Adherence to Quality is at the centre of an application’s acceptance by its end users. It validates if an application is suited to meet specifications that were laid out at the time of its designing. Traditionally, quality testing functions as a distinct phase in the overall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and suffers from inadequacies such as lack of synergy with the development team, lack of automation, dependence on external variables, and a general slackness in following best practices and technologies.
With the advent of Agile and DevOps methodologies, quality testing has undergone a paradigm shift. The shift involves setting up a centralized Testing Centre of Excellence that oversees conduct of best practices, increased automation and coordination with other business arms, and continuous metrics based evaluation to deliver top notch quality applications in the least possible time.
Even though the implementation of Quality Assurance (QA) centre of excellence might involve initial costs and changes to the organizational work culture, its benefits can be seen in the near future.
The demand for quality, speed and agility in designing, developing and deployment of applications has been understood by business stakeholders including the most important Quality Assurance team. In its quest to offer better quality products and shorter time to market schedules, the traditional Quality Assurance team has to necessarily transform itself into a Testing Centre of Excellence.
This gives the team an insight into emerging technologies, best practices, operational inadequacies, cost optimization and faster time to market. CoEs help in increasing the efficiency of the Quality Assurance team a notch or two vis-a-vis its traditional avatar. It comes across as a centralized framework, wherein quality tools, practices, technologies, and processes are shared across different testing arms of an organization.
Inadequacies of the traditional QA model
- No proper insight into various processes and systems that develop and run applications
- Unable to adapt to fast-paced changes in business priorities, market dynamics, technologies, and end user expectations.
- Glitches go unnoticed frequently, thanks to the dominance of manual testing, thereby impacting business and brand equity.
- Repetitive manual tests can frustrate even the most stoic of employees, leading to less optimised use of crucial IT resources.
- Lack of synergy between various testing teams can lead to glossing over of glitches and increased cost of fixing them.
- Absence of proper tools to communicate and share push teams in respective silos
- The QA team lacks resources and mechanisms to undertake continuous improvement of an application post deployment
What stops COE from deployment?
- Normal resistance to change – in organisational structure, work culture, technology, and further resistance to bear the initial cost of setting up COE.
- Lack of insight into tangible/intangible benefits in the absence of metrics driven quality checking across functions.
- Lack of executive support, both at the tactical and strategic levels.
Seven key benefits of Testing centre of excellence
A common framework: Testing Centre of Excellence provides for a centralized framework of testing tools, processes and systems that ensure quality of an application across departments is maintained. Besides, all testing teams become part of the overall CoEs in alignment with the missions and goals of the company.
Resource Mobilisation: In COE human resources are properly assigned across functions keeping in mind their core skills. Hence, additional cost on retraining of resources is not needed.
Proper ROI assessment: As metrics based testing is followed covering a greater test area, cost of glitches and time to market can be easily ascertained.
Use of automation: Increased use of automation in Testing Centre of Excellence implies lesser testing cycles, and faster time to market.
Standardization: Standardization of testing methodologies means streamlining of testing processes, and sharing of systems and tools across functions.
Better synergy: Increased coordination between various QA functions ensures better identification of glitches.
Sync with new developments: Testing centre of excellence entails focus on latest technologies and best practices, thereby garnering better responses to emerging business dynamics.
Michael works for Gallop Solutions, which is one of the North America’s largest Independent Software Testing companies operating since 2003 with offices in Philadelphia & California.