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Quality Assurance and Company Maturity Assessment 

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

 –Will A Foster

These days phrases like quality assurance and quality control (testing) are used almost interchangeably. However, it’s important to make a distinction between the two.

QA and testing are both focused on improving the quality of software applications, but QA enhances the quality via process improvement through metrics, continuous improvement, and finding bugs. Testing, on the other hand, prevents bugs in the first place.

For an organization to transition from a Quality Initializing (Level 1) to a Quality Expert (Level 5) Maturity Level, it’s important to recognize that everyone, not only the QA team, is responsible for quality. To facilitate this “shift left” mindset, it’s important to create organizational alignment and demonstrate executive sponsorship.

Without executive support and enforcement, activities associated with quality improvement initiatives run the risk of being deemed unfavourable and will rapidly decay. In turn, different stakeholder groups will end up with elective guidelines, rather than policies. It’s best to establish project scope and objectives.

Scope and Objective

The scope of a Diagnostic Portfolio Assessment consists of an evaluation of the following:

  • QA & Project Methodologies
  • Processes, Practices
  • Toolsets
  • Capabilities
  • Test Automation

The methodology behind the process starts with planning, investigation, analysis, and reporting.

After this kind of assessment, the next logical question is, “where do you think you are?”

Level 1: Quality Agnostic
50-75 % $$$ Budget Overrun

  • Delivery by heroic individual effort
  • Progress is guesstimated
  • No tools (management by Excel)
  • No common technical policy
  • Quality is highly variable; customer as a tester

 

Level 2: Quality Initializing
25-50 % $$ Budget Overrun

  • The effort is correlated to progress
  • Point tools
  • Intra-project technical policy, manual enforcement
  • Pockets of test automation
  • Consistent quality for projects of like-size

Level 3: Quality Conscious
25+ % $Savings

  • Project progress measured by KPI
  • Intra-project sharing, reuse
  • Inter-project tech. policy, manual enforcement
  • Tools with some integration
  • Regular test automation
  • Consistent quality for projects of variable-size
  • ‘ROI aware’

 

Level 4: Quality Savvy
40+ % $$ Savings

  • Program progress measured by KPI
  • Inter-project sharing, reuse
  • Enterprise tech. policy and automated enforcement
  • Complete requirement traceability
  • Automation across core lifecycle
  • Integrated tool suites
  • ‘ROI expectant’

 

Level 5: Quality Expert
50+ % $$$ Savings

  • Delivery progress integrated into portfolio view (normalized, dynamic)
  • Efficient DevOps connection for application deployment, security, performance
  • IT as an integrated “supply chain” for the app. change management 
  • Automation across the complete lifecycle
  • ‘ROI ensured’

 

It takes time to achieve this multiphase level of maturity. The concept of quality, process management, and quality control QA may be new to some companies. In time, quality assurance becomes second nature and a valued component to test software.  The insights that QA Consultants has gained from the multiple QA and Testing Assessments have established a correlation between the QA and Testing Maturity Level of an organization and its associated project costs. More specifically, unless an organization ranks at Level 3 – Quality Conscious, projects have rarely delivered on time, on budget and have met the customer expectations from a quality perspective. 

What does a maturity assessment/process maturity timeline look like?

3-6 Months – Achieve Maturity Level 2 – Quality initializing through integrated tools, streamlined process and a consistent approach to quality assurance and testing.  

6-9 Months – Achieve Maturity Level 3 – Quality conscious and start realizing cost savings of 25 % and up through integrated tools, standardized KPIs and optimized test environments. Leverage metrics for continuous improvement.

12-18 Months – Achieve Maturity Level 4 – Quality savvy through centralization of best practices shared across projects and teams of similar size and complexity. Start realizing cost savings of 40 % and up.

18-24 Months – Achieve Maturity Level 5 – Quality expert by moving towards DevOps and introducing automation across the complete capability maturity model lifecycle. 

The objective of this quality management engagement is to identify gaps and inefficiencies in the current process for products and services. The next step requires recommendations that address some of the current quality assurance QA challenges and will facilitate a transition to a quality assurance program


QA challenges:

  • Testing takes too long and in the new framework cannot wait for 4 months for testing to complete
  • All testing effort currently is conducted manually
  • Test cases and production processes are not formally documented
  • Execution of testing effort is heavily reliant on the SME of specific associates
  • Since there is no automation of the testing effort, it is hard to support frequent changes
  • Looking to introduce more rigour, automation and standardization into the regression testing

The next step

What’s next? After a company maturity assessment comes, implement structured, business-driven test management approach, including flexible and agile testing techniques;

Depending on the results, QA Consultants would:

  • Apply industry best practices, methodologies and knowledge of automated tools, frameworks, and accelerators. This involves the setup and maintenance of the hardware, software and testing services infrastructure including test environments, and tools.
  • Evaluate existing resources and create a plan for additional staff and skillsets. Train testing teams and mentor the entire organization to apply process and organizational changes;
  • Measure the impact on test maturity after transformation using business-relevant parameters – such as cost and productivity;
  • Quantify the success of the TCoE against metrics, and promote TCoE advantages internally;
  • Improve QA processes through continuous innovation, short evaluation cycles and provide realistic ‘how to’ recommendations for every phase of the transition 

We help you mature your quality

Every company environment is unique and requires an individual answer. At QA Consultants, our projects can range from a few hours (for on-demand needs) to multi-year sourcing arrangements. However, most of these engagements start with one or more advisory services.

Advisory services at QA Consultants are those that have a fixed duration and confirmed end date. Our services often have a deliverable that improves processes and teams. These are traditionally consulting engagements that include time from our executive leadership and senior professional services teams.

Most advisory services are delivered under time and materials engagement models. This allows QA Consultants to be efficient and able to reduce the time needed. Most of these projects relate to some degree of assessment. When material, data, and resources are readily available, these projects can move smoothly and under budget.

Find out how the QA Consultants’ Advisory Services team can assess your needs. Contact QA Consultants to take your business to the next level.