Quality Engineering: 10 Insider Tips for People & Process Management
Quality engineering is teamwork. Although most organizations focus all their efforts (and investments) on choosing the right tools, not many realize the importance of people and processes in the quality engineering process.
The Need for Excellent Quality Engineering
Quality engineering focuses on ensuring that the products delivered in the market meet necessary business, market, regulatory, and customer requirements. It goes beyond simple testing onto test-driven development and ensures end-to-end quality lifecycle management.
By continuously introducing new tools and methodologies, quality engineering enables teams to improve how they deliver quality. Furthermore, by creating a relentless focus on quality, it minimizes the number of bugs in code, thus improving quality and customer satisfaction.
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Why People and Processes Matter in Quality Engineering
Despite continuous investments and efforts, quality engineering often does not deliver on promises. And it's not because the tools or strategy are ineffective. It is because not enough attention is paid to processes that make up quality engineering and the people who rely on those processes.
Slow and rigid procedures, dependence on manual efforts, and resistance to change are major drivers that impact the success of quality engineering. If you want to drive sustainable, long-term quality engineering results, you need to focus as much on your people and processes as you do on tools and technology. Modernizing your processes, reducing manual labor, and keeping teams engaged and motivated can boost quality engineering outcomes in several ways.
They can help increase productivity, enable standardization, and boost transparency. They can also minimize the probability and impact of errors, reduce quality engineering costs, and enable better scalability.
Top 10 Tips for Efficient People and Process Management
In addition to investing in the right tools, you must have all your people and processes on the same page for favorable outcomes. Here are 10 insider tips for effective people and process management:
1. Create a Comprehensive Quality Inspection Plan
The first step to effectively managing people and processes in quality engineering is to create a comprehensive quality inspection plan. A document that specifies the testing or inspection procedures is critical to ensure the quality of the product under test. An inspection plan also enables teams to determine if their testing processes are on track and address issues if and when things aren't working properly. Finally, by having a plan to always fall back on, teams can check the actual progress of their quality engineering efforts against previously set goals.
2. Bring Automated Testing into the Mix
Bringing automated testing into the mix is a great way to improve team productivity and efficiency. By allowing testing teams to automate mundane, repetitive, and error-prone testing activities, you can improve your product's quality while minimizing frustration and burnout. Test automation also goes a long way in reducing bugs in your code, optimizing testing costs, and improving the end-user experience.
3. Ensure You Have the Right Tools in Place
Quality engineering is as much about the right methodologies as it is about the right tools. Investing in tools that enable teams to streamline quality lifecycle management is critical to enable end-to-end business assurance. For instance, low-code, cloud-based AI-enabled tools can help meet current and evolving testing needs and grow with you as your business needs grow.
4. Prioritize Code Reviews
Prioritizing code reviews is yet another great step quality engineering teams can take to better manage their processes. By rigorously (and continuously) examining code being written, teams can discover common bugs faster and minimize the effort required to optimize code later in the testing cycle. Efficient code reviews also help in ensuring consistency in design and delivery, monitoring project quality, and enhancing the maintainability of code.
5. Make Continuous Learning a Habit
The testing landscape is constantly evolving. In addition to embracing the right tools and relying on the right processes to keep up, it is important to make continuous learning a habit. A culture of collaboration can provide instant feedback and enable continuous learning to occur and for quality engineering efforts to succeed. Empowering Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) can help teams come to a shared understanding of what goals they need to achieve and what steps they need to take to foster continuous learning.
6. Involve Developers in Reviewing Automation Code
Balancing time-to-market deadlines with writing maintainable code is a common challenge development teams face. If you want to achieve an equilibrium, you need to involve developers in reviewing automation code. Involving developers in the review process can help establish a stronger and more efficient feedback process. It can also help better understand which changes are possible and which aren't – from a development perspective.
7. Measure Developer Experience (DevEx)
In an era where the skills gap is constantly growing, having policies and procedures to measure DevEx is essential to quality engineering success. Developing metrics to assess how easy (or difficult) it is for developers to perform essential tasks can help in unearthing the issues they face while taking steps to improve their overall experience. In the long run, these efforts can improve productivity levels while assisting organizations to retain a good quality engineering workforce.
8. Collaborate More
Effective quality engineering isn't just about the development, testing, and operations teams. As software products grow in size and complexity, involving other stakeholders can lead to transformative results. Understanding the perspectives of business leaders, IT managers, and customers, for instance, can help:
- Streamline the software development lifecycle
- Ensure that the product meets the needs of customers as well as the business
9. Create Opportunities for the Team to Upskill Themselves
It's an exciting time to be part of a quality engineering team. Transformational changes are happening not only in the technology ecosystem but also in the way software itself is developed and deployed. With new testing tools and approaches constantly emerging, it also becomes important for teams to enhance their quality engineering skills. Creating sufficient opportunities for the team to upskill themselves allows them to stay aligned with the latest developments. It also helps them learn new skills, unlearning old ones, and enable growth with a purpose.
10. Nurture a Quality-First Culture across the Organization
Although revamping your processes and empowering your teams can help enhance the product quality, it could be more scalable and sustainable in the long run. If you want to achieve sustainable benefits, you need to nurture a quality-first culture across the organization. When every process, every tool, and every team member is centered around quality, all decisions are based on achieving that level of quality.