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Chick-fil-A is a fast service restaurant that strives to create remarkable experiences — whether it’s great food, great service or even great software. As the company has introduced more digital products and experiences, the Quality Engineering team has grown from a small, manual testing group to a powerful, influential arm of the engineering organization. With an increased focus on test automation, behavior-driven development, continuous integration and more, testers are redefining quality engineering and proving the business-critical need of modern quality practices.
While Chick-fil-A always had a Quality Engineering team, it had previously been a small, manual testing group that was siloed from developers. The team fell under the IT organization and operated as a shared service, supporting everything from Agile and Waterfall teams to third-party vendors. The testers worked independently from the developers, and some project teams didn’t have testers.
Under this status quo, the business saw testing services as a function to ensure its applications worked as expected. But that view, along with the team structure, has changed in recent years. Quality Engineering is now integral to the rollout of new, market-differentiating products and technologies, including a mobile ordering app, an app that displays real-time metrics to franchise operators and a handful of IoT projects.
In a talk at Tricentis Accelerate San Francisco 2019, Maria Boykins explained: “People don’t think about Chick-fil-a as a technology company. We are a restaurant business, but we are tapping pretty heavily into technology.” Boykins, who is Senior Team Lead, Quality Engineering at Chick-fil-a, shared how she and her team are redefining their role within the company.
Today, Chick-fil-A has a full-fledged Engineering organization that includes quality, software and site reliability engineers. The organization deploys engineers to project teams (called “pods”), and those engineers focus on helping developers build remarkable systems that will differentiate Chick-fil-A in the market.
In this new organizational structure, the Quality Engineering team adds significant value to the business throughout the entire software development lifecycle. This value has become abundantly clear through a handful of key wins, including:
Everyone from product owners and developers to testers now share ownership over quality. Chick-fil-A achieved this shared perspective by:
Four years ago, Chick-fil-A practiced very little test automation. Today, the team has automated nearly half its test cases across a variety of systems. The Quality Engineering team achieved this goal by:
Chick-fil-A has made a change to emphasize quality earlier on in the development process. The team reached this goal by:
These changes to Chick-fil-A’s Quality Engineering organization have not only helped the development and testing arms of the business become more aligned, but they have also better aligned those teams to the broader company’s core values around service, unity, purpose and staying ahead of the curve.
Check out this session from Tricentis Accelerate 2019 featuring Maria Boykins of Chick-fil-A to learn more about how you can transform your own Quality Engineering organization, including the mindset shift and process changes that got Chick-fil-A to its current state and the best practices and techniques that add up to create high quality products.