Friday, May 31, 2013

Should you continue in Process QA Role?


Couple of my friends and colleagues in the Process Quality role have been looking for a role change as they doubt their meaningful contribution to business. They compare themselves against their counterparts - developers and testers who slog long hours & through weekends. These QA professionals are influenced by the common perception that the only important job is that of a developer followed by the tester

The continuous bombarding of this negative perception has weakened the QA community and even the senior members have lost the true objective of their roles. The software industry itself has weakened the role especially with the s/w service industry inducting fresher's and less experienced member's to play this role

The role of a QA originally served the below two purposes

  1. These were experienced capable members, whose experience would be underutilized if used for only a single project. These members were expected to guide multiple project's in taking right decisions based on their vast experience
  2. Technical expertise was not the only requirement, members in this role were expected to be able to abstract information, identify trends and 'foresee the bigger picture'. With the foresight that they had, they were expected to design processes & tools at organization level
Therefore a QA not only played the role of experience sharing (personal as well as across project's) but more importantly had to be a visionary and a strategic thinker to identify organizational weakness and set things right (avoid slogging of developers & testers, on-time and good Quality Delivery!)

However with time, to win contracts, service companies adopted process models such as ISO, CMMI etc and they needed someone to "get things done quickly"; there was no time for progressive improvements - deadlines were set and had to be achieved for business (not necessarily improvement) purposes. Therefore the only way to do it in a cost effective manner, was to hire untrained, less experienced people as QA professionals. It did not stop there, because the process improvement models were force fitted without true commitment (other than the push from Top Management), a constant monitoring was required to continue the certifications - therefore these QA professionals continued to exist, without realizing that their true role was much much higher than what is being done presently

A friend of mine, who was going through the same turmoil, got an interview call yesterday for a Process Quality role in Europe. He was surprised at the importance given to this position - he was expected to define the end to end product development - which would mean the success or failure of the entire company! 

His passion for his work got re-ignited after the interview. Hopefully other QA professionals would also realize what the role demands and look at the bigger picture rather than limiting themselves to daytoday activities

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