Agile and DevOps have increasingly taken center stage in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), building a platform for Quality Engineering (QE) governance. These processes now ensure that products meet the threshold of acceptable quality criteria.

Test early, test often

With an agile and DevOps approach, software testing embraces the concept of shift-left. As product release dates become more timely, this ensures that testing is done in parallel to software development to ensure both faster identification of bugs and element that could impact product quality. By integrating testing early in the development cycle, it ultimately advocates quality assurance over quality control.

In agile and Scrum development, the idea is to ship product/code faster in a more iterative loop. There is greater emphasis on process and finding bugs before development starts. In other words, adopting a proactive rather than reactive attitude is key, which is where the QE governance function comes into its own.

The QE governance team plans, directs and coordinates with project managers, team leads and product owners to formulate quality control strategies. They also work to enhance an organization’s efficiency by introducing new processes, tools and technologies that help improve the overall experience and quality of the product.

Taking that into account, there are three main ways QE governance benefits an organization’s digital development.

#1 QE training for the team

One of the crucial functions of QE governance is to ensure that the whole product team (including managers, developers, designers and QEs) are tuned in to quality standards.

As a result, the governance team’s role is to provide leadership and training in best practices. On a very simple level, the aim is to make software developers / testers accountable for not only managing their own quality standards but also promote a culture of quality. Naturally, the exact program of training the QE governance team provides will depend on the existing level of QE maturity within the organization.

For example, the governance team might start by running awareness and transition programs. QE governance programs can also be delivered by the internal QE governance leads within an organization, or by external experts.

#2 Improve processes, manage inputs

Organizations must play an active and crucial role in formulating quality standards and processes.

External QE governance support is only one part of the solution. In fact, when organizations participate fully to set standards, the resulting QE process will both meet those standards and result in a better quality products. In addition, this will minimize the time and resources required for testing.

The caveat to this approach is that while employees are bedding in the new QE processes and mindset, they might drift back towards old methods. On the plus side, one of the QE governance function’s roles is to detect and correct any deviations from the agreed QE approach.

A QE governance team, for instance, would need to intervene if they discover a team has been using traditional QA methodologies – this usually involves gently – but effectively – demonstrating the drastic quality improvements that can be achieved with more modern tools and technologies.

#3 Data driven quality improvements

The essence of software quality engineering is to investigate the relationships between in-process metrics, project characteristics and end-product quality.

Based on those findings, an organization can engineer improvements in quality to both the process and the product. Software metrics are then used to obtain objective reproducible measurements that can be useful for quality assurance, performance, debugging, management and estimating costs.

Essentially, QE governance measures metrics to help improve the QE practice at both a project and organizational level. These metrics can be defined as follows:

  • Process metrics – These metrics pertain to process quality and are used to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of various processes.
  • Product metrics – They measure cost, quality and the product’s time-to-market.
  • Organizational metrics – They measure the impact of organizational economics, employee satisfaction, communication and organizational growth factors of the project.

Increasing speed and quality with QE

Digital demands new approaches to test and QA. QE governance helps digital engineering teams prepare for the new requirements and expectations resulting from digital transformation, equipping them with the strategies, methodologies and tools for success. Standard analysis for various metrics at a project, product and organizational level helps find defects in code, predict defective code, project success, project risk and improve the overall QE practice and processes.

To learn more about how QE governance can benefit your organization, check out Infostretch’s webinar on making the transition to QE.