Quality assurance roles have evolved alongside development practices to ensure that they are remaining competitive in the current landscape. Agile testing methodologies have taken over as a means to streamline operations and bake in quality from the very onset of a project. However, there are a number of agile subsets that can be adopted, and not all of them will be viable for every organization. Each team will approach QA in a way that makes sense for their business, their needs and their resources.
Since there's no one way to pursue QA, teams should work to standardize their own model within their company. Doing so will provide a roadmap of what is expected and what processes should be leveraged. Here are a few steps that must be taken to standardize your QA model and set up your team for success:
1. Establish policies and procedures
A major step to standardization is to create a clear set of policies and guidelines for teams to follow. Without this, teams can be left to their own sensibilities, resulting in pure chaos when it comes to completing tasks in a consistent fashion. First, you'll want to make standard terminology for labeling items. If every QA tester is using different names, it will be significantly harder to track progress or to collaborate on essential touch points.
However, with standardized naming conventions, items will be much easier to work on and find within the system. Business 2 Community contributor Jeanne Landau noted that setting these policies in conjunction with your standards will help form a cohesive front, and empower employees to do their work more effectively. Teams should be trained on these procedures to ensure everyone is on the same page and that expectations are clearly stated. Standardizing terminology along with a quality test case tool will help establish one version of the truth and make it easier for individuals to collaborate.
2. Use the maturity model
If you want to assess where your QA model is now compared to where you want to be, you can leverage the capability maturity model to identify what category your team currently falls into. According to Software Testing Help, from least to most mature, the CMM levels include ad-hoc, control, core competency, predictable and innovative. The lower levels have processes that are often inconsistent and unplanned, which goes against the very nature of standardization. The higher levels look to create generalized strategies and measure the effectiveness of these efforts while driving continuous improvements. This will help plan for the future and give you team the tools to succeed.
"Based on this quantitative analysis, processes can be adjusted if needed, and that to without degrading the quality of the end product," Software Testing Help stated. "Analysis is done by dividing complete process into smaller sub-processes and then quantitative techniques are applied on these sub-processes and as per the result, sub-processes are adjusted if needed. This level is called predictable as based on prior experience; we can predict the process quantitatively and make use of that for the upcoming processes."
3. Reap rewards
By standardizing your QA model, your team can yield a number of benefits that will help boost capabilities and complete tasks more effectively. Without standardization, members would likely be running around trying to use their own methods to address problems, but this likely wouldn't work out well. As Lean Testing noted, standardizing the QA model provides a framework to guide testers, ensuring that they have more time to focus on actual testing activities rather than being concerned with the processes themselves.
Guidelines ensure that members know exactly what to do when they enter a situation and don't have to research for a way to work around it. Instead, they can take action immediately and resume concentrating on tasks that must be completed. The model also can help new testers get up to speed on what approaches are being leveraged and can make training much easier.
There's no one correct way to approach QA, but you should standardize your QA model for your team. By establishing a set of policies and gauging your agile maturity, you can work toward standardization and reap the rewards that come with this initiative.