Making the Switch from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering
A move from quality assurance to quality engineering can make your team more agile, efficient, and successful in its mission to release customer-centric software. The quality engineering approach differs from quality assurance in that quality teams partner with business users and product managers to better understand requirements and to catch problems as products are being built—not after the fact.
The benefits of quality engineering make the transition well worth it, but make no mistake, transformation is almost never easy. There are two core pillars that will need to be explored and evolved in order to build a true quality engineering organization: culture and process.
Quality Engineering Starts with Quality Culture
Making the move to quality engineering starts with culture. Without the right mindset, any quality engineering efforts will be dead on arrival. The approach has to be accepted from the top down across the entire company in order to be successful, especially since cross-collaboration between teams is the backbone of the quality engineering concept.
Along with a more collaborative culture, an actual framework should be built to ensure broken-down silos don’t rebuild. This new process should confirm that every department has a seat at the table and that all ideas are considered.
At Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal, this culture shift started with an initiative from our CEO. He wanted to ensure the experiences we delivered to users were seamless and consistent, regardless of where interactions took place. In short, digital experiences had to match the quality and reliability that readers of The Wall Street Journal were accustomed to in print. To meet this goal, a “PDE” framework was implemented where product, design, and engineering began working as a close-knit unit to deliver better and more cohesive results.
Process Makes Perfect
Many processes will change naturally as a result of your revamped culture. However, some may be new altogether to the business, and many will have to do with day-to-day testing processes. Culture provides a strong foundation for quality engineering, but the right testing processes build upon this foundation, enabling you to put quality engineering into action.
Based on the initiative from our CEO, a big goal of our move to quality engineering was to deliver customer-centric experiences. To achieve the focus we were looking for, we used real-world testing that allowed us to get feedback from actual readers of publications like The Wall Street Journal and work their input into future iterations of digital experiences. The new testing processes enabled us to get closer to our customers and evaluate experiences based on location, device, demographic, and more. We were able to address customer needs quickly and efficiently, and we completed our transformation to a quality engineering function.
Sumeet Mandloi is presenting the session By the Reader, for the Reader: The Wall Street Journal’s Secrets to Customer-Centric Experiences at the STAREAST 2019 conference, April 28–May 3 in Orlando, Florida.