in 8 steps
Establish the baseline for your plan
Your vision of what your future pipeline of high-quality products will look like is what will guide you through the process of modernizing your testing organization. That’s why it’s essential to get it right. To that end:
- Take your time. Don’t write a vision just so you can say you have a vision. Approach the process of writing a vision as a chance to create your ideal world for QA and testing. Even if you end up having to make certain compromises due to manpower or budget, at least if you start off aiming high, you’ll end up in a much better place than you’re in now.
- Make it short, clear, and inspiring. You’ll need to communicate your vision to many other colleagues over the years to come. That’s why you should make sure your vision grabs the attention, inspires action, and is short enough for others to remember so that they can communicate it, too.
- Involve stakeholders. Don’t let the process of crafting a vision be the exclusive domain of two or three managers. If some of your stakeholders feel left out of the process of writing your vision, they’ll probably never buy into it. Encourage them to share their needs and goals so that you can not only incorporate these into your vision but also modernize your testing in ways that meet these needs.
Example vision statements
“Be the leader in software testing with the most innovative testing products that enable our customers to deliver high quality software.”
– Tricentis 1
“We’re committed to a sustainable future for all.”
– Salesforce 2
“We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”
– NASA 3
Assemble a team of motivated individuals
Here is where you begin to line up your team of people who not only have the talent to help you, but also the motivation and enthusiasm to get started right now. Follow these steps:
- Launch a pilot program. Find your sweet spot for trying out your new approach. It could be a single application, product, project, or program. Take an iterative approach rather than attempting a “big bang” that will affect multiple projects across your organization. How do you select such a project? Evaluate the savings possible, resources available, and chances of achieving a quick win.
- Build an Enterprise Enablement team. This core testing team will consist of Test Architects and Automation Engineers who will orchestrate all decision-making throughout your organization on testing tools and infrastructure. They will also gather and propagate best practices
- Train your organization. Your Enterprise Enablement team will now educate individual teams on the testing strategy that was defined in the previous step. They will work to balance the need for agility against the need to establish continuous end-to-end testing.
Empower teams to be autonomous
In step five, your EE team will begin to prove its worth in the way it enables individual teams to meet their own goals while staying within the overall objectives of your testing organization. This is where your EE team gradually helps scale testing excellence from one pilot team or project to your entire organization. Here’s what it takes:
- Onboard new teams. Your EE team will provide individual teams with the guidelines and tools they need to execute your organizational testing strategy. They should prioritize the onboarding of teams based on the impact and value that will likely result from having each team adopt the testing strategy. The EE team can standardize onboarding by offering services from the services catalog.
- Enable teams. The EE team must make sure teams know how to use the tools properly, work within the delivery pipeline, and interpret the vast amounts of data they’ll encounter during testing. EE should be ready to provide hands-on training as well as to establish a community of practices that will function on an ongoing basis to ensure that the team follows best practices and can provide training to new employees as they are hired.
- Streamline quality. This is where your EE team will ensure that all teams are implementing your organizational testing strategy correctly. This step includes making sure your testing strategy is integrated into your organization.
You’ll know your testing program is maintaining an appropriate level of quality as it scales when you see greater risk coverage, lower maintenance, faster implementation, higher productivity and higher automation rates.
Deliver meaningful insights
Understand the business risk of product defects and the impact of your testing strategy. When your organization can properly interpret the data coming from your testing tools, they can deliver the right feedback to the right stakeholders at the right time. They can ensure that updates won’t adversely affect the user experience. They can also get immediate insights on whether a release candidate has an acceptable level of risk.
Measure at the product, process, and organizational levels. Measuring at different levels will give you greater confidence that change isn’t just an illusion—it’s really happening. Most testing teams are used to looking closely at the current state of a product. What about the state of your teams? What roles do they have? Are they improving in terms of test coverage? How are they doing in automation? The Continuous Testing Maturity Assessment is an exercise that EE teams should repeat frequently to measure progress throughout their processes and the entire organization.
Use contextual over counting metrics. Your teams can generally add the most value by prioritizing contextual metrics such as requirements coverage and user experience. They should focus on measuring the user experience across an end-to-end transaction, rather than simply looking for improvements in the speed and productivity of the testing team.
“Understanding of business risk is a critical factor in DevOps success.” 6
Forrester Research on DevOps Quality Metrics that Matter
“IT and application development move from a cost center to a value creator—metrics will allow engineering leaders to measure the efficiency of software projects.” 7
IDC U.S. DevOps Survey, September 2020, and William Blair Equity Research
Focus on measurable, incremental improvements
1 Sources: https://www.tricentis.com/company/
4 Source: Microsoft Roadmap to Digital Infinity- https://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-eBook-SRGCM3914.pdf
5 Source: Based on an assessment of testing automation at 85 Fortune 500 companies
6 Source: Forrester Research on DevOps Quality Metrics that Matter https://www.tricentis.com/blog/devpos-quality-metrics-research/
7 Source: IDC U.S. DevOps Survey, September 2020, and William Blair Equity Research
8 Source: Microsoft Roadmap to Digital Infinity – https://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-eBook-SRGCM3914.pdf