We’re seeing first-hand how the economic downturn is now really starting to take a toll on ecommerce business and for this reason Digivante have put together a blog series on how you can recession proof your ecommerce site with QA. Last week we explored strategy 1 – Make your Agile ‘agile’ and this week we delve into our second strategy – Reduce internal costs.
Strategy 2: Reduce internal costs
This blog will promote more testing, yet paradoxically, to beat a recession, it is important to have a lean team.
How so? Well, if you already have a very cut back team of only a couple of testers, then you are already there – skip to the next recommendation. If not, then here is the case for reskilling your QA team or utilising them elsewhere. Certainly those attention to detail skills are valuable in various other areas within your business (with the ability temporarily to pull them back if every necessary).
This enables a two-step testing strategy which improves the QA team’s effectiveness because the test team engages in two prime testing types:
- Business Centric Testing
- This is the focus on the specific changes that have been implemented. It may require access to back-end system to configure particular cases and will likely focus more on these back-end systems.
- Consumer Centric Testing
- By contrast, this is more of the interface test. Again, there will be an involvement with back-end systems, but it is likely more that cases are created on the front-end, as a customer would do, then these can be checked in the back-end system. The focus is therefore on the customer front-end and its throughput. There will also be validation on the back-end systems to ensure the case was created, progressed and completed as it should be.
- Importantly, there is typically a larger amount of resource required to complete this as the cases should be tested on a range of web and mobile platforms.
Most test teams don’t split their labour in this way and typically either follow an ownership or task-based split (defined below):
- Ownership is where a particular team member will own a particular change, write test scripts and then test it. More complex or larger changes will be overseen by more senior members of the team.
- Task based model is where the more senior team members focus on the more complex ‘tasks’ which might be defined as defining requirements breakdown, writing scenarios, or even writing scripts. This leads to less experienced team members doing elements of testing that include, execution, reporting, bug trial and bug raising.
Given a lack of options, these two options will work in an acceptable way, albeit with significant downside of potentially not covering the customer viewpoint. This is a natural result of not having sufficient ‘burst’ to cover this kind of testing, nor has it ever really been possible bar the exception of perhaps the early days of offshoring.
So, with this burst testing requirement, more of a question is why would you want to cut your QA team? To deliver this burst capability, you either need no testers or 20 testers. Running a large team of testers means that there is a high cost to the team which is not dynamic and is likely to create ‘waste’ as well as a budget that you can’t get signed off. Reducing the size of the team allows you to change the dynamic of the team and still have a budget for additional resource. This available budget can be directed to sourcing the ‘burst’ which is likely to be required to deliver high quality software testing whilst maintaining agile development with a smaller team.
It also means that you can utilise the best quality internal team to focus on very high value testing.
It allies well with testers objectives, many of whom look to QA as a steppingstone into other careers. Additionally, of course, you will ensure that it possible to draw these staff back in for urgent needs on a temporary basis.
So, overall, a counter-intuitive proposal, but it means that the QA team can be streamlined and moved towards a more scalable model.
Next week we take a look at Strategy 3 for ecommerce sites wanting to beat the recession, but if you can’t wait we have a handy downloadable eBook guide which runs through 7 tips and tricks you can use to drive improved conversions and new revenue lines from your QA team, with actionable changes you can make today.