Use your VOICE to support automated validation of the value stream in your organization

Today organizations need to deliver business value at speed. The IT delivery process needs to support this ambition. Using the VOICE model teams take the pursued business value as the starting point for their IT delivery. To validate if the team is moving in the right direction, they use indicators. These indicators are a way to measure various aspects of the new or changed business process and IT system. The measuring of these indicators is mostly done by testing.

To keep a constant view of the progress and the quality of the IT system all people involved would like a real-time dashboard. Measuring the indicators can be done automatically to a large extent using a test automation framework. Test automation is possibly the most important enabler of a frequent supply of information. To monitor the progress the dashboard must be such that all different groups/stakeholders have their own specific views (detailed for team members, high-level for business stakeholders).

Delivering business value often requires multiple connected IT systems. To deliver such a chain of IT systems the cross-functional teams must stay aligned, both internally and between teams. Aligned on what needs to be delivered in what way. Teams need to decide upfront on what tests to automate for instance. During delivering value these decisions must be guarded by the team. They ask themselves “Are we still delivering what we were intended to do and if not, why not?”

Doing everything right first time is hard, some iterations will be needed. The diversions, however, must be in line with the business value to be reached. A pitfall of many professionals is to forget the value stream and start doing what they think is needed, resulting in too many automated test cases, extra features, or in forgetting to update documentation.

A team-only focus is insufficient for delivering end-to-end value. Product-owners, scrum masters, release train engineers, and other people with a broad perspective must keep the overview. It is our belief that no organization can deliver value on a larger scale without having properly organized communication across teams. The product owner(s) and scrum master(s) must keep an eye on the overall value.

Teams must be aware of the overall goal but focus on their own sub-goals. Each team focuses on their own part of the value stream and the end-to-end-regression-test monitors automatically whether the complete value stream delivers the business value. Thus, there are two different views (both looking for details and for the overall perspective) implemented in automated tests that both supply valuable information to be represented in the dashboards for all people involved. If the teams are organized well enough a separate end-to-end-regression test team may not be needed.

With a focus on quality at speed, multiple cross-functional teams collaborate to quickly measure indicators using automated testing enabling all relevant stakeholders to establish at any moment in time their confidence whether the IT-system is able to support the pursued business value!!

This blog was co-authored by Maurice Siteur, Managing Consultant Testing at Capgemini.

Rik Marselis

About

Rik Marselis is one of Sogeti’s most senior management consultants in the field of Digital Assurance and Testing. He has assisted many organizations in improving their IT-processes, in establishing their test approach, setting up their quality & test organization, and he acted as quality coach, test manager and quality supervisor. Also Rik is a much-appreciated keynote-speaker at conferences.

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