Growing QA maturity, but always room for improvement
I have been involved with the World Quality Report from Capgemini and Sogeti for over a decade. In that time, I have been fascinated by the evolution of quality assurance (QA) and testing globally. Our latest report, published in partnership with Micro Focus at the end of September, reveals a growing awareness of the value of QA and testing, the gradual uptake of automation (and a corresponding ROI), and the slow but steady adoption of intelligent QA.
In more detail, the past few years have seen a transition to agile/DevOps ways of working that has necessitated the embedding of QA and testing in software development teams. Expectations for QA and testing have increased as its value in contributing to business success is recognized. For example, some 62% of respondents to this year’s WQR survey viewed QA and testing as ‘the custodian of quality’, citing the detection of software defects before go-live as an objective. The same figure saw speeding up software releases with good quality as an objective.
In search of automation strategies
While awareness of the value of QA and testing has grown, there’s no doubt that challenges remain, notably around automation and the use of smart components. A lack of confidence that the right automation strategy is in place is a likely a contributor to this challenge.
Despite this, it is reassuring to see that people are more realistic in terms of what test automation can achieve by way of test coverage, and they recognize that the level of coverage should increase to bring a greater ROI. Around two-thirds of respondents identified better control and transparency of their test activities as one of the key benefits of test automation.
But whether you’ve got the right automation strategy and have invested heavily in test automation, there’s still a perennial QA and testing challenge to be addressed — the need for adequate staff with the right skills, cited as important by 65% of respondents. This year we noted a significant increase among those declaring a need for test strategy and test design skills.
Smart QA continues to grow
A key component of automation is, of course, intelligent testing using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This has been a growing trend in recent years and is still emerging as a tool for QA and testing as more and more people see the opportunities for using AI components. The expanding scope of intelligent QA is cited in the latest report as: “…to support the management and decision making around QA. Tactically, it can help to make sense of what to do, when to do it, and sometimes when not to. Strategically, it can help organizations to understand why failures are happening, and not just to identify them”.
Looking ahead, I would not be surprised to see a large part of standard QA and testing becoming automated with bots and intelligent machines. Testing bots will be take care of testing the standard functions and transactions. Meaning that human effort can then be focused more on new functions, complex end-to-end scenarios and overall usability of digital solutions. This will only add to the efficiency and broader test coverage capable of QA and testing teams.
So, all in all, I have a positive take on the findings in this year’s World Quality Report. As well as more awareness of the value of QA and testing, there’s a greater understanding that technology is here to help. We now need to ensure we invest in the right skills, make the right choices, and develop the right QA and testing strategy featuring more automation and intelligent QA.