As a software testing leader, it is very important to provide your team with a vision of what an organization should look like. You don’t need to have all the details figured out, but you need to provide targets that your teams can aspire to obtain. I am recently starting up a testing organization so I think it is really important when you are launching a new QA organization, that both the people in the team and those outside the team understand what is going to be accomplished. Initially I was the only person in the software testing group. The first thing that I did was bring in a software consulting company to help me with a software testing assessment. Once that was conducted, I created a 3 year QA roadmap that is realistic and provides people with something to see.
If you have been managing a testing team for a few years, it is relatively easy to establish a 3 year QA roadmap. Here are the 4 areas that I am going to target:
- QA Organizational Structure
- Data and Environment Management
- Tools and Technology
Once you establish your core focus areas, you then need to start breaking them down in smaller chunks. For me, I broke them down into quarters. It really helps to see things divided using this approach and allows everyone to see the big picture. If these areas aren’t relevant to your team, feel free to change them to what is relevant for your software testing organization. The QA roadmap is independent from the SDLC, so you can use one in whatever software development methodology your company is using.
As time goes by, it is important to look at the QA roadmap and determine what things worked well and what things need to be improved. In addition, it is a really good idea to have a quarterly update where you can bring the testing teams and other organizations together to provide a QA roadmap update on how things are going. You will also need to consider your budget, because that will have a major effect on what your team can deliver since the bulk of your roadmap will be dependent on the number of test engineers and the types of tools you will need to run the organization.
I am shocked at the amount of different software testing managers that don’t have a high level QA roadmap. I personally did not have one in place until 2014, in fact I had never heard or seen one before. I had plenty of experience managing software testing teams, and knew what worked and didn’t work well. I had also worked across different business domains and in many companies and most recently I have worked as a software testing consultant. A QA roadmap will look differently across different companies because the software testing or quality engineering organizations are at different phases of maturity, which is perfectly normal. It is important not to stress on getting the roadmap 100% perfect. The QA roadmap is meant to be a living, breathing document. As a leader, it was extremely satisfying to see how the roadmap evolves, and see what your team can accomplish together.
Once you have developed your QA roadmap, you will need to setup your testing strategy and QA governance processes. This will help you create a Testing Center of Excellence.