I have to admit, I was not fully aware of how much ‘Bear’ Bryant had achieved until I started researching for this article. Now I know Coach Bryant is the winningest college football coach leading the University of Alabama to 6 national championships. I believe business and IT leaders can learn a lot from successful sports coaches and how they built their championship teams.
One of Coach Bryant’s famous quotes is, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships”. In sports you consistently see teams invest heavily in their offensive players and in most cases, the offensive budgets are much larger than the defensive side of the team.
The same can be said in IT organizations that invest heavily in their development ‘offense’, but not so much in their QA ‘defense’. This reminds me of the high scoring teams that are great to watch but always come up short when it comes to winning championships.
In a similar way, there are a lot of organizations that develop some really cool software but experience costly software failures due to lack of investment in QA. In 2018, the cost of poor-quality software in the US was approximately $2.84 trillion.
We have to be careful not to underinvest in the ‘independent validation’ and defensive role QA plays in validating business-critical software. The challenge for the majority of seasoned QA teams is the lack of technical skills necessary to efficiently lead fully integrated test automation and CI implementations.
According to the recent ‘World Quality Report 2019-2020’, IT spending on QA as a ‘bolt-on’ is down to 2013 levels but spending on ‘embedded’ QA in the overall development process is increasing. The majority of organizations are reporting a lack of technical skills on their QA teams, the escalation in cost and challenges related to test environments, and poor integration of test automation with CI/CD and DevOps, as being their main challenges.
As more and more development shops adopt Agile and DevOps, as their preferred development methodologies, the challenge for QA is how to maintain a successful defense and protect the investment in the projects. The blending of the roles in QA and Dev or asking a developer to validate their own code can be like asking a quarterback to play cornerback on defense.
Although I do agree that development teams, should 100% automate their unit testing where possible I also believe that expanded functional, integration, regression, performance, and security testing should be validated independently by a QA function.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IT spending is under a microscope even more, but the high pressure on CIO’s and their teams to deliver better quality software faster remains the same. As a result, I have seen an increase in organizations searching for a trusted QA partner that can lead and guide their QA automation initiatives. The right QA defense can become a key business enabler, by providing optimal value, and maximize ROI for your automation investments. This will ensure your organization is winning more ‘CHAMPIONSHIPS!’.