In my previous post, I had written about how the traditional, centralized Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) operating model fails when it comes to Agile QA projects catering to New Age technologies. The major drawback being the complete independence from lines of businesses / business verticals, which hinders the collaborative work environment of agile development projects. The answer to this is the Hybrid Operating Model - an integration of the centralized TCoE and the decentralized agile model - tapping into the best of both worlds!
In this post, I will speak about how the hybrid model bridges the gaps and challenges of the centralized, as well as de-centralized models.
Major challenges of centralization model addressed by hybrid model:
- Governance Model:
The lack of an independent governance model makes it difficult to regulate project delivery seamlessly. A hybrid model addresses this effectively as it has three levels of Governance: Strategic, Managerial and Operational, with specific/ independent R& R for decentralized project delivery as well as centralized niche skill service delivery.
- Setup and maintenance of a traditional TCoE:
Setting up of a TCoE with end-to-end services is challenging and a lengthy process. It becomes a challenge to address flexibility, agility, consistency and innovation across project and service delivery, enterprise wide. In a hybrid model, the centralized component only caters to delivery of services, which are on a need basis - Test Automation, Test Environment and Data Services, Knowledge Management etc. Day to day Project Delivery however is carried on in a Decentralized manner. This reduces the associated challenges and overheads of maintaining a TCoE, compared to that of a full-blown one.
- Engagement Delivery:
A TCoE has very less flexibility when it comes to adapting to processes, requirements and skill sets that may be unique to a particular project/LOB. There usually is an absence of domain knowledge as well. It also lacks an independent audit and checklist mechanism. Project delivery in a hybrid model is in a decentralized manner allowing each project/LOB to have the flexibility to adapt as per the requirement, seamlessly. Also, the organization structure would be such that there would be a domain specific SME aligned to each LOB/project which would lead to better business understanding and improved test coverage.
Major challenges of decentralization addressed by hybrid model:
- Overhead costs:
Program management for development and testing are separate and independent in the decentralized model. This results in the organization incurring additional overheads required to establish an efficient interaction mechanism from a people, process and technology perspective. In a hybrid model, for common services there is a centralized service delivery reducing overhead costs per project. The tools and technologies are shared and re-used. Decentralization is at project level, where decisions for expense are project driven.
- Need for a Test Management Office (TMO):
In decentralized models, the Testing and QA team is required to set up a separate TMO, required to facilitate collaboration between the Development and Testing teams. Also, the absence of a Central Artifact Repository for reusable assets such as libraries, automation scripts etc. brings in inconsistency and inefficiencies. However, in a hybrid model, the service delivery executes in a centralized, consolidated manner (similar to a TMO), which also caters to a common repository for scripts, knowledge management etc. Common resources are deployed for specialized services, which can be leveraged by projects on a need basis. Independent test teams can be set up aligning to the project delivery model.
In my next post, I will touch upon the critical imperatives for successful implementation of a hybrid model and the various risks and challenges, which an organization should keep in mind.