Quality engineering (QE) is often seen as something that happens within organizations.
The definition varies according to who you ask in the industry, but usually it comes down to improving software quality by focusing on bettering the whole process, not just the testing phase. Since we talk about it in these terms, it’s little wonder that the topic of QE almost inevitably leads to analysis of the process of application development and delivery.
If you think of QE in these terms, are you missing the point?
The underlying rationale for QE is delivering business results. Amid growing app fatigue, even though we’re still downloading apps, it doesn’t mean we are using them. In fact, an astonishing nine out of ten mobile minutes are spent using just our top five apps, according to the Comscore 2016 US Mobile App Report.
Business success hinges on delivering superb customer experience. To ensure your app is used, not just downloaded and forgotten, it needs to do what it does supremely well.
So how does a QE approach to digital initiatives improve customer experience? Well, firstly there are what I’d call the more obvious benefits:
- Faster releases
- Shorter, improved feedback loops
- Earlier and better defect detection
All of these result in better customer experience. Combine these powerful results with improved resource utilization, and enterprises will find they’re saving money while delivering more. So far, so great. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Here are three more ways QE gives you serious competitive advantage.
It’s all about the data
Be honest. How are application priorities set in your enterprise? We all like to think of ourselves as being guided by solid data alone, but the truth in most enterprises is that hunches, politics, habits and hype all play a role.
When you instigate QE in your software development, you enable a data-driven transformation. QE helps enterprises base decision-making on actual empirical data. (This is especially powerful if combined with a corporate-wide digital transformation.) QE plays a crucial part in helping enterprises become nimble, digital organizations that can spot trends and respond quickly to market disruption.
Focus on product not process
The latter is the means by which you gain product excellence. Perhaps it’s a hangover from the waterfall days, perhaps it’s to do with corporate culture, but a project approach tends to “emphasize schedules and ‘resources’ given a set of requirements. Project managers are necessary but not sufficient. Product managers translate customer requirements into engineering and business plans — continuously and end-to-end,” according to the excellent Forrester Research report, “Reforming AD&D Organizations For Customer Obsession: The Three Models”.
Tear down barriers
Implementing a DevOps culture is strongly associated with developing a QE approach. It can feel distinctly unusual at first because working in small, cross-functional teams does not come easily to all enterprises. However, stick to it because the softer benefits of DevOps (better communication, closer working culture) also translate into better business prioritization, better product output and increased customer satisfaction. Increasingly the “Ops” in DevOps comprises security and business teams. Maybe we should call it, DevSecBizOps? On second thought, maybe not…
Whatever we call it, agreeing and sharing goals from the beginning leads to software that delivers on business priorities, faster.
If you’re looking to sharpen your customer focus and are interested in how QE can help achieve your goal, why not get in touch? With more than 12 years of experience in helping companies accelerate digital initiatives, our technical expertise is sky-high, while our advice is deeply rooted in business priorities.