Who Should Be Part of Your QA Team? Getting Creative to Build a Culture of Quality

QA is traditionally a siloed role that puts software testing “over the wall” from development, product and other teams. But as development cycles move faster and quality demands get more rigorous, many teams have found that waiting until the end of development isn’t efficient.

In this post adapted from our guide, 90 Days to Better QA, QA experts discuss how leveraging non-traditional resources and roles for their QA process helps build a more effective testing process and a stronger culture of quality for the organization overall.

Using Change to Upset the Status Quo

It’s not just a matter of getting creative with new technologies or processes, but also bringing in the outside people who can affect change at a rapid clip.

Similarly, engineering and quality leaders are more likely to magnify the results of initiatives like these if they’re creative with the alliances they make outside of the traditional tech geek circle. For example, Daria Mehra, Director of Quality Engineering for Quid, says one of the best things that QA and software engineering leaders can do is build relationships within the customer success organization.

“They’ve been told where the bugs are by irate users so they will talk to you at length about the fragile areas of an app and will solve half the problem for you, because you don’t need to go looking for bugs they’ve already found,” she says.

Make Everyone a Part of the QA Team

Having dedicated quality owners within your team is crucial, but they shouldn’t be the only ones concerned with the quality of your product. Work towards developing communication channels for the entire team to provide product feedback and suggestions. These lines of communication are especially critical for teams who dogfood their own product, because they encourage everyone from devs and PMs sales reps and the marketing team to report bugs and think of how to improve the product.

Some teams take this “culture of quality” ethos a step further by encouraging everyone to participate in the testing process. While some teams do this in a more ad hoc way (i.e. “Everyone drop what you’re doing to test this feature before it launches”), the trick to creating a culture of quality is building structure into a team-wide testing process helps make this a positive experience. Twyla, an online art marketplace, holds weekly “test-fests” -- unattached to pre-release QA -- where every member of the organization is encouraged to join the engineers to learn about and test new features. This creates a stronger sense of ownership over quality across the entire team.

What Makes for a Quality-Focused Team?

There’s no perfect formula for a QA team. Here at Rainforest, we’ve worked with organizations where quality is owned by quality engineers, by product managers and by developers. What matters most is creating a process and a team that delivers consistent results and drives product quality forward.

Find out how teams can jumpstart their product quality and learn more from experts who have succeeded in building a better QA process for their team in our new guide, 90 Days to Better QA.

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