Speed vs Quality vs Cost – Simultaneously (im)Possible?
- Quality should not be so highly though of above cost and speed; we should seek to achieve all 3 simultaneously
- Speed (time) in QA is delivering as quick as possible with the expected quality; the relationship is equal
- Cost is a metric that should be embraced not frowned upon
- Speed and cost advantages should come from the competency of the MTS, quality is about understanding what the client needs.
Most testers and testing organizations will champion quality over cost and speed, highlighting quality as the critical success measurement. However, the argument has never been this simple as ultimately cost is the foundation upon which businesses run, and drives the decision making process top-down. Speed (deadlines/milestones) is also a crucial top-down metric and another “golden” project target which I am sure we have all had drilled in from project manager interactions and over confident RAG status’. So why are the cost and speed driven approaches so negatively propositioned in quality assurance? Why not have all three? Embracing the metrics people actually care about will provide more value than ignoring them, and also make Testing and Quality Assurance more transparent and relatable.
Through deploying the Managed Test Service (MTS) approach at blue chip clients Experior have identified that there is a direct time and cost benefit achieved, driven by the strategic advantages the MTS can provide while maintaining quality; utilizing separation of interest, expertise and scalability. Arguing that Experior’s MTS delivers advantages simultaneously.
Experior’s MTS makes strategic sense enabling the client to deliver quality faster to market giving an advantage against the competition. In QA speed is delivering a product as quick as possible while maintaining quality, not just delivering a product as quick as possible. Testing methodology explains that full separation of interests in 3rd parties such as an MTS partner also better guarantees quality as the internal pressures are not felt. If we look at the stats the role of the Chief Digital Officer is growing exponentially with 47% of public sector bodies alone employing one and data indicating a further 21% increase over 12 months. We are also seeing new roles such as Chief Integration officer. What this indicates is that businesses and public bodies alike are embracing technology from the top down, and positioning tech as a strategic directive not just an enabler. This digital transformation, disruption even, is happening at intensive speed to stay ahead of the competition meaning that IT infrastructures are taking on rapid changes consequently increasing risk and the potential for poor quality deliveries; especially when internal pressures are focused on delivery speed to ensure a competitive advantage, MTS providers can resist such pressures as they are measured by the quality of the product delivered in addition to the agreed timeframe which should be realistic to assure quality. A study of 1,000 smartphone users in the UK by leading mobile app developer, Apadmi, found that over half (59%) of Brits are not downloading retail apps because they do not complement and match up to the instore and website shopping experience; the reason being the emphasis to get an app out there quickly above an app that delivers a high quality customer experience. Nick Black, CEO of Apadmi explains “A staggering 71% of consumers stated there is room in the market for better mobile apps so it’s now up to retailers to invest in mobile to improve the shopping experience. And if done well, retailers should also see an increase in sales and loyalty to keep them ahead of the competition.” Thus a direct competitive advantage can be gained by delivering quality ahead of the competition, and a disadvantage achieved from delivering an app first but without the expected quality. Speed is as important as quality to achieve the advantage, but the relationship is equal and they should not exist without each other.
MTS is then a strategic option for organizations to bring in experts to ensure quality when pressured with timeframes, one key reason is due to the readily available expertise and quality infrastructure meaning that the client does not have to take time to research and invest in such practices and tools, or rush this research and investment to end up making an un-informed and strategically detrimental decisions. Therefore, transferring some or all testing functions to an experienced and area expert MTS removes the challenges associated with resourcing, testing acumen, domain knowledge and infrastructure so that businesses can focus on adding value and delivering business benefits; knowing that when needed the full resources of the MTS partner are available to scale up and down with speed while maintaining quality. Ultimately ensuring that the strategic ambition of say an app release is actually achieved by external quality assurance experts verifying both the technical (quality) and business (speed) requirements enable success.
See below some stats Experior have accumulated on how bringing in an MTS makes you more efficient and actually saves you days, proving that Experior’s MTS can help you deliver quality quicker. The reasons being again mainly due to the challenges removed from the client by the MTS’ competency in terms of testing acumen, domain knowledge and infrastructure:
Less days also means less cost which is how our MTS can work faster and more cost effective while maintaining quality; as mentioned above the other major risk to quality is the pressure to keep cost low. Experior have statistics to show that our MTS can save you on cost when we are fully integrated as a service. One crucial element to mention here is the Experior Risk Based Testing methodology, meaning we use our experience and industry knowledge combined with workshop outputs from the client to understand what we need to test, we test the most important stuff first and prioritize the quality scope based on the highest risk components achieving the most attention. A complex database of metrics has been built up over time to give this critical risk based insight. Meaning that the overall quality scope is smaller and far more effective.
In summary, we use our expertise, methodology and infrastructure, enabling us to work faster while maintaining quality, meaning less days for better quality. Not only is it possible to achieve all three simultaneously, but it probably makes more sense as success is difficult to communicate without all three. Success is measured differently depending on where you sit in an organization, so without all three metrics being achieved someone will view the project as unsuccessful. However, it is prudent to note that success is not a given, the MTS partner must aim to go above and beyond, not only focusing on the solution but the entire customer journey from functional requirements to user satisfaction in order to be as effective as possible and really understand what ‘quality’ is to the client; see how our clients think we do at understanding what quality is to them. MTS should not be used as a tick box but more an assurance that the solution meets the intended needs of the client appreciating both I.T. and business perspectives.
Originally posted November 4, 2016, by Kenny Small, Experior Group