I am currently establishing a QA organization and was thinking through some reasons why some organizations are highly successful and other organizations fail. There are many more but here are some that come to mind.
- Lack of Executive Buy-in-I have seen first hand what happens when executives fail to buy-in on the importance of quality. This often happens especially when IT executives come from a development background. Luckily I am currently in a situation where this is not a problem.
- Lack of Vision-It is important that the person accountable for the QA organization establishes a vision of where the organization is headed. Within QA it is not acceptable to be the status quo or to be concerned only about how things are operating. You need someone who truly understands QA and is not someone who is clueless about how QA works. I have been there and the results are a disaster.
- Lack of Budget-Quality is expensive, however, the results of poor quality are a lot more expensive. QA organizations require the appropriate level of budgets just like development organizations. Without the expertise, tools, and process the QA organization will fail.
- Lack of understanding-QA people understand how important quality is however those outside QA lack the years of experience required to fully appreciate all the effort that goes into establishing a top notch QA organization. It is important to communicate, communicate, and communicate why quality is important.
- Lack of Skilled resources-QA often becomes the dumping ground for resources who couldn’t perform in other parts of the organization. For some reason those who don’t truly understand that QA takes skilled resources to do the job. For example, a developer who consistently writes bad code is moved into QA. How is that developer (who is careless and doesn’t pay attention to detail) going to be a great tester?
- Lack of requirements-It is difficult without have some sort of agreed upon signed off expectations. It is important to make sure you achieve that consensus and that those requirements are testable. This not only helps the QA organization but it also helps the development and the end customer.
- Lack of support-It requires executive buy-in but it also requires that peers from PMO and Development to have a focus on quality. If that is lacking in the other organizations then it will be a difficult challenge ahead.
Hopefully these are some things you can keep in mind as you either look to establish a QA organization or improve on your existing one.