Quality is an inherent goal of every software project, but reality can get in the way of achieving it. Between the desire to curtail costs and the drive to get solutions and services out the door and into the hands of customers, organizations may inadvertently―or even knowingly―allocate less time to testing than is needed for delivering a quality product to the marketplace.
One innovative model―the Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE)―is an effective and affordable solution to this challenge. A TCoE isn’t a place in the traditional sense, of course. It’s a framework for supporting testing competency that goes beyond simply building skills to establish a foundation of excellence in people, processes and leveraging technology.
TCoEs encompass four key components:
- Visioning and Planning determine how the organization approaches world-class software quality management and then maps out the testing pathway and sets benchmarks for measuring progress towards that goal. Planning efforts end with a roadmap with critical path timelines, detailed KPIs (key performance indicators) and precise ROI (return on investment) expectations.
- Governance uses the KPIs and other benchmarks to establish and measure the effectiveness of testing efforts and to manage quality efforts with an eye towards continual improvement. It also evaluates and measures organizational compliance with the policies, procedures and guidelines that have been established to keep the organization on the right path.
- Strategic Assets are the people, processes and technology that form the overall framework. People must have sufficient training and knowledge and be supported by an eco-system of professional development and knowledge transfer. Processes need to be robust and well-documented, having been built upon best practices with consideration for cultural requirements. Technology exists in the form of standardized, world-class tools and systems, including automation platforms that produce consistent, repeatable results.
- Strategic Enablers are the areas where most companies fail, if they do, are holistic elements that drive success. They include stakeholder participation, executive sponsorship (and communication of that support), aligned business goals and objectives, and long-term commitment to success.
TCoEs do more than help organizations deliver great software. In addition to providing high-quality testing services, they foster thought leadership, learning and innovation, boost employee retention and career development; and promote continuous development of solutions and services.
With that said, like so many quality improvements, to do their jobs effectively TCoEs must have the support and involvement of a variety of stakeholders. Organizations that are considering or attempting to build a TCoE often find that they lack the necessary in-house resources for the effort. Consultants, training managers and other third-party resources can help fill the bill.
Orasi recently published a white paper on TCoEs that explores their benefits in greater detail and offers practical advice for creating them. To read our white paper on TCoEs and browse other helpful white papers, data sheets and other information, please visit our Resource Library to register to receive a free copy.
Larry Boldt, Area Vice President of Software Services at Orasi Software