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INSIGHTS / Articles

Companies are Evolving to Quality Engineering

 14 Apr 2023 
Companies are Evolving to Quality Engineering Companies are Evolving to Quality Engineering
Companies are Evolving to Quality Engineering
INSIGHTS / Articles

Companies are Evolving to Quality Engineering

 14 Apr 2023 

Implementing new digital initiatives across organisations has been a priority for several years, but more recently, this need has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The growing interconnectedness of systems, the increasing need to make systems available via a range of web, mobile and online devices, and the ever-growing threat to data security, has dramatically increased the need to build more secure, resilient high-performing systems. This in turn has shifted the needs of organisations and sharpened their focus on holistic quality across the full lifecycle of each product.

In addition, technology is no longer contained within IT teams - it has become a key part of how organisations operate and differentiate in the market. Creating and delivering top-quality software products has become strategically important for both technology companies and non-technology companies.

This evolution and change in focus have driven the need for enabling quality across the whole life cycle, and to ensure businesses can achieve their objectives. More than ever, business value is reliant on being able to deliver software products at speed and meeting the quality expectations of customers.

The remit of testing is expanding into QE to meet quality demands

Testing is often seen as a key mechanism for ensuring quality. Whilst testing is and will remain crucially important to producing excellent quality software products, the remit of what testers need to do in order to ensure quality has progressed and expanded.

Quality engineering (QE) includes and goes well beyond testing to design a quality-optimised lifecycle that builds quality in and evaluates whether quality is present earlier and more frequently. The intent is to continually apply all the learnings and knowledge previously gathered into the software development lifecycle from the beginning to get it right from the start.

A QE approach aims to gain efficiencies and reduce rework by bringing together, not separating, phases in the lifecycle, such as ideation and requirements phase from design, build and test, with quality as they key focus.

There are multiple reasons why organisations are adopting QE:

  • Growing complexity and fast changes in our digital world are driving the need for holistic and strong quality practices that support business priorities around new digital initiatives at speed.
  • Business criticality of client facing products and software are increasing the need for greater quality.
  • Demands on software speed and availability increasing.
  • Security and resilience have risen as top priorities for organisations.

There are clear business benefits for adopting QE. More and more organisations are realising how quality needs to be a strategic part of their IT and systems. The potential downside of not making quality a key part of the equation from the start can have economic, competitive and even legal implications.

The business benefits of implementing a QE approach include:

  • Building quality in from the start and getting it right first time to reduce rework and costs, and improves time to market and uplifts quality.
  • Ensuring resilience, performance, security and usability in software systems, leading to a better and safer customer experience.
  • Implementing processes that improve confidence in software released to production.
  • Allowing greater insight into how products and software will enable business strategies and goals.

Four key characteristics of QE that optimise and deliver quality faster

QE is an engineering discipline that is not just about standardisation across every project and situation, but rather optimising every aspect of the product development lifecycle wherever possible, gearing it towards delivering quality sooner. There are four elements of QE that represent its intent at the core:

1. Focus on business outcomes and value

The focus of any QE approach should be on the business outcomes and value it will achieve, and how quality supports and enables these. Customer experience is growing in importance, which further highlights the need for meeting quality goals and releasing competitive software products faster.

2. Quality culture

In QE, quality must be inherent and infused across the lifecycle, but must also be present in the mindset of people. Quality engineers can support and coach others on how to enable this quality mindset, though they are not solely responsible for making it happen. In QE, quality is everyone’s responsibility.

3. Shifting left and right

Shifting left represent the way you build quality in from the start and how you focus on earlier detection and prevention of defects. Shifting right, where you test and evaluate quality later in the lifecycle, essentially follows the cycle upstream and brings quality efforts into installation, production monitoring, support, and maintenance processes. The increased cadence of releases with digital means this is becoming ever more critical.

4. Automation, tools, and metrics

The process must be amplified and accelerated with the right tools, high levels of automation, and intelligent automation in order to keep up with the demands of fast-moving digital businesses. In addition, metrics are essential to ensure you are on the right track, performing the right tasks, and continually improving the process.

Quality and testing activities in a QE approach are not limited to the testing phase of the life cycle, as shown in this diagram:

Quality Engineering Discipline diagram

The discipline of QE wraps around all related activities, making it a holistic approach to quality where the focus is on the business outcome. Quality extends beyond testing and reaches from helping to shape requirements and risk assessments, through design and architecture reviews, and finally release management. Collaborative teams work iteratively with continuous feedback built into the process helps organisations achieve better quality at speed.

The ownership of quality is shared across teams

The role of a tester has evolved from working in testing silos, to multidisciplinary teams made up of different specialists, into cross-functional teams where tasks and ownership of quality are shared.

Quality engineers add value as an integral part of the team who can ensure quality is present from the start. This requires a view over not only testing, but also requirements, design, development, infrastructure, operations, site reliability engineering (SRE) and operations, and requires collaboration with designers, architects, story writers, developers, and SREs. In essence, QE utilises both existing and emerging practices, as well as leading technologies, to enhance the ability of teams to deliver quality faster.

Deliver quality quicker

Rushing testing late in the development lifecycle has long been acknowledged as a key culprit for project failure. As outlined above, embracing quality engineering practices and starting testing earlier will not only produce the right quality outcomes first time, but also reduce the cost of quality.

However, optimising your lifecycle to deliver the right quality outcomes quicker and at less cost is not something that can be easily done or implemented overnight. Otherwise, every company would be doing it and there would be no project failures.

Find out how our Quality Engineers and Software Developers in Test can help you navigate the complexities of QE by introducing innovative and right-size testing practices, tooling, and automation solutions.

Susanne Matson

Practice Director - Customer Insight & Advisory

Deliver Quality Quicker

In today’s competitive landscape, organisations expect to deliver more ambitious technical outcomes at improved efficiency. We can help you achieve these goals by embedding quality throughout the lifecycle, optimising your delivery to improve outcomes, accelerate speed, and decrease cost.
Find out how we can help you mature your quality engineering practices to consistently achieve better results with greater efficiency.


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