Testing is essential for the success of any business that develops software. It’s critical for ensuring that your products not only have as few bugs as possible, but also that they create the kinds of outstanding user experiences that your customers have come to expect. While quality has historically been the responsibility of a small, often siloed group within the development organization, to meet today’s customer demands, it has to be a priority for the entire business. Business leaders must focus on developing quality-focused talent in order to make that a reality.
The reality is, as a business leader, it’s unlikely that you have the time to get into the weeds and try to develop the right quality-focused talent across the business themselves. But by setting your testing leadership up for success, you’ll come to rely on your them as organization-wide quality champions who serve as liaisons between the business and the technology organization.
QA leaders are uniquely positioned to understand what’s required to make quality a focus for the business. When they are enabled from the top down with business prioritization and resources, they can build effective teams and ensure that testing runs smoothly, and at the pace of the business, across the entire software development lifecycle. But in order to do their job well, they need your support.
Let’s take a closer look at why QA leaders are so important and what you can do to enable them to get the best result.
A unique perspective
QA leaders play an important role in any organization. That’s because they are responsible for fostering developer-tester alignment, and for ensuring that test cases align with business requirements — in other words, that the application does what the business intends, as well as what its customers need. Not only that, but QA leaders have access to all of the metrics that paint a picture of the overall quality of a given release — and the perspective necessary to interpret this technical information in business terms. As such, they have valuable insights into what is and isn’t working across the entire software development lifecycle. From their vantage point, they see the big picture, can reflect on the overall status of application quality, and will be able to identify bottlenecks in the development and testing process. All of that is critical for ensuring your business delivers high-quality products to market.
Given that there are so many different people and departments involved in the application development process, from business stakeholders and product owners to developers and testers, it’s critical to give QA leaders the autonomy and control to effectively keep all of the different teams and players on track. There are a few simple things that you can do to help make that happen.
3 tips to enable your QA leaders
Putting your QA leaders on a path to success doesn’t have to be complicated. Taking a few basic steps will go a long way in making their jobs easier so that they can do their best work. These include:
1. Help them secure the best talent
It’s important to set QA leaders up so that they can tap into the best testing talent possible. And while part of this may include having the budget necessary to pay higher salaries, an equally if not more important part is fostering a culture that will attract the right people. In particular, that means creating a culture where testing is taken seriously, and where everyone feels ownership for the products and is proud of what they deliver. Testing is an incredibly valuable function, and it’s important to give everyone involved the respect they deserve for their contribution to the business.
2. Ensure that everyone Is sufficiently trained
For testing to be effective, everyone needs to be positioned to do their part well. And since new technologies are constantly arriving on the scene, people involved in the QA process need to receive regular training so that they can stay on top of it all. Consider bringing in a professional trainer for a few days each year, providing access to sites like Pluralsight for online courses, or giving test engineers the time and space they need to learn a new test automation tool or method. It’s also important to focus on providing training and enablement for tasks that can’t be automated.
But don’t stop there; the rest of your executive team needs training too. They need it to understand the strategic value of quality to the business and why it’s important to create and nurture a company culture that allows it to thrive.
3. Provide the right tools
Perhaps most important of all, QA managers need to be able to access metrics from all over the business, including the product and development teams, operations, project management and more. They need to be able to track any array of metrics coming from these and other groups, including:
- The length of regression test cycles
- The code coverage of unit tests
- How long security scans take to run and resolve
- The number of defects submitted back to developers and leaked in production
- Where load, performance and stress testing bottlenecks are occurring and why
- The ratio of developers to testers
- The number of bugs submitted due to missed requirements, code quality or miscommunications
- Feedback from customers
Being able to access all of this information quickly and easily, without having to ask people for it, is critical. To do that, you need a software testing tool that centralizes this information through integrations, so QA leaders can easily access the real-time information they need to do their job. Such tools can be very helpful when it comes to collating metrics, assessing the status of a given release, and providing transparency across the software delivery pipeline.
When QA leaders have access to all of this information, it’s much easier for them to feel ownership over the product and release process as a whole, not just testing.
Make testing a priority
QA leaders are the unsung heroes of testing. Without them, quality assurance wouldn’t work nearly as well. And in today’s competitive market, that’s just not an option. Quality can never be an afterthought — it’s too important for getting high-quality products out to market. Instead, you need to foster a culture where testing is valued and where everyone feels a shared sense of responsibility for the success of your products. When you focus on developing quality-focused talent and set up QA leaders for success, you’ll find that the whole development process runs more smoothly, so you can get higher-quality products to market faster.