As a QA manager or the sole tester at your company it can be hard to convince management that QA is just as important – and needs its fair share of time and resources – as development. I said hard, not impossible. Our newest whitepaper will help you make your case to the higher-ups and hopefully help them see that ignoring or scrimping on QA and software testing can be a detriment to the bottom line and the brand.
Here’s an excerpt from Communicating the Value of QA.
Make Sure You Understand
If you want QA to get the respect it deserves, you need to be a team player. Understand the company’s dreams for this product and overall corporate goals. Just as customers won’t be using the software in a bubble, you’re not testing in a bubble. Figure out how QA can help make not just a better product but a better product in terms of what executives want. If you suggest changes and raise issues that have already been dismissed or that are wildly out of line with the company’s goals you run the risk of alienating yourself, overstepping your bounds and devaluing your opinions in the eyes of the stake holders.
Know the Expectations
Scott Barber, Chief Technologist at PerfTestPlus, suggests drafting a mission statement that outlines the goals of QA for each project and sharing it with management. While putting together this mission statement consider who you are presenting to, what their chief concerns are likely to be and what they care most about. Let these factors influence your goals.
Presenting this mission statement before testing will help you determine if your understanding of the project is in-line with what executives want. If your goals for testing and the desires of executives are miles apart it’s better to figure that out before you spend time testing. It also opens the door for discussion. If you need to re-craft the mission statement discuss what the exec wants from QA and why you chose these goals – it could be that the true goal needs to be a combination of both inputs. Remember, the common goal is to make the best product possible.
“What doesn’t work is assuming that because you are the test manager, or the tester, that you know how your testing adds value to the company, that you know what the most important testing is, and that you know the managers and executives are idiots because of what they are telling you to test. The fact is that even if your managers and executives are idiots that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a sound and reasonable business reason to want what they are asking for. It’s not up to us to judge them for either being idiots or for making clumsy requests that don’t actually help them resolve their concern. It is up to us, however, to help them figure out what they actually need, help them figure out how to meet that need, and then guide our testing to best serve that need.” – Scott Barber, Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus
Even with careful planning and even more careful testing things might not always go according to plan. Maybe you missed the mark with your testing goals, maybe the management’s asks changed mid-way through testing and you didn’t get the memo, maybe your team missed a major bug. Take a deep breath and take responsibility – no one respects a blame shifter.
Take responsibility for mistakes that were truly your fault. Form a plan to keep the mistake from happening again and discuss it with your team so everyone is on board. Then bring your acknowledgment that something went wrong and plan of action directly with your immediate supervisor and to any executives you have a working relationship with.
If it wasn’t your fault, don’t just point the finger at someone else. Acknowledge that the ball was dropped, explain why you think that happened and suggest a way to keep it from happening again. If you want the QA department to be an equal member of the team, you need to show the powers that be that you’re a team player.
To read more, download Communicating the Value of QA >>>