Many organisations look to the technology leaders like Google or Atlassian as a model to transform their quality processes. Enterprise and banking organisations have key differences that make it difficult to adopt these models. For instance, their risk profile is very different from the typical tech organisation. In addition, many of the systems are third party applications similar to SAP or PEGA where access to source code is not necessarily easy, making it hard to adapt to many of the “Shift Testing Left” ideologies.
Many look to technical consultancies to come and assist in making changes. These are typically highly skilled engineers who have a good understanding of what it takes to create product and processes. However, the consulting model is not necessarily a coaching one. Skill is not transferred. Instead consultants work together in an isolated team making the share of skill difficult.
Testing Times has developed a different model, called the Quality Engineering Coaching Model. We only use consultants practised at coaching others. Our goal is to share knowledge and skill so that when we leave, teams are in a position to work using newly adopted practises without in-depth support. Notice the name too. It’s a Quality Engineering(QE), not a ‘software testing’ one. Our QE model doesn’t focus purely on testing, but looks both the discovery and delivery phases. Our goal is to empower team and in the long term to make ourselves redundant! We look at both product and delivery practices and provided alternative approaches to improving the quality of a product as well as improving the overall skills of teams.
The focus is not purely on testing. Software Testing helps shine a light on the state of quality, in itself it does nothing to improve or change quality. Software Testing is simply one of the many activities an organisation can be trained on to improve the quality of their product.
The fifth largest bank in Australia, consulted Testing Times on how to coach their testers within agile teams. They wanted to reduce the test execution time. The idea was to increase test automation and reduce the emphasis on manual testing. Testing Times proposed an alternative approach. Instead of removing the safety net, focus on building quality in. By removing dependency on end to end testing, meant that the scale of end to end testing could be reduced without compromising on quality. As end-to-end test automation can be expensive and brittle, it made sense to move away from this dependency. Testing Times recommended a Quality Coach approach, wherein these highly skilled Subject Matter Experts (SME) were trained as Quality Coaches, who could help developers identify key risks prior to code being written.
To assist teams to improve quality, Testing Times brought in a DevOps Coach, Development Coach, Quality Coach, Automation Coach to work team by team within the bank in order to remove inhibitors, roadblocks and waste across their entire systems and put in skills and processes to achieve the transformation they needed.
Testing Times assisted teams in identifying what the quality was for them, the threats to this quality and then worked on a program to reduce these threats in a measured and visual manner that facilitated key stakeholder understanding. In this way, the organisation was able to move to a quality engineering model where everyone was responsible for quality. Reducing rework, shortening the feedback loop and improving overall flow.
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