October 19, 2022

3 minutes

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Assurance & Testing

How taking a step back from your testing approach can break down barriers to scale

Many businesses have a long-established testing team within their organisation. These businesses often discover challenges which are frequently faced by the wider delivery and development teams who perceive that QA is a blocker to progress and that an overall approach to development and testing needs to be better aligned to objectives.

We saw a good example of this with a recent project: the organisation was moving towards an agile methodology and were struggling to effectively embed their testing and QA approach. They also had dedicated test automation resources within the existing team, but there was little value being driven through its use, subsequently due to the lack of visibility of the benefits delivered, the approach was being challenged outside of the QA team. Therefore, to make the best and most efficient decisions, it was vital the organisation take a step back before pushing forward.

Understanding delivery challenges

Across all testing projects that Jumar are engaged, we always start with high-level discussions around overall delivery challenges and just like with the organisation mentioned, it can often become apparent that a deeper dive is required - to understand the challenges in more detail and gather useful feedback from a variety of individuals across the delivery teams and wider business. This organisation wanted to expand their test automation capability across teams and products, but it was highlighted that a review of the fundamental test approach would be prudent, given some of the underlying issues and challenges that had been called out and discussed.

Capability assessments and checks

At this point, companies can be engaged to undertake a Test Capability Assessment and/or a Health Check, which can gather detail and information around current working practices (within the team and engagement with delivery teams), team skills, current approach to test automation, and understanding how the test function needs to align to the organisation’s goals and objectives.

These assessments and checks are carried out through interviewing across the disciplines and conducting a review of the current testing approach and tooling used to support the test process. Upon completion, a detailed report can be provided which reviews the testing practice across several key areas including, people, processes, tooling, environments, and methodology. In the example organisation, Jumar created a report with 30 recommendations that the organisation should consider implementing. This provided a practical roadmap of improvements and detailed which test process improvements could be measured moving forwards.

After the delivery of the report, Jumar was engaged to assist this organisation in the implementation of several the key report recommendations. This has enabled the organisation to build a solid platform from which they can move forwards, ensuring that initiatives around test automation align to product roadmaps and an agile approach to delivery.

In a nutshell

Taking that step back and investing in time to fully understand test team capabilities, challenges around testing approaching and engagement, enables a complete picture to be established which highlights key areas for improvement.

There can often be a focus on implementing further test automation, but this can be limited in its value, by not identifying and addressing underlying problems first. Undertaking these assessments and working through the key recommendations can provide a solid base from which to move forwards and ensures that testing functions are delivering real value, which is recognised within the product teams and wider business stakeholders.

Taking an approach which takes a full view of current test maturity and capability ensures that any strategy that is implemented aligns perfectly with organisational goals and objectives. Critically it also ensures that testing delivers value, operates efficiently and maintains high levels of quality throughout the software delivery process.

Ian Knowles
Head of Assurance and Delivery, Jumar