World Quality Report 2020-21 reveals optimistic outlook for QA and Testing.
Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of everything going on around you. There can be so much information and so little time to get to grips with it all. That’s certainly how it felt to me as we put together the latest World Quality Report (WQR) from Capgemini and Sogeti, in partnership with Micro Focus, during a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty.
But finally, there was time to make time (as it were) and sit down to review the data and the responses to our global WQR survey questions. It quickly became clear that contributors to every section in the report had been impacted by COVID-19 to a greater or lesser degree. It couldn’t be any other way. People, organizations, entire sectors, and countries had been hit by the virus and needed to respond rapidly and effectively to this unprecedented situation.
Yet in all the gloom and doom of 2020, there was a thread running through our research findings. It was a thread of how IT departments and teams had adapted and responded to the challenges of a pandemic. Shifting to remote working, getting people set up with IT, changing to an online culture.
Reassessing work ‘place’
Working from home has been a massive change for millions of people globally. From simply finding the space to work, to managing home life and work life in parallel. There was also a bonus for many of us in not traveling. It’s still too early to see what the long-term impact will be on work practices but it is likely to cause a fundamental reassessment of the work ‘place’ and ‘office’ over the coming years.
Keeping in touch has never been easier with Skype, Teams, Zoom and hundreds of other ways of reaching out and interacting with people – they’ve certainly come to the fore like never before throughout 2020. But one thing I have missed is those accidental meetings, the chats over coffee, the just ‘getting to know people’ moments. Quality is about people. And we need to work on ways to soften the edges of formality, not to always have every minute booked by meetings, rather to have the time just to be people. Which is also likely to be important for sustaining and building on organizational identity – new joiners, especially apprentices, graduates and others relatively new to the workplace, will need careful handing to ensure they become part of the organization and not someone who is working remotely for a faceless entity.
A quality response
So, how did we see this manifesting itself in the latest (the twelfth) WQR launched on November 5, 2020? Research for the report was conducted in June and July 2020, just around the time we were all beginning to feel the impact of new ways of working. According to the report authors, this forced the pace of change, with “faster adoption of distributed agile, more widespread use of collaboration tools, greater use of data masking, and more real-time status monitoring across the whole QA function”.
Stress events like COVID-19 and the way organizations respond tend to identify the key systems and processes, allowing the organization to focus on them as a priority. This is going to affect planning and priorities for years to come. That’s not all. There’s no doubt it will shape how QA and Testing respond to changing business demand – and external impacts. Anything that gets the job done quicker, allowing organizations to respond effectively to rapidly changing conditions, will be a positive.
During COVID-19 we’ve seen this reflected in the automation of functional and non-functional testing. As the WQR points out, “Every QA manager worth his or her salt will have test automation at the top of the priority list.” Expect to see more use of CI/CD pipelines. And performance testing of networks and applications across networks and the cloud to ensure capacity.
All of the above have never been more important. Why? Because ultimately, all the work that we do in QA and Testing reaches out to people. They can be internal users, a partner, customer, or consumer. It makes no difference. In the end, they all need the system to work, be useable, be secure, be intuitive, and be able to respond in a timely manner.
After all, as we’ve seen in 2020, the world is hard enough and no one wants to have to deal with poor quality systems on top of all that.
About Andrew Fullen
Andrew has been a managing consultant with Sogeti since 2009. In this role, he has worked on a number of major clients across government and private sectors covering tasks such as security test manager for a major government pan-agency project, helping with restructuring a bank rescued by the UK government during the financial crash, re-planning a major welfare project and architecting a performance policy and approach to address significant shortfalls in the delivered solution.
More on Andrew Fullen.