Quality engineering focuses on the introduction of new quality methodologies and the impact they have across the company including cultural and procedural changes. It’s about improving your processes around the way that you deliver quality and affects the whole company. Whilst quality engineering is relevant for any type of product development, in our world we focus on how it’s intended to help enhance your digital product execution and the quality of your organisation’s software products.
Why is quality engineering important?
Effective implementation of Quality Engineering methodologies and tools within your organization will improve communication between the engineering and manufacturing teams and ensure that the voice of the customer (VOC) is integrated into new or improved products or services.
Quality engineering tools can improve digital product quality and reduce costs through more efficient processes. Proper implementation will enable you to produce high quality digital products that meet or exceed your customers wants, resulting in a profound effect on your bottom line.
As Chief Strategy Officer at Digivante, I’ve worked with my team of experienced subject matter experts to identify the following core principles to aid in the delivery of quality at a company-wide level.
Quality engineering core principles
While the core principles encapsulate our beliefs, they are not prescriptive. The demands of each project, technology stack, domain and team require customization to appropriately address the unique challenges of the individual situation. These core principles describe preferences but offer flexibility for practitioners to implement processes and approaches as necessary. The fundamental thing to note is that realising these principles requires collaboration from the whole team. Quality is impacted by all aspects of software development, so we cannot define or execute a quality strategy without involvement from all other roles — CEO, CTO, Heads of departments, Program Managers, Developers, Product Owners and many more.
A quality approach is a team approach, not something unilaterally conceived and executed by Quality Consultants, and so for each of these groups to effectively implement practices that ensure quality, there must be a shared understanding of what quality means.
Right approach at the right time
There is a multitude of solutions to help with ensuring quality. Applying the right one at the right time to solve the specific problem is key. At Digivante we have a culture of flexibility, so all our services are adaptable to meet our clients’ needs. We believe a collaborative approach between manual testing, crowd sourced testing, user testing and automation is the key to success. In short, we are method-agnostic which allows us to choose the right approach for the right time.
Ownership and empowerment
The whole software team and every individual working within the team must feel accountable for the quality of the deliverable, understand how they contribute to that quality, and actively and enthusiastically execute those responsibilities. Bringing focus to quality and encouraging ownership of outcomes empowers teams.
As every part of a team can be impacted by quality, it’s crucial that any testing partner understands all aspects of software delivery and their relationship to quality. Our consultants have expertise in crowd sourced testing, quality assurance, agile processes, test automation, CI/CD etc. We use this expertise to champion, evangelize, influence, and advocate for quality. Working closely with the team and ensuring quality guidelines are followed, it builds confidence, trust and team members are empowered to make decisions, reducing barriers to their success and therefore the improving the success of the whole team.
Small changes lead to big gains
While auditing and questioning every process across the team will lead to some major overhaul of processes, some changes will be more subtle and therefore easier and quicker to implement. These are the changes that will give the earliest benefits and help to build the confidence and trust within the team. These small changes help the most with cultural change and buy in.
By using a Continuous Delivery Maturity Model, you can identify key areas of the company that could benefit from improved quality, identify the level they are currently and set goals to advance from foundation to expert. Identifying where you are now and where you want to be is critical. In our extensive experience of championing quality, it’s often small changes that make the most significant impact across the whole delivery.
There is a deep and continuous collaboration between all members of a team, driving towards a common goal. This spans across senior stakeholders, business, operations, development, QA. When we work closely with internal teams and third parties we can identify better ways of working, quality gates and handoffs. This collaborative approach helps senior management understand the whole approach, delivery reports and identify accountability.
Whether you’re in the early stages of developing a strategic quality plan or are looking at how to improve existing quality systems, a common challenge arises: different teams, even individual practitioners, may adopt their own quality engineering practices, using their preferred methodologies and tools.
How do you orchestrate the principles and practices relating to quality to ensure a standardised enterprise-wide approach? How do you establish a shared understanding of and commitment to quality, where every member of every team has ownership and accountability?
At Digivante, we offer quality engineering expertise and consulting for companies in the early stages of developing a strategic quality plan or for those who recognize the need for improvements to their established quality systems. Get in touch to find out how we can support your quality efforts.