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Transformation in Quality Engineering & Testing Organizations

Posted by Rahul Joshi
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Change has been the only constant in life for humanity. In modern businesses, things change at an exponential rate. With every passing day, there are new ideas, technologies and markets. It has become imperative for organizations to evolve and remain relevant to their customers by adapting to these changes and transforming accordingly. As it is rightly said, that growth is impossible without change and organizations who do not adapt to change cannot survive in this cut-throat competition.

There are numerous factors which may force companies to make these organizational changes. These factors may vary from social trends, a weakened economy, regulatory forces, technology or even political reasons. All the different type of changes an organization or an industry as a whole undergoes, can be bucketed in three large groups -

  • Development changes - applicable when there is a need to make improvements to an existing situation
  • Transitional changes - applicable when there is a need to implement a completely new course of action
  • Transformational changes - applicable when there is need to go from the current level to the next level of growth of an organization

In an organizational context, "Transformation" is a journey of reshaping, restructuring and redesigning an organization through a totally new avenue of large scale changes and effectiveness, engineering it throughout in a way that it completely changes its past form and structure. It is a process involving large-scale changes to achieve a higher level of effectiveness & efficiency making it quite different from a linear change.

Information Technology is the utmost dynamic and disruptive industry in today's world. New functionalities and features are replacing not-so-old technologies and the industry is struggling to keep up. For e.g., even before the transition from Waterfall method of Software Development to Agile methodology completely cascaded across the organizations, a new method aka DevOps emerged. In this regard, the need of the hour is to adapt to the changes and mould the organization in that way. Those who manage to successfully catch and board the speeding train of developments survive, and eventually become trendsetters and leaders. Meanwhile, the ones who struggle to keep up dissolve in course of time.

Transformation in QA Organizations

The scope for QA organization transformation has increased multi-folds as compared to the yesteryears driven largely by changes in the business environment, emerging technologies and improved maturity of testing discipline. Hitherto, organizations considered testing as last step in SDLC, where its role was limited to bug identification and bug fixing. Testing was perceived as a bottleneck consuming significant time and other resources. However there is an awakening to the fact that testing has reimagined its role and has come a long way from feature checking of the past. Over the years, Testing has transformed to 'Quality Assurance' (QA), which involves verification and validation across the SDLC, right from the requirements gathering stage of a new engagement. All the more, QA organizations are undergoing a radical change in the thought process, where they have started to align with the business outcomes of a customer's organization.

The need for transformation in a QA organization may be caused due to several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Companies with significant experience in offshore testing often ask their providers to establish a Test Centre of Excellence (TCOE) to function as a shared service for various organizational units (source: Forrester)
  • The CFOs role in IT investment has increased again in 2017 (source: Gartner)
  • One-third of survey respondents have begun optimizing their testing activities, while 36% plan to start the process within a year (source: Pierre Audoin Consultants)
  • Recent survey reveals that up to 40% of a tester's time can be consumed by testing activities
  • To increase accountability and reduce the burden on cost and operations, organizations are advised to standardize their Test Environments
  • Reusability and consistent processes reduces the Cost of Poor Quality by staggering 35%
  • Poor quality software costs the US economy $60 Billion per year
  • Approximately 30 percent of defects are caused by wrongly configured Test Environments (source: an IBM Study)
  • A fundamental transformation that will eventually lead to a new IT ecosystem, all supported by new Standardized global processes for the development and delivery of technology (source: Forrester)
  • Many CIOs need to do more to drive technology-based business innovation (source: Forrester)
  • Organizations can save significant money by rationalizing tools (source: Gartner)
  • Improving test infrastructure can save U.S. organizations one-third of their annual QA costs (source: A National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] Study)
  • Resource utilization trends indicate test resource utilization is about 57% against anticipated utilization of 75%, (source: NIST Journal)
  • Software testing is often accounted for more than 50% of total development costs. Thus, it is imperative to reduce the cost and improve the effectiveness of software testing by automating the testing process (source: Journal of Systems and Software)
  • 36% informed the challenges in testing is due to lack of successful test automation (source: A Global Testing survey, 2010)

Conclusion

The benefits of transformation are more than mere cost savings. In the brave new world, raison d'etre for testing is its business value - strategic as well as tactical. Organizations do take time to adapt to something as big as transformation. It also depends on the maturity of the organizations at the time they decide to start the transformation drive. Higher the maturity, lesser the changes, making it easier to reap the benefits from transformation sooner. However, in cases where the maturity is typically low, the sea change of processes and practices will take considerable time to settle down and the benefits will take longer time to materialize. Nonetheless, 'transformation' is akin to 'change' and change should always be for the better! Organizations must strive to change frequently and swiftly in this rapidly changing environment. Without transforming, they may just become another page in history!

About Author

Rahul Joshi- Consultant, Test Advisory Services, Wipro Ltd.

Rahul Joshi is a consultant with Test Advisory Services (TAS) in Wipro. He is currently instrumental in conducting QA assessments for test consulting engagements and also contributes to thought leadership. He has an overall experience of 4+ years and has worked extensively across different phases of software development lifecycle. After completing B.Com (Hon) from Calcutta University, Rahul worked in a Chartered Accountancy firm for 1.5 years and then went on to pursue an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Bangalore. A fitness enthusiast, Rahul starts his day in the gym and enjoys sports like football, cricket and table tennis. Apart from that, he loves to read and cook in his leisure time.

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