Saturday, April 26, 2014

Constantly remind the team that your intent and feedback as a QA resource is always to represent the customer and push for great product experience

If you really want to be an elite QA person, part of achieving this goal will be your willingness and non-stop effort to provide feedback to whatever parts of the company are introducing risk to product features, timely delivery, and user experience.

These main attributes will separate you from QA resources that are, what I like to call, "button pushers" or "test automation monkeys" and prove the real value of your expertise to the product and the team.

It is not an easy thing to do.

One of the major reasons that it's not easy is because most QA teams work for an engineering organization on the company's org chart and any honest and constructive, critical feedback will always be discouraged. It can be considered a conflict of interest. We still do live in the world, unfortunately, of office politics. Any good intention and truthfulness exposing activities within the company that are genuinely negatively affecting the product and user experience will normally not be taken and perceived with true intention from the QA person, or perhaps because traditionally the development team doesn't respect the QA team because of their lack of technical skills.

It's unfortunate, but true, in a majority of traditional product development teams.

Do not let the potential of friction with development or product teams discourage you from expressing your very well-informed opinions. If you have data showing high bug counts and can show risk at certain points in the development cycle, then it is almost impossible for anyone to have a rebuttal to your recommendations.

Data drives decisions. And as the rock star QA person, you have all the data you need to prove your points because you know the product and user experience better than anyone else in the company.

Smart teams, and smart team members, will respect your opinions and want to make the necessary incremental changes that you recommend.

And most of all, eventually, if they are honest with themselves, those team members will realize that your feedback is entirely given with intent of best possible product quality and excellent user experience. Your feedback is intended for better product experience of the customer.

Embrace the friction and make the product better.

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