In today’s competitive business world, organizations enjoy significant advantage if they are quickly able to deliver software of predictable quality with minimum budgets. But challenges like shifting customer demands and needs drive IT organizations to come out with innovative models for delivering business value faster. So the onus is on the IT organizations to implement robust and flexible QA processes that quickly adopt to changing business requirements and meet business goals. One key collaboration that can help address this challenge is the alignment of Business Analysis (BA) and Quality Assurance (QA).
BA QA Alignment
BA QA Alignment can help incorporate the agile principles efficiently and deliver needs of the business effectively. In the traditional IT model, the BA and QA teams work in silos with very limited collaboration with one another. The QA team is handicapped with lack of business knowledge and BA team with delivering quality requirements. The alignment of these two critical teams help tie the two loose ends of building the right product to start with and ensuring that the product is built right in the end.
The two main goals of this alignment are, collaborative requirements and collaborative tests.
The following steps are needed for articulating the value of BA QA Alignment:
- Collate – Gather business requirements
- Communicate – Share and incorporate feedback
- Validate – Improve the quality of requirements
- Establish – Streamline alignment and create business value
BA QA Collaboration
In addition to the BA contribution to QA all through the test life cycle, QA can also contribute to the BA activities. Business Analysts who thoroughly understand the requirements of the system being built add a unique perspective to the testing efforts. Business Analysts in addition to confirming that the system meets functional and non-functional user expectations, can drive activities which are aimed at validating all aspects of data conversion and system deployment. Also QA can help the business analysts to write the acceptance tests for the functionality.
The following activities are where the BA and QA can support one another to deliver business value faster:
- Define Testing Scope: QA can collaborate with business analysts to understand the application better at a functional level. It also helps QA to define the scope of testing.
- Functional Testing: BA can support the QA team to document and test the system functions and processes of exhaustive tests to validate their functionality.
- Requirements Validation: BA working together with QA can identify gaps in the specifications to that of features identified for development. QA can support BA by performing requirements validation.
- Validate Data Initialization: BA can support the QA team with the right processes and utilities used to populate the system database for testing the new features. BA can give lot of valid inputs to build comprehensive test data sets and also procedures in identifying data initialization and conversion tests that will be performed.
- Conduct Application Trainings: BA can create and distribute the user and training materials and conduct training sessions needed to familiarize the testers with the application.
- Prepare for System Acceptance: QA can help the BA to write better acceptance tests for the functionality. QA can give valuable inputs around boundary conditions or negative testing.
- Support Materials: QA can support BA to refine the various materials that support the use, operation, and maintenance of the system to update and reflect any necessary adjustments resulting from testing.
BA QA Alignment Benefits
- Efficient test prioritization
- Appropriate test approach
- Business focused testing
- Risk based test scenarios for test execution
- Organized and prioritized test suite
- Re-purposing of existing scenarios
- Verified acceptance criteria
- Productive defect triage discussions
- Early defect detection
- Defect prevention
- Improved clarity/consistency of story cards/requirements
- Increased quality of requirements
- Efficient test coverage
- Cost savings
The Agile & DevOps movements influenced every team & role in an organization differently and create opportunities to learn new skills and develop new ways of working together. In today’s IT world where silos are being brought down and collaborative culture is the success mantra, the alignment of the two very critical components of IT organization each adding their own perspective, certainly gives a great value add to deliver quality faster and better. The BA QA Alignment creates a platform where individuals with right skills are brought together to drive efforts on building the right product at the outset and ensuring they did it right upon completion.