As a member of Invotra’s manual QA team I am aware that the responsibility for all aspects of quality in a product is assumed to lie at our door. When bugs have then been found in production it is natural to ask, “ Why was this case not tested?”
The role of a tester is to find and raise bugs and ensure that the developed code meets the end-user requirements. Therefore, testing teams play a large role in delivering quality but should not be seen as the be-all and end-all when striving to create a quality driven culture. If your organisation strives to create a quality product that meets the requirements and expectations of the end-user while continually providing a reliable service without defects there are many factors in play.
Let’s go over some of the dos and don’ts of creating a quality-driven culture:
1. Do be clear who is responsible for quality.
Everyone in the process is pivotal to the company’s success.
It is the responsibility of everyone that is a part of the process to deliver a quality product. From the product team, who define the direction and vision of the product, to the developers, who build the product, to the HR team, who hire the talent, everyone involved needs to know that their role is pivotal to the company’s success.
2. Don't play the blame game
Be open about mistakes, to deal with them with as quickly and effectively as possible.
When things, unfortunately, do go wrong it’s easy to fall into a cycle of blaming individuals.
The devs might place the fault on QA for not finding the bug, and QA might place the fault on the devs for introducing the bug. Going in circles like this doesn’t help resolve the issues at hand and can lead to an unhealthy environment amongst teams.
Instead, ensure all teams work with one another to find out what the problem was, what could have been done to prevent it and introduce processes to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. Nathanael J. Fast, in “How To Stop the Blame Game” stresses that to avoid a negative blame culture in an organisation, any mistakes that are highlighted should be done in a way that allows everyone to learn from it. Fast reports that some organisations go as far as rewarding employees who make errors which end up teaching team lessons that lead to future innovation. Fostering this mentality will encourage your teams to be open about mistakes, allowing them to be dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.
3. Do align your goals
Outline the vision and values of your business so that everyone understands the end goal.
For any business that wants to foster characteristics of a quality-driven culture, it’s vital that every department is aligned with the ultimate goals of the organisation. The Rainforest team noted that “QA strategies frequently take a backseat in an organisation’s goal setting process, or are not factored into the planning process at all.” They warn that unless leaders outline the vision of the business and its values so that everyone in the company understands the end goal, QA teams are likely to be reactive and unfocused.
By doing this, each department can analyse their work and processes, looking at possible improvements or changes that could enhance the quality of the product and development workflow.
4. Don't hide information
Ensure a flow of information between each member of their team as easily as possible.
Information provides direction to the entire company. Managers are responsible for ensuring that the flow of information is shared between each member of their team as easily as possible.
This flow of communication creates an informative work environment where each team member is able to get a good grasp on the current position of the business and the direction it needs to proceed in..
5. Do Communicate
Encourage openness about the good and the bad to promote an honest workplace and an outstanding product.
This may sound like an obvious one but all too often teams can become siloed from the rest of the development process. Issues between developers and testers are discussed by Lisa Crispin of Smartbear, who notes that the value of testers is sometimes questioned, in her advice on how to improve communication between these teams. QA testers themselves, and their organisations, need to work to amplify the voice of QA teams to fully benefit from the work of the team on discovering what could be missing, or unexpected, in the features, functionality and behaviours of a product.
QAs are required to communicate issues to all levels of an organisation, and if issues are to be addressed timely, open dialogue is key. It’s important that team members are encouraged to be open about the good and the bad to promote an honest workplace. With this, you establish a quality driven culture where people listen to one another and are open to collaboration and the quality of your product, and your organisational culture, can only benefit.