So, you have considered the key questions about whether it makes sense to adopt an enterprise-wide quality assurance strategy. Furthermore, you have addressed the difficult issue of choosing the right time to do so. Now your attention needs to turn to the nuts and bolts of adopting such a strategy.
Time, Ownership; Is it Right for You?
This blog post will tackle the following topics: the time required to develop an enterprise-wide assurance strategy; ownership of the strategy; making sure the strategy you choose is right for you; and the downside of having such a strategy in place. Now your attention needs to turn to the nuts and bolts of adopting such a strategy. This blog post will tackle the following topics:
- The time required to develop an enterprise-wide assurance strategy
- Ownership of the strategy
- Making sure the strategy you choose is right for you
- The downside of having such a strategy in place
The Time Required to Develop an Enterprise-wide Quality Assurance Strategy
Whether you are developing an enterprise-wide assurance strategy in house or drawing upon external resources, doing so requires the buy-in of managers throughout the organization. As a result, the time required to develop a strategy can range from a few weeks to several months. If you are championing such a strategy, you need to take into consideration all the following elements when managing expectations about when a thorough and relevant strategy can be delivered.
- Governance structure. If your organization has multiple layers of decision-making or involves committees that meet infrequently to address company-wide issues, developing a broad-ranging strategy will be a lengthy process.
- Access to skills. If you can draw on people who have Quality Assurance skills that span several industries, products and/or team configurations, developing a quality assurance strategy will be more efficient.
- Culture of quality. If your organization places a high value on ensuring that products and systems must be flawless, developing a quality assurance strategy can be fast-tracked.
- Dedicated budget. If your organization has a budget that is dedicated to improving work processes across departments or business units, developing a quality assurance strategy can be fast-tracked.
Ownership of an Enterprise-wide Quality Assurance Strategy
Ownership of an enterprise-wide assurance strategy falls into two phases: the development of the strategy and the execution of the strategy. Ideally, those who help pull the strategy together also play a role in its execution, monitoring and management. This practice ensures the creation of a strategy that reflects the organization’s culture and its ability to adopt (and sustain) far-reaching changes. For an enterprise-wide assurance strategy to be relevant enough to take root, it should be owned by a cross-discipline team consisting of senior Quality Assurance professionals, business analysts and technical architects.
Knowing the Enterprise-wide Quality Assurance Strategy You Choose is Right
Because of the broad pressure on resources that an enterprise-wide assurance strategy has on your organization, it is important to maintain a sense of skeptical impartiality – even if you are the strategy’s most enthusiastic champion. To that end, you need to make sure that such a strategy can be chunked in smaller pieces so you test its validity before it is rolled out across the organization. For example, select a single-team, non-mission-critical product or product release/upgrade to test a component of the strategy.
The Downside of an Enterprise-wide Quality Assurance Strategy
With all the benefits that an enterprise-wide assurance strategy brings to an organization, it can be easy to overlook a very real downside. Specifically, the development of a strategy – that is, before it is implemented – can be thought of as a “one-time only” exercise. That is, once it’s done, it’s complete. But such a strategy needs to be a living, breathing document that is regularly reviewed and revised. Fortunately, if you’re aware of this risk you can take precautions to ward it off. For example, make sure the strategy is reviewed regularly. Also make sure that its KPIs have been translated into terms that all department leads (HR, sales, marketing, operations, product marketing, finance, executive, etc.) can see the impact/relevance for them.
The next blog post will look at your enterprise-wide quality assurance strategy’s First 100 Days. It will focus on milestones during that critical time, as well as common pitfalls, and what you should do if your strategy is falling flat. Your experiences with or questions about implementing an enterprise-wide quality assurance strategy are always welcome.
Please reach out to me by email (dnikolova at qaconsultants.com) or via LinkedIn. Desislava Nikolova leads QA Consultants’ Advisory Practice.