Best Practices for building Test Center of Excellence

Applications are getting complex, as they need to interact with diverse environments and integrate to provide the right kind of user experience. Whether it is an enterprise level application or a consumer-oriented application, it is critical to ensure its reliability, accessibility, and stability. A strategic Quality Assurance (QA) plan and framework is necessary to build the required factors, where there is a requirement to build dedicated QA teams. Organizations are also keen on setting up Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) to build a strong framework that establishes robust quality processes.

What is a Testing Center of Excellence?

Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) works on strategic assets namely people, process, and technology that are work together to build quality within an enterprise. It leverages various tools as per the organization’s requirements, processes, techniques, and methodologies to deliver applications that are market ready.

When an organization takes the decision to establish a Testing CoE, it has to consider some fundamental steps. It can take by the internal QA team or with assistance from an independent testing partner

  • Assess the current scenario and testing practices
  • Identify the gaps
  • Set a road-map for implementation
  • Build governance model
  • Identify the critical aspects with the TCoE – Frameworks, tools, processes, Performance testing centers
  • Create communication channels
  • Implement

The underlying purpose of setting up TCoE is to instil the idea of quality within an organization and across various functions. With successful establishment of TCoE, organization can effectively maximize RoI from software testing, enhance test coverage, lower the defects, reach faster to the market with more functionalities, and overall achieve enhanced performance and quality standards in the long run.

What can be the best way to set up a Testing CoE? Let’s consider some best practices.

Work by objectives and create the roadmap

Before getting on with the task and conceptualizing the idea of TCoE, it is important build the right vision and work by it. The vision and objectives need to be communicated across the organization, so that everyone agrees and endorses the idea. This will also help set the right path that goes with the organization’s overall business and people objectives. At the same time, it is absolutely necessary to get buy-in from the concerned folks.

Ensure that you have a well-groomed team to implement

There has to be a dedicated team that can take on the training and development responsibilities for the organization. Generally, the best practices and processes come from the QA team, which can be the best way to put together a seamless implementation plan.

Additionally, teaming up with an independent testing partner can also be a suggested approach, so that the process remains flawless.

Choose the right tools

The market is flooded with commercial off-the-shelf tools/testing frameworks, as well as Open-source tools/frameworks that are gaining popularity. Thanks to the idea of Open Innovation, the testing and development scenario is definitely revolutionizing. However, it is up to an organization to decide whether to take the commercial path or the Open-source way.

For instance, Commercial tools are being considered for regular updates and training modules. If you do not have a strong testing team, it is advisable to go the commercial way, as it will entail required training modules for various upgrades and versions.

Consider Shift-Left approach

The development scenario is revolutionizing and there is a desperate need to involve QA and Testing right ahead in the development process. This will save the organization big bucks, as if defects are found post production, the costs of resolving them are bound to soar. TCoE has to be designed in a way where there is collaborative effort and the responsibility of ensuring quality is shared by all.

The core objective should be to address the requirements of the end user and work accordingly to ensure the same, with cost-effectiveness, ensuring faster time-to-market.

Automate, but keep it simple and easy to implement

Automation and Continuous Improvement is the key for successful Quality Assurance. There are tremendous cost benefits that Test Automation and standardized processes bring to the table. Most importantly, they bring tangible results and smart decision making.

Nevertheless, it is important to keep the processes, testing tools and methodologies simple and acceptable by all. Even if a new person gets on board he/she should be able to gauge its impact for a particular task and decide on its value in the Testing Lifecycle.

In Conclusion

Eventually, it is much more critical to build a resilient QA team that can infuse the essential quality metrics across the system and work towards faster delivery and market-ready products/services.

The role of testing has gone beyond the basic requirements, where it has majorly ventured into areas such as Robotics, Smart Machines, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is interesting to know how the US Homeland security is testing drones in Mississippi. This reinforces the need for a thought-through quality framework and mechanisms.