Time for the 5th round of talks at SwanseaCon. I chose to attend a talk on quality coaching by Areti Panou.

This talk starts with a very important question: What would happen if a QA suddenly left the team?

When this happens, we are in a scenario where there are developers but no tester. Who does the testing?

Distibuting Quality Efforts

It is important that the whole team, not a single QA, are collectively in charge of quality. As well as testing, the QA should become a quality coach who teaches, mentors and advises the team about the QA techniques and processes.

Quality efforts should be distributed among the entire team (at least among more than 1 person). It is important for the team to identify and discuss quality tasks, and share ownership of them. The QA should not be the last line of defense.

How should this be achieved?

Areti highlighted 3 main areas of focus that will help the whole team achieve quality.

  1. Analyse each step of the development pipeline
    • What is the purpose of each activity?
    • How does each activity improve the quality of the application?
    • What could happen if this step is removed?
  2. Seek customer input
    • The way customers react often depends on their mood
    • Angry
      • Time taken to get value from application heavily influences their mood, how long does this take?
      • What reasons might they have for making a complaint?
    • Neutral
      • This should be recognized as the baseline for normal, but customers rarely communicate this
      • Seek alternative ways to get customer feedback (for example, user shadowing)
    • Happy
      • How can we find out if customer is happy?
      • Get insights into what customers like
  3. Expose Obstacles
    • What hinders quality?
      • Company policies
      • Lack of knowledge
      • External dependencies
      • No access to customers

Final thoughts

Quality is the responsibility of the entire team, not just the testers. We should trust the team to take care of quality. Testers should not be the last line of defense.

There are always areas for improvement when it comes to quality. Together, the team should be asking the question: What else can we do?