI data to create more quality-focused teams and processes. KPIs like task dependency, process efficiency, collaboration, and communication can be critical markers in this regard.
This way, QA can slowly but steadily create an environment wherein every team member will consider themselves a stakeholder in the quality of the product.
This encourages personal responsibility and accountability, and also individual pride and satisfaction when a quality product is finally created and released.
Based on this, QA will also have to inculcate the skills and diplomacy it would take to deal with any friction and resistance, which almost always results whenever there is change.
Using A Platform Like Functionize: Key Benefits
With the evolution of the role of QA, there is also the responsibility to adopt tools and solutions that can drive and empower that change. This is where a modern, innovative platform like Functionize can become a crucial resource.
Functionize uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make the process of creating, running, and maintaining tests easier and more intuitive. This results in a no-code test creation environment that anyone can use, irrespective of programming acumen. The AI component is also instrumental in preventing test fragility and helping tests self-heal and self-maintain to a great degree. Finally, being deployed in the cloud, it can be securely accessed from anywhere.
Therefore, in their new role, QA can leverage Functionize in many ways to help this new quality mindset, especially when businesses are finding new ways to achieve more with less, thanks to the down economy. Functionalize ensures that the QA teams can chime in with important contributions irrespective of location, increasing the virtual headcount.
Since QA teams would not have to waste inordinate amounts of time fixing and maintaining tests, this extra time can be productively employed elsewhere, enhancing productivity and performance. This guarantees that adopting a solution like Functionize can go beyond the immediate, tangible gains and actually translate into long-term, intangible benefits that can positively affect every aspect of your business. Metrics alone will not be enough to measure the net positive this can bring to your organization.
Economic situations force businesses to adapt and evolve, and redefining the role of QA comes with the territory. With the quality coach approach, the workplace culture becomes more conducive, over time, to foster a shared ownership of quality as an organization-wide asset. Of course, this is helped along to a significant degree by adopting and integrating the right solutions, such as a modern testing platform which is what Functionize brings to the table.