Building a culture of quality transformation

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Transforming from traditional testing organizations to quality engineering organizations with new ways of working is hard. Changing culture is even harder. Read on to learn more about cultural shifts to accelerate this journey.

The WQR 2019–2020 highlights the widespread adoption of agile and DevOps by virtually every organization in the world. In addition, there is a proliferation of artificial intelligence in every sector that is adding to the complexity. What started as a greater need for automation and development skills in agile in earlier years has been compounded by a need for environment, statistics, data analytics, business, and security skills.

This was emphasized in the WQR with an average of 30% respondents stating that skills across the board are missing in several areas, including automation, performance, collaboration, data analytics, and security. While organizations are working towards building these skills, a very critical part of skills transformation in new ways of working is changing the culture. There are five cultural shifts to consider in accelerating this transformation:

Building a culture of leading from the top

Leading means much more than verbal commitment. It starts with setting the vision, building technical expertise, removing impediments, and practicing what you preach. It means consciously building a culture of trust. It entails empowering your teams and believing that they will do the right thing. It necessitates being mindful about little things, which is as important as keeping your promises about the big things.

For example, a gesture of picking up coffee and doughnuts for the team, acknowledging when you are wrong, celebrating successes, and learning from failures go a long way in building trust.

Building a culture of fearless innovation

This refers to building a culture where every team member has the authority to think independently and find new ways to solve problems. Failures are a necessary path toward innovation. It is critical to reward those who fail just because they tried. It also implies being fearless about making hard decisions. For example, it is better to shut down an automation initiative that does not give you a return on investment than to have any sort of emotional attachment and continue with it.

Building a culture of accountability with employees and clients right from the beginning

Accountability means doing what you say and being transparent about what cannot be done. As an example, an early step in building a culture of accountability with clients is engaging in the contractual process to explicitly state what service levels will be met and clearly defining what their role will be to adhere to those service levels. The same works within teams. Letting the team on the ground engage in the service-level baselining process will lead to transparency and accountability across the board.

Building a measurable just in time culture of learning

Personalized just-in-time learning is the way forward. Team members decide what training they need and when they need it, which then empowers them to solve real-time problems and makes them accountable for their own careers. As an organization, one can measure the effectiveness of this learning with business outcomes such as increased customer satisfaction scores and reduced time to test. This success reinforces the value of learning and helps teams feel engaged and motivated.

Building a culture of measuring what is important

In a world of metrics, quality professionals often get hooked on a few sets of traditional metrics and use them as a baseline. They ignore changes in business indicators and the maturing test organization landscape, which drastically alters those metrics. Building a culture of measuring business metrics and tying them to testing outcomes is a necessary shift.

In summary, cultural transformation necessitates a balance of swiftness with measured deliberation. Too much swiftness and the transformation will pause. Too much deliberation and the transformation will fail.

To learn more about quality transformation and organization trends, download the latest World Quality Report at 

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