What We Heard At StarEast 2017, Part 2

As thought leaders in software testing/QA, we like to keep ourselves up-to-date on the latest cutting-edge insights and industry trends.  That’s why we sent our best and brightest to StarEast 2017.  Here’s the second half of their two-part report.  (Check out part one here!)

What We Heard At StarEast 2017, Part 1

Despite the fact that spending on software testing/QA has almost doubled in the last five years, IT leaders are still being asked to do more with less—and nowhere is that more apparent than testing and QA.

If you read last month’s article on StarEast, you know that we sent two of our practice managers down to Orlando to check out what our peers are saying. Here’s the rest of what they heard.

Do More With Less

Despite the fact that spending on software testing/QA has almost doubled in the last five years, IT leaders are still being asked to do more with less—and nowhere is that more apparent than testing and QA.  As systems grow more integrated and complex, timetables get shorter and more aggressive, and high-profile software failures cause company stocks to nosedive. Software quality has shifted from an afterthought to the highest priority.

That means it’s up to CIOs, VPs/Directors of IT, and QA managers to make sure they’re squeezing everything they can out of their budgets.

  • Don’t look to hire quantity, hire quality – At Lighthouse, we’ve always echoed the same refrain, “People first.” In our experience, hiring the right person (with the right expectations for the right role) is better than hiring two poor fits to do the same role.  That’s exactly why we built the Gauntlet Assessment from the ground up, to ensure we hire the best by measuring our recruits’ attitude and aptitude.
  • Leverage automation – If you’ve already paid for the license for a tool, then you need to make sure you’re effectively utilizing it to perform as many mindless tasks as you can. Things like regression, smoke, load/performance, and data-driven testing are prime candidates for automation—freeing up time to let your people think critically and solve problems.
  • Outsource tasks that aren’t vital – With time-to-market driving so many projects, agility is paramount. Outsourcing non-critical tasks lets your project team focus on what they do best.

Leading Change for Your QA Team

Nothing’s worse than knowing you have problems—and not being able to solve them.  It’s easy to see cracks in the foundation, but it’s infinitely harder to try and repair them.  Leading transformational change in testing/QA is no easy task, but more often than not, it’s worth it.Whether it’s Shifting Left, Shifting Right, implementing continuous integration/continuous delivery, or finally getting automation right, consider the following:

  • Create a vision of the future – Change comes from getting complete buy in—from management, your peers, and your team itself—and that means selling them a realistic vision of the future. That means determining success criteria, building a roadmap to get there, and constantly soliciting feedback so you can course-correct as necessary.
  • Execute your plan in the open – We can’t stress this enough: people come first. And when they buy in, they get invested—and the easiest way to jeopardize that is by keeping them in the dark.  That’s why constant communication is essential.  Whether it’s celebrating minor victories (because you’re constantly measuring yourself against your roadmap) or staging constant demonstrations to showcase improvements, keeping everyone in the loop is vital to the success of your initiative.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once – Our CEO is fond of the saying “No one ever crossed the ocean by staring at the sea.” That’s because it’s too overwhelming to try and solve all your problems at once—even if it’s extraordinarily tempting.  Instead, focus on setting clear-defined, attainable goals and using Agile teams to accomplish them.  That way you can keep up with constantly-evolving technologies, visions, and scale.

What were your StarEast takeaways?  Start the conversations by dropping us a line or leaving a comment!  And if you haven’t had a chance to read part 1 yet, make sure you do so—that way we can compare notes!


Mike Hodge
Lighthouse Technologies, Inc.
Software Testing | Quality Assurance Consulting | Oracle EBS Consulting

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