Black Hole No. 2: QA as a silo
Obi Wan: The force is what gives a Jedi his power. It is an energy field created by all living things. it surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
The same could be said for quality management. It should be an energy field, created and sustained by all involved in the development process, linking all living parts of the lifecycle, the requirements, code, the build, the test steps, the defects, the regression pack, everything; binding all aspects together and giving us the power of visibility and foresight throughout every stage of the development.
More commonly though, test teams seem to exist in serene isolation: isolated not only from other parts of the development and delivery effort, but also from each other.
Frequent status meetings are normal, with the focus on the gathering of historical data rather than forward planning.
Similarly, communication with other key teams is often dysfunctional. Defects are reported with a ‘fire and forget’ mentality. This is fine if you are trying to shoot down an enemy star ship but not so clever when building an IT application, as development is a key partner in application delivery.
The effective involvement of users in a project is crucial to its success and was identified by the Standish Group as the primary driver behind successful projects in their 2016 CHAOS update.
Yet left to their own devices, given their natural tendency towards their normal roles, user testing can become a burden of limited and poorly tracked value. IT and user management have a vested interest in the integrated progress of all their teams.
An approach where each team reports individually in different formats and on different timelines is obviously outdated and grossly inefficient.
To date, test management products have reinforced rather than broken down the potential dangerous isolation of QA teams. They have taken a narrow view of QA with a focus on requirements, tasks and defects when what is needed is a solution that can embrace QA across the project disciplines and integrate into essential infrastructure tools such as change management.
This is the second in a series of ten lessons from Yoda, on the topic of Application Quality Management. 10 Black Holes to avoid for successful Application Delivery.