How to select the best Quality Assurance & Testing services for your business
By Robert Burke - TELUS International
The most important thing every business needs to understand when deciding on quality assurance (QA) and testing services is that there is no single correct solution. There is no such thing as out-of-the-box, one size fits all. Rather, the best solution for your company is a custom one; a solution that addresses your needs, works in your environment, and fits in your culture.
Just as it would be unwise to purchase a new outfit off the rack for an important event without seeing if it fits, or if it’s event appropriate, or in line with your budget, it would be equally unwise to select QA and testing services without understanding your businesses’ needs, environment, processes, strengths and weaknesses.
Agile or not?
Process can be the lifeblood of quality or it can become a burden on innovation. The balance is critical. As a result, it’s important not to assume that one QA / testing method is better than another until you assess what you really need to reach your desired outcome. For example, test automation can dramatically increase quality, increase speed to market, and decrease cost, or it may drive costs higher if you don’t have the expertise and environments to maintain it.
Similarly, Agile methodologies can speed time to market and drive continuous improvement on projects with high levels of uncertainty, or can fail spectacularly on projects where planning and control are more important.
A company cannot achieve balance without looking in from the outside with a holistic and rational eye. Only with a full understanding of your company’s culture, environments, maturity, and goals can a solution be built in a way that creates lasting results.
When looking for a partner, capabilities and experience are critically important, but equally important is choosing a vendor who will do the consulting and analysis required to ensure the services you invest in fit like a glove. At TELUS International, we take the time to truly understand which of our QA and Testing services best fits your needs. This includes asking some key (and tough) questions.
Key questions to dig deeper:
- Determine the right amount of testing. Testing too much adds cost without adding value, but testing too little can be disastrous. Are you doing the right amount today?
- Determine the right methodology. Are you using waterfall where Agile would add value? Are you trying to do Agile where waterfall should be used?
- Determine testing maturity. What is your average defect density? What is your cost of testing? What percentage of your regression testing is automated? How early in the software development process is testing involved?
- Determine the right tools. Do you have the right tools? Do your teams know how to leverage every ounce of value from them? Are you paying for tools that can be done better or equally well with open source tools?
- Determine the correct level of documentation. Is a lack of documentation driving onboarding and training costs up or not providing what you need to continuously improve? Are you doing too much documentation in order to check boxes instead of adding value? Does your business have regulatory requirements that must be considered?
- Determine management effectiveness. Do you know what your labor productivity and labor capacity are? How about your testing forecast variance trend and your attrition rate?
- Determine the depth of knowledge on your team. Do you have critical SMEs identified with backups and training plans in place? Do you have certified QA professionals on the team?
- Determine the right environments. Do you have the infrastructure and environments needed to deliver quality?
- Determine the right processes. Is your SDLC standardized with specific deliverables? Are your processes documented, taught, understood, and governed?
- Determine your current scope of testing. What types of testing do you do today? Functional (Manual/Automated)? Web? Mobile? Enterprise? Mainframe? Desktop? Hardware? Performance? Security? DWH ETL? Usability? UAT? Is there testing you should be doing that you are not?
- Determine your culture. Is your culture an Adhocracy? Market-driven? Hierarchical? Clannish?
This may seem like an exhaustive list of questions, but taking the time to address them will put you far ahead of the competition. And of course, we're here to help! Our consulting services start by helping you answer these questions in order to thoughtfully recommend solutions that will deliver the quality you need at the best possible cost.
We invite you to put our testing services to the test and connect with us today.
Robert Burke is a 23-year software quality assurance veteran who has worked for nimble start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, and global consulting firms. His writings have been featured in Time Magazine, The Seattle Times, and The Washington Post to name a few. He is currently working as a delivery director and consultant for TELUS International in the Banking, Financial Services & Insurance sector.