What It Means to Be an Evangelist for Quality
The role of evangelist is often not very well known—or even if it is, it is not well understood in terms of its differentiation from closely associated functions, such as sales and marketing. But when understood and implemented well, it is a very powerful role.
For tech companies, evangelism should be a way of life. What does evangelism mean in the software quality world? At a high level, evangelists are champions for a given cause. So, an evangelist for quality is a champion for quality.
This does not translate to selling quality or marketing for quality. True, the actions of an evangelist and the causes they drive, when done well, will directly result in additional sales and marketing visibility; this is one of the main reasons people confuse evangelism with these other roles. But evangelism encompasses more.
In simple words, evangelism in quality touches on and connects with varied disciplines—including R&D, engineering, business, market, users, and, yes, sales and marketing—for the greater good of quality as a function. An evangelist is almost like a lobbyist for quality: an expert in quality whose works are often curated and shared in the industry.
As a function, evangelism looks for industry trends, but in most cases, it creates the trends by adopting practices for others to follow, translating them into actions internally by closely working with the R&D team. Evangelists also take up tools and frameworks to adequately showcase them for adoption, both within their organizations and in the industry at large.
However, the evangelist’s focus is not only on tools and technologies, but also on processes, synergies, and people development capabilities—in short, on anything that would make the test function more productive and effective. End-users are the prime focus, as all of these actions are done with the aim of giving the end-users a rich product and experience in the most optimal manner. The quality evangelist’s foremost goal is making the test profession a thriving one that the industry is excited about.
The industry today is moving toward niche evangelism roles, such as a performance test evangelist specifically. Such a focus brings greater value at more granular levels, which can then cumulatively benefit the overall quality evangelism program. There are also many tools to take on evangelism, enabling the evangelist to concentrate more on the function rather than delivery. With social networking tools, conferences, web seminars, internal newsletters, informal talks, and focus groups, the options are plenty.
Evangelism can be powerful, but it doesn’t need to come with a different job title. You can become an evangelist for quality even over water-cooler talk—it is not a time-stipulated and restricted job. If you’re passionate about quality, being an evangelist becomes a way of life rather than a profession.