Provar Community: A Conversation with CAST on the Battle for Quality

Published by Micah Rose Emerson, September 13, 2022
Provar Community Stories

Many of us are risk averse, but what about when it comes to the battle for championing quality software? When you have to have a challenging conversation or acquiesce to a decision maker when you know that quality user experiences are on the line, sometimes taking a risk is the best choice. Learning from others’ mistakes and experiences is helpful when defining the battle for quality and challenging the status quo.

In a recent conversation with a few Association for Software Testing conference speakers, we discussed testing strategies for quality war stories, and ways to bring peace to your teams and users. Read on to learn more about our top three tips to consider when gearing up for the battle for quality.

Lead More Authentic Conversations

Failing to listen to cross-functional teams makes the work harder for everyone in the software delivery lifecycle. While you may have the best intentions in championing quality, you must still find a balance in business requirements, user experience, and velocity. When everyone is pushing for their ideas to be heard rather than for quality, becoming insular and not reaching out for context during 1:1 and team meetings is almost inevitable. Jenny Bramble shares a lesson from a time when she made the decision to not fully connect with the team she was working with.

“I realized the value of having authentic conversations with people and understanding that just because I think a way is the right way to do something, it’s not always the best way, and you have to look at the context,” she said.

In the same way that we carefully collect intel from our users to continuously improve our delivery, we must do the same with our internal teams and decision makers.

Find Your Allies

Allies are essential when one is trying to affect positive change. The first thing Tariq King encourages people to do as they walk into an organization to affect change, especially around quality, is to find their allies. Who are the people that you can collaborate with? You have to connect with the people who also want to affect change. The only way to find allies is to intentionally look for them, understand their team goals, and find common ground to lead results together. Your future allies may not always have the title or official position, but the best allies are ones who take action. If you have recently joined an organization and are tasked with championing quality software, while scaling test automation, take note of the async communication channels, Jira ticket comments, and time to delivery. Reach out to these cross-functional leaders, connect with them authentically, and learn what they need from you to continue your work to support them. 

Advocate for What’s Right 

Choosing what, when, and how to advocate is key in the battle for quality, which means sometimes you have to become the villain of the sprint.

“If I’m in a role as a tester, everyone is pushing towards being done. I put myself in that position of being the villain, because I’m seeking out the ways that we are done, and I’m sharing with other people about, how we are not done, how we are not ready,” states Ben Simo.

While upper management may want you to take fewer steps to reach the end goal, certain developers may not be open to unit test adoption, and POs are pushing for deadlines that compromise your North Star for quality, pushing back with facts and raising any concerns you may have is the best way to advocate for quality.

The battleground for championing quality is often filled with deadline casualties, surrendered compromises, and unlikely alliances. We all have a role to play and whether you are the villain for pushing for more testing, seeking out allies, or choosing to have authentic conversations, you are fighting for quality.

Our Provar Community is everywhere and we are delighted to be a sponsor of CAST. We encourage you to listen to our full community conversation here, and consider joining Jenny, Ben, Tariq and many other quality warriors at the CAST Conference November 7-8, 2022 in San Diego, CA.

To learn more about Provar Community and to join the forum, join us using the Provar customer email associated with your Customer Success Portal!

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