How to Align a QA Strategy with Business Goals
If you asked an executive team if they wanted to increase the quality and speed of their product or service, they’d likely say, “Yes.” However, according to the 2017-2018 World Quality Report, only 29% of executive teams expect their QA and Software Testing strategy to contribute to business growth. So where does software testing lie in the majority’s thought process?
“Very often, even with the best intentions, it’s easy for QA to get put on the back-burner and end up in the waterfall world” - Fred Stevens-Smith
Rainforest CEO and co-founder, Fred Stevens-Smith, and Director of Professional Services, Jeremy Bivaud, recently sat down for a
to discuss how to tap into your business data for quality strategy success. While aligning your QA strategy and business goals can seem like a daunting task, Jeremy and Fred provided a step-by-step framework to mapping your QA strategy to top-line goals for your organization.
The process begins with identifying how your organization can align its existing business goals with a new QA strategy, and how you can create a mindset within your organization that leads to long-term QA success.
Developing an Actionable QA Strategy that Ties to Business Goals
Your company may not realize it, but the tools for creating a valuable and actionable QA strategy that tie to your larger business goals might already be at your disposal. Just as a Marketing or Finance strategy is created with business goals in mind, a QA strategy can (and should) be, too.
The Importance of Aligning QA Goals with Business Goals
QA strategies frequently take a backseat in an organization's goal setting process, or are not factored into the planning process at all. This can lead to QA processes that are reactive and unfocused. For product quality to be improved, your team needs to see the tangible value in spending time and resources on QA. But in order to get the rest of the organization on board, your team must define QA goals that align with high-level business goals. After identifying your QA goals, you then must communicate them on a company-wide level.
“We find that a lot of team leaders in dev and engineering organizations are not clear on the goals of the company, because goals are not being properly articulated, or simply don’t exist.” - Jeremy Bivaud
Identifying the Right QA Goals
You might already know what your business’ goals are. But some organizations do not have established or transparent company goals. Start by having conversations with stakeholders across the organization -- from the CEO and CFO to the Heads of Sales and Product. Understanding what their teams are trying to achieve (e.g. implementing automated testing, or manual) will give you the bigger picture of how product quality impacts business success. Once you understand your company’s high-level business goals, you can then work backwards to build out a QA strategy that will contribute to those goals as well.
Measuring QA for Success
Another challenge in this step is to ensure that quality goals are quantifiable. Very often, software quality is a largely subjective metric, which can be a challenge when attempting to identify tangible, achievable company-wide goals for QA. To create these goals, your company must decide which metrics are key to tracking success. Defining quality metrics for your team’s individual definition of success is crucial to seeing the value of your efforts.
Learn More about Tying Your QA Strategy to Business Goals
Without devoting time and energy to improving your QA strategy and creating a plan for success, it’s likely that your QA success will go unrecognized. Too often we find that QA teams are not given the resources they need to succeed, and the only truly effective way to make a marked difference on your QA success is to devote the appropriate time and resources to it.
Developing your company’s mindset towards strategic quality decisions is easier when your testing strategy is tied to your business goals. For more information on aligning your QA strategy with your business goals, watch our webinar. In “How Can I Tie My QA Strategies to My Business Goals”, Fred & Jeremy discuss the challenges of creating a tangible business goal with your QA strategy, and offer common business metrics that you can measure your QA strategy against.