3 reasons commitment to quality may determine the future of your IT organization

10keys.jpgIn my first contribution on the HP Future of Testing blog,  “10 keys to building a successful Quality Center of Excellence”, I briefly described 10 key elements to  empower a POSITIVE quality transformation. Today, let’s discuss the importance of commitment to Quality. 
 

Commitment to Quality

The degree to which your IT organization and product development teams can quickly deliver high quality applications has a significant impact on how successful your company will be. It  may actually determine the future of your IT teams (yes, it is that important). IT organizations that are truly committed to quality are more trusted by business partners, valued by customers, are more innovative and they do all this while attracting and retaining the top talent.
On the other hand, companies that scrimp on quality and consistently deliver lousy IT applications pay the price with:
• Higher operational and maintenance costs
• Lower profits and  sales
•  Increased churn
• Lower employee engagement
• Lawsuits
• Higher levels of outsourcing and layoffs


Let’s say your company is in the business of selling widgets but  your development team can’t quickly deliver high-quality mobile apps and a compelling web storefront. Without great usability of the apps and store front,  either the sales and marketing team or your customers will eventually go around IT to get what they need—and they will be going elsewhere.  

 

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Commitment to quality has to come from the top of the organization.
Executive support for quality is essential, but it has to be displayed in actions not just words. Personally, I have seen a new IT Executive come onboard and make a key few leadership changes and empower the team to deliver quality IT applications.
With a clear vision, high expectations and an environment that fosters and rewards quality; the culture changes like magic and quality improves within 6 -18 months. I have also experienced the opposite situation, when a C-level executive comes with a short-term agenda of massive spending or extreme cost cutting and predictably IT quality nose dives. Why does this happen?

 

1. No one wants to develop and test inferior applications
Talented developers and testers want to do a good job and make a difference by delivering remarkable applications. It is so frustrating to work days, nights and weekends on a project that everyone knows is doomed to fail.  If your Quality Assurance team doesn't’t have the tools, test environments or authority to make a difference they will eventually give up and leave. They may even lose motivation and just stay for the paycheck. 

 

2. No one want to maintain, operate and support substandard IT
In many companies, more than 70 percent of the IT budget goes to maintaining and operating buggy, unstable software and systems. IT is bogged down with manual efforts, work-arounds, clean-up scripts, and increasing support and hardware costs. 


It doesn’t have to be this way. I have seen a backlog of production defect  go from over 60,000 to less than a 1,000 in nine months when an executive team made commitment to quality a priority. 

 

3. No one want to sell, market, use or pay for lousy software
The consequences and the impact to your business can be severe if your sales dry up, and customers leave. Commitment to quality is simple, it is just not easy! As an IT leader, future leader or IT practitioner you can be the change by making a commitment to quality.

 

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Next Steps


If you don’t know how you rate in commitment to quality, now is the time to start the process by setting expectations and empowering a quality transformation. I hope this will be the beginning of a lively and productive discussion, which will help shape the future of QA and testing. 

 

Over the next weeks, I’ll and drill down into recommendations that I believe will help you move your testing organization forward.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I am representing my views based on my own 15 years of experience leading QA and Testing teams in multiple industries. While I now work for HP, I am in constant contact with QA professionals around the world. It is my personal mission to find new and better ways raise the levels of efficiency and effectiveness of QA and Testing. When it makes sense, I will point you to innovative ways that HP Software customers are handling modern IT challenges.

 

So please join in the conversation and respond to this blog with suggestions based on your experience…we’ll all benefit from learning about your successes.

 

I hope to meet you in person at upcoming events including StarEast in Orlando (April 28 -May 3)

and at HP Discover in Las Vegas (June 11-13) and Barcelona (Dec 10-12)!

 Follow me on Twitter @qacooper
 

For more information: http://www.hp.com/go/qualitycenter

 

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About the Author
Michael Cooper is a leader in the fields of quality assurance (QA), software testing, and process improvement. In November 2012, Michael joi...
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