Solving the Dilemma of Achieving QA Flexibility vs. QA Standardization

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Click to learn more about author Hemanth Kumar Yamjala.

Quality assurance has emerged as the critical requirement for enterprises to make their products or services superior or equivalent to their competitors. To achieve the same, the QA function has embraced new processes, technologies, innovations, tools, and methodologies. However, while going about incorporating quality across the value chain, they are finding a few challenges as well. One of the challenges is in following the agile model in QA software testing as agile speaks for having both flexibility and standardization. So, to set up a successful agile testing strategy, it is important to use the agile-based initiatives in the best possible way. Let us understand how both standardization and flexibility can be achieved in QA by any software testing company.

Standardization and Flexibility in QA Software Testing

In the agile development process, the emphasis on flexibility can have a positive impact on the outcomes. It calls for breaking down silos between teams and increasing flexibility to achieve enhanced performance. Since agile is intrinsically transient and can quickly adapt to changes as thrown up by the evolving development or testing landscape, any standardization can undermine the process. Thus, it needs to be explored as to how a balance can be achieved between flexibility and standardization, the two contrasting requirements of the agile way of software quality assurance testing. 

How Big Is Your Organization: This can be one of the reasons stakeholders may find it difficult to balance the two aspects — flexibility and standardization. For instance, a smaller organization with limited assets can be flexible and change its processes based on the business requirement. However, a large organization with numerous assets, processes, departments, and resources would need a certain level of standardization in its processes to achieve improved productivity and efficiency. And thanks to this standardization, large enterprises are not able to display the kind of flexibility that smaller ones can achieve. So on one side, standardization can bring in order and efficiency, while on the other, it can make people and systems rigid and inflexible.

Similarly, flexibility can allow an enterprise to quickly customize its processes and products to meet the changing market dynamics while ushering in chaos during the transition. Does this mean large enterprises should shy away from embracing the agile model of development and QA testing? No, as agile can accrue a plethora of benefits that large enterprises can ill-afford if they have to survive and remain competitive. It is just that such organizations have to do more legwork in creating a company culture that understands the need for flexibility to derive better quality products.

Bake in Flexibility When Needed: It is important to address every stakeholder’s concerns when it comes to finding a balance between flexibility and standardization. To explain this with an example, developers typically follow a standardized approach to writing code based on user requirements. And if a new requirement comes later, it becomes well-nigh impossible for developers working in the traditional development process to incorporate the same. And should the requirement be incorporated after recalibrating the build, it can consume a significant amount of time, effort, and budget. Due to such issues, changes are not done until a new version of the product is released. However, this delay may very well affect the chances of the product to be adopted by its end-customers.

In the agile model of development where shift-left testing is the norm, customer feedback is passed on to the development team to incorporate any new functionality. This is achieved by releasing patches periodically and ensuring the customer needs are addressed. In agile, the quality assurance services are integral to the development process and go about testing the codes throughout the SDLC instead of executing the same at the end of the development pipeline. This approach lets any software testing company follow standardized test processes, tools, and approaches while retaining the ability to delete, edit, and manage the testing process as required. So, QA services should follow standardization to ensure quality outcomes across projects and processes. However, they must be flexible enough to customize strategies based on evolving business requirements.

Conclusion

Flexibility and standardization are at odds due to their inherent characteristics. However, they must be used in tandem, especially by QA software testing services, to achieve the desired business outcomes. It ultimately depends on understanding the ability of your organization to marry the two competing forces and achieve a balance between them.

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