Quality assurance is a complex effort for many organizations to uphold, as schedules become shorter than ever while the teams are put under pressure to deploy more deliverables more often. In this type of environment, it’s critical to have capable quality assurance testing tools and associated frameworks to achieve these expectations while also ensuring quality standards are upheld.
Teams have increasingly embraced the testing center of excellence (TCoE) model as the answer to facilitate agile practices and thoroughly vet each piece of code. The problem is, some organizations don’t fully understand the need to create agile TCoEs or what types of benefits they can bring. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just how important an agile TCoEs are and how they can impact a business.
What is a TCoE?
To understand where we’re going, we must first know what we already have. With all of the acronyms floating around the software development space, it would be no surprise if companies were unsure about what exactly a TCoE is. A TCoE is essentially a robust framework made up of processes, technology, people and other strategic assets tied together to create a centralized quality organization.
Industry expert Pradeep Kollana noted on LinkedIn that agile TCoEs bring departments together to promote collaboration and improve testing effectiveness. This one aspect is what sets agile TCoE models apart from traditional ones. Now, professionals are being asked to step outside their conventional roles, requiring a high level of coordination and instilling responsibility across all testers and developers. These individuals will be required to fix code and write test cases as needed, even if it’s not usually part of their job description. Agile TCoEs emphasize this type of ability to quickly complete tasks and bolster testing efforts while making quality the main focus of these initiatives.
The benefits of a TCoE
To businesses, TCoE sounds good, but what competitive advantages does it bring and how will it affect the bottom line in the long term? Some TCoE teams have been able to reach up to 70 percent automated testing, effectively reducing test times by 30 percent or more.
While TCoE groups are able to move quicker, that doesn’t mean that they’re shirking their testing duties. In fact, a TCoE organization’s test maturity level is ranked as “efficient,” and there’s only a 2 percent likelihood of high severity defect leaks. This can significantly help cut back on the need to make big changes within the code, and better conserve resource utilization by about 35 percent over three years. If the faster schedules and reduced costs don’t have you convinced, an agile TCoE can create tighter alignment with business needs, establish a culture of quality and provide new career opportunities. This in turn will lead to higher job satisfaction, better user experience and improved overall reputation.
Building a TCoE
After understanding what an agile TCoE actually entails and what its potential benefits are, organizations must start thinking about how they’re going to apply this framework to their own operations. First, you’ll need to evaluate your current setup. Gallop noted that if QA isn’t aligned with organizational goals, if the QA process isn’t transparent and if identifying testing resources is a challenge, these are just a few of the signs that your business needs a TCoE. Teams must carefully examine these aspects to determine the best way to implement this framework and reap its rewards.
Once an organization realizes they want to establish an agile TCoE, there are a few things that need to be done. First, you’ll want to get executive buy-in to drive the initiative while still ensuring that QA leaders maintain their independence as quality experts, Healthcare IT Leaders contributor Mike Cooper stated. It will also be important to have an agile development process like early defect detection and prevention, automation and continuous improvement. With these forces combined, teams can establish a strong agile TCoE and work to boost quality across all projects.
TCoEs bring departments together to collaborate and improve quality.
Author: Sanjay Zalavadia, VP, Client Services, Zephyr
As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. Sanjay has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.