QE: How to Align People, Processes and Tools

QE: How to Align People, Processes and Tools

What is Quality Engineering, or QE? To some, QE sounds a lot like QA. In fact, it is loosely related to QA, but it’s also a whole lot more. If you’re considering how to make the transition from QA to QE, then read on.

QE promises a lot: increased speed, shorter cycles, better end product, productivity gains, savings in both money and time. But can it deliver? In short, yes. While effective QA might improve the speed and quality of your product, only QE can accelerate improvements by a significant order of magnitude. In a QE world, the focus is on bettering the processes and means of getting to the product, not just the product itself (as in QA). An overall QE approach not only shortens time to market, it will also pay dividends in terms of customer experience, competitive advantage and return on investment.

But when it comes to deploying it on your own turf, where should you begin? Let’s take a closer look at how enterprises can map a QE approach onto their people, processes and tools.

Define your goals

Be clear about what it is you want to achieve. We can talk generically about shortened cycles or improved customer feedback, but make it specific to the business situation. This phase should involve the key stakeholders – their insights about the product requirement that must be met are instrumental to the success of your QE transformation. Finally, begin thinking in broad terms about how your team’s skills map onto the objectives and if there are any obvious gaps in knowledge.

Plan your journey

Next, communicate to the team. Your strategy is not a museum exhibit, so don’t treat it that way. It should be discussed and adapted as needed.  Don’t forget to incorporate into the strategy a schedule of builds and maintenance release cycles, all the while paying special attention to the branching strategy and dependency management of the builds. By now a ‘natural fit’ team may be taking shape. Sure, technical skills count for a lot, but softer skills can really make the difference too.  Guess what? Capable, motivated people who are unafraid to use their experience to try something new are exactly the kind of people that will thrive in central roles. If your team consists mostly of people who are happier working within their established comfort zone, remember that once the benefits of QE start becoming clear, it provides an added incentive for even the least adventurous souls to skill up.

Don’t worry if you lack an obvious role or skill set within the team. If you know exactly what you need, the right freelance contractor could solve the skills shortage just fine. If you think you need a wider spectrum of advice or skills, consider an app development consultant specialized in QE.

Choose tools wisely

It’s time for the implementation phase to be properly defined. That means a design flow for new builds and releases, incorporating continuous testing and QE methodologies. The workflow should reflect branching and merging strategies, as well as dependencies and multi-site coordination. Just as importantly, it’s time to choose the tools and technologies that will be needed. There is sure to be a solution out there to fit every phase of development. The challenge will be to pick the right tools, especially if your internal experience is limited. At this point, many firms opt for a little outside help in the form of a qualified app development partner to document workflow and tools options.

Let the transformation begin

With people and processes aligned, your tools are ready to be deployed. Your project workflow will need to be defined in detail, with scripts to support each step of the process. Consider using Selenium or Jenkins, you can automate software builds and develop the packaging deployment scripts.

That’s it! Well, not quite. QE is a transition, after all, and it is going to take time. However, maybe it won’t take as much time as you might think. We’ve helped clients get their QE initiatives up and running in as little as seven or eight weeks, which really is quick when you consider the competitive advantages you gain, like faster time-to-market, improved performance, financial savings and time savings.

If we’ve convinced you to take the first step to QE today, why not get in touch with any questions you might have about workflow mapping, QE methodologies or the rights tools to get the job done.

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