Delivering a high-quality product is your software development team’s ultimate goal. As a product manager, you’re already aware of the benefits it can have towards your business’s performance.
But did you also know that product quality can directly impact the relationship you have with your customers? Indeed, a recent study concluded that ‘customer loyalty is a function of customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction is a function of the firm product quality’.
This is what makes quality assurance and quality control so important. When incorporated correctly, they reduce the likelihood of errors and increase quality. All in all, it's what makes for productive users and happy customers.
However, not all teams extract the most value from their QC resources.
Typically, QA happens throughout the development process, but QC only happens after the development process is complete. While your QC team can catch and fix errors during this post-development period, earlier involvement could prevent potential defects from falling through the cracks. It may also reduce the need for further time-consuming tweaks before product release.
So, if you have the QC resources on hand - why not use them throughout your development process?
The importance of an embedded QC team
Quality control ensures your development team pay close attention to the finer details of your product. This is something your developers may overlook under the flexible ‘get it done’ attitude that prevails in Agile teams. It’s also something your process-oriented QA teams might miss.
The QC process influences the rest of your team’s attitude towards your product. With their collaboration, you can reduce defects and improve product quality. You can enhance your processes.
What about your outsourced teams?
Even if you outsource your QC resources, you can still embed them in your Agile QA and development processes. They are fully familiar with the rest the software development process, as well as the stages of story building and requirement scoping. They can understand your requirements and provide their own unique insights… but only if you invite them in.
Tips for working QC into your QA agile process
As a product manager, you filter down customer feedback, insights, and change requests to your development team. But it’s the responsibility of individual team members to solve these problems autonomously. This can be great for boosting engagement and motivation.
But how one team member defines ‘quality’ may differ from another. That’s not to say they don’t strive for quality, only that your development and QA teams may not view their tasks through a QC lens.
You can fill these knowledge gaps by:
- Inviting quality control to your Scrum ceremonies. Encourage your QC experts to attend your sprint planning and daily Scrum meetings. They can supply timely advice before development teams begin their work.
- Influencing QA teams. Your quality assurance experts provide documentation, training and frameworks to help your development team code with quality in mind. With the QC team’s input, they can provide more materials around common post-development pitfalls. For instance, software bugs that frustrate customers, such as crashes or visualization errors when using different screen sizes.
- Conducting pair programming where possible. If your development and QC teams aren’t in the same location, this may be difficult. However, if you can team-up developers with quality control experts for programming tasks, you’ll tackle quality issues in real-time. Your developers can absorb QC advice and take it with them on future projects.
- Reviewing each product change or development task. This is perhaps a more achievable scenario for disparate teams. Once your developers complete a task, allow your QC team members to review them. Reviewing these tasks before your product is complete will reduce the likelihood of defects. Of course, you will need to balance this with your time-to-market goals, as additional review cycles will demand more time.
Achieve your high-quality standard, time after time
‘Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.’ – William A. Foster
The continuous improvement, collaboration, and individual ownership principles of Agile processes unite teams. They foster an environment where everyone buys into the success of your product.
You can make the most of this framework - and enhance the quality of your product - by making QC iterative.
By embedding your QC team into the entire development process, you’ll cover more perspectives and overcome potential defects. Through further knowledge sharing and collaboration, you’ll only make your Agile team stronger. And your products? They’ll have a better chance of satisfying your customers and succeeding upon release.