Qapitol QA

Does Velocity Overshadow Value: How Product Engineering can Ensure Assurance is Embedded?

Table of Contents

The following five questions hold the key to our discussion today 

  • How do you tell if all the releases delivered by your team have equal value for your customers?
  • Do you measure your team’s productivity by the speed of releases?
  • Or do you measure it by how much value was being delivered by your team in a given period?
  • How do you link velocity achieved and value provided?
  • When you say value delivered – how do you define the benefit as perceived by your team or users?

We agree there are no easy answers to the above questions, but they still are some of the most often discussed questions in team meetings and strategy hurdles.

Velocity and value are the two competing priorities for the software development industry. The only way to achieve one was to trade off the other! However, many IT leaders admit they prioritize a speedy solution over a better one. What about the consequences of this choice?

Piling technical debt and the increasing cost of quality lead to a legacy of unhealthy business outcomes and unintended and expensive consequences of poor decision-making. Even without factoring in faster vs better IT implementation decisions, quality issues and technical debt creep in gradually as enterprise systems grow and become outdated. But as technological advancements become pronounced, the competitive landscape intensifies, and customer preferences evolve – organizations are now waking up to the reality of bringing both velocity and value to the table simultaneously. To this, they need more holistic, advanced, and balanced approaches in their treatment of velocity and value.

Here is how Digital Assurance steps in!

Digital Assurance enables organizations to combine value, velocity, and intelligence to expedite the delivery of continuous quality. While software testing checks if the software works as intended, a well-rounded digital assurance will align outcomes and goals and measure the overall effectiveness of the endeavor—not just whether testing passed or failed.

With assurance, we engineer processes that ensure quality outcomes. Four aspects need to be given sufficient focus to embed into product engineering.

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1. Defining the GAP (Goals, Action Items & Priorities) 

To integrate digital assurance effectively into your Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), assess your current testing organization’s state and define your future objectives. Identify product goals encompassing performance, security, user experience, and usability, serving as the cornerstone of your development process. This clarity aligns teams toward common objectives.

For example, consider an e-commerce company aiming to enhance its website’s performance by reducing load times and ensuring secure transactions.
Establishing measurement metrics to monitor progress and steer the organization in the desired direction is equally vital. These metrics offer much-needed clarity, especially when competing priorities vie for limited resources and time is at a premium. For instance, you might track website load times, the number of successful secure transactions, and user satisfaction scores as key metrics.

Incorporating these steps ensures a focused and effective journey toward embedding digital assurance in your SDLC.

2. Fostering a Digital Mindset

Digital Assurance differs significantly from traditional software testing as it focuses on engineering processes to ensure quality outcomes, rather than solely validating software performance and functionality. This shift offers a broader scope for improvement and innovation, necessitating a mindset transition for the stakeholders involved.

Teams accustomed to software testing require training and mentorship to navigate this transition effectively:

  • Understand the importance, scope, and impact of digital assurance on business and testing outcomes.
  • Embrace a digital-first mindset.
  • Adapt to new frameworks, processes, and approaches.
  • Shift goals, priorities, and measurement metrics.
  • Implement automation for speed, accuracy, and consistency.
  • Embed quality as a strategic component from the product design phase.
  • Assess everything from a customer experience perspective.

For instance, imagine a retail company shifting to digital assurance by integrating customer feedback into every stage of their website development process. This transition to digital assurance demands training and support for testing and engineering teams and close collaboration with an experienced partner to overcome obstacles effectively.

3. Getting the Squad Right

Transitioning from traditional QA to Digital Assurance is best accomplished with an experienced partner. While your testing team may receive training, they can benefit from the expertise of those who have successfully navigated this transition. These experts assist in:

  • Managing day-to-day implementation challenges
  • Selecting the right tech stack, tools and templates
  • Identifying relevant progress metrics
  • Introducing optimal levels of automation to enhance testing outcomes
  • Chaos engineering
  • Augmenting testing teams with the required training and support
  • Building systems that promote seamless flow of reports, data and insights across teams
  • Enable sharing of resources across teams

Internal teams leading digital assurance efforts may be too close to the issue to gain a broader perspective. In such cases, external partners can offer detached views and innovative solutions. Experienced partners with cross-industry references can help build more effective systems and processes.

4. The Collective Brilliance

Cross-functional collaboration is a longstanding challenge for dev and testing teams. Divergent priorities, varied workflows, and tools often lead to roadblocks, pushing these teams to work in isolation. Even in companies aiming for DevOps and agile methodologies that thrive on collaboration, bridging these gaps remains a significant obstacle due to a lack of common goals and shared accountability.

Digital Assurance transforms this dynamic. It engineers a system that fosters collaboration, encouraging the sharing of ideas and insights for improvement and innovation. It establishes shared accountability among all stakeholders for business and testing outcomes as defined in the original plan. This approach facilitates resource sharing, streamlines workflows, and provides access to templates, testing reports, and dashboards, enhancing visibility and decision-making for all involved. These changes promote cost efficiency and nurture a closer relationship between the dev and testing teams by shortening feedback loops.

Keen on getting the dynamics of velocity and value right in your next software release?

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