Your relationship with your Quality Partner will only meet with success if you are able to trust their delivery. This is especially true in the current era where quality is at the core of how your customers will perceive your product. When you hire a partner to gatekeep quality of your product, you will not only expect them to take care of the basic responsibilities but also look for a defined level of commitment which allows you to put your trust in them.
So, how do you establish that your Quality Partner is trustworthy?
As a customer, you would like to get the maximum success of your product and would look for a partner who will help you achieve this. So a partner should give you more for your buck. They should give you valuable suggestions and feedback. They should be sensitive to your timelines, budgetary requirements and goals. And most importantly should have an open line of communication with your company.
Mentioned below are 5 ways in which you can measure the above key factors of partnership.
1. Understanding your end objectives and being able to translate them to measurable success criteria
Needless to say, when you partner with any company, you will have an end goal in your mind. It is crucial for your partner to be able to understand the goal and be able to list out the objectives which need to be achieved to optimize your product’s chances of success.
A few basic parameters which they will need to focus on are:
- Defining the short term, as well as the long term goal. E.g: Increase automation coverage/ Faster roll outs/ Reduction in production leakages.
- What will make this engagement a success? At least 80% automation coverage/ 40% reduction in time to market etc.
- Key challenges in achieving the short term and long term goals and mitigation plans.
- And adherence to timeline and budget.
Once they understand the above, then the partner can craft a solution catered to your needs specifically and translate the objectives into measurable success criteria to be able to monitor, evaluate, and optimize delivery performance. E.g: Understanding that poor end user experience due to deteriorating quality of shipped builds is caused by inadequate device coverage or lesser than optimal regression coverage etc.
2. Establishing metrics and tracking work against the success criteria of the product and project
Depending on your specific product and engagement type, you will want to set some metrics that will help in measuring success criteria. Some of the type of metrics which you may want to monitor includes:
Focused on Product Health
- Requirement Traceability
- Defect Density Per module
- Defect Distribution
- Defect Leakage Per Release/Sprint
- Test Coverage Per Release/ Sprint
Focused on Engagement Health
- Scope and Time Variance
- Test Coverage Per Release/ Sprint
- Defect Relevance Per Release/Sprint
- Total Cost of Testing/ ‘defined period’
- Time to Market Reduction etc.
3. Agreeing on an initial Service Level Baseline
While defining the metrics is of paramount importance, it is also essential to set a value for the corresponding indicators and know if the desired state of health is being achieved or not. This can only begin if we establish the baseline values. To be able to do so, an initial baseline Service Level Agreement (SLA) is agreed upon.
A Baseline Service Level Agreement will let you specify the delivery objectives in relation to historical measurement data available or establish new ones in collaboration with your Quality partner.
E.g. : Forward requirement traceability is at 90% currently (baselined) and desired state is 100%.
4. Optimize on SLAs continuously
While a partner may perform well against the baseline a partner should look at improving and optimizing the SLAs continuously. A Quality Partner should review an SLA and include changes that can result in improving desired objectives. This is essential to be able to meet service level targets and avoid non-compliance with SLA. The IDEAL model defined below can be used then for implementing the process improvement:
I: Initiating the implementation process
D: Diagnosing what it is currently
E: Establishing a new plan for testing
A: Acting on implementing the plan
L: Learning from the process improvements implemented
5. Ensure the “Total Cost of Testing” is reduced while optimizing.
During the optimization process, an important aspect that can be looked into is reducing the total cost of testing. The cost and time associated with software testing are very valuable and hence it is important to figure out ways of optimizing software testing to reduce cost. There are several ways by which this can be achieved such as:
- Detecting bugs as early as possible to minimize defect leakage reduces fix and remediation costs.
- Automate testing wherever it is possible.
- Effective utilization of tools.
- Simplifying Test Reports.
- Continuous integration by all stakeholders on a daily basis can help in the early detection of defects.
- Setting and measuring metrics that measure quality deliverance.
A trustworthy partner goes along on the journey of building a great product with you and proves their intent time and again. This partner has a clear understanding of expectations, is committed to certain delivery standards and is completely transparent in their delivery.