A Practical Approach to Establishing a Testing Center of Excellence(TCoE)

testing coe, Testing Center of Excellence, TCoE, performance testing coe, qa center of excellence, test automation center of excellence , testing center of excellence model , agile center of excellence , coe trend analysis ,  test organization structure , software testing methodology , test coe, automation coe, coe testing, Quality Assurance testing, Software Testing company, Top software testing companies, Practical Approach to Establishing

Every organisation across the globe wishes to have a team that nurtures an environment of innovation, thereby helping it to thrive in the market and beat the competition. However, while earlier managing business processes and QA used to be on a per project basis, today, these have become a process of continuous planning, integration, and management. This has led to the development of an organizational model based on testing center of excellence (TCoE).

A TCoE is made up of testing processes, people, tools operating as a shared services function in order to provide testing services with optimal benefits across the test organization. TCoEs can accrue many benefits to an organization in terms of improved quality, lesser time to market and lower cost of ownership.

As per the World Quality Report 2015-16, “The increasing interest in agile and DevOps principles is reflected in the preference for a decentralized Testing Center of Excellence (TCOE) model for improved agility and efficiency. A total of 64% see decentralization as a fundamental element of their TCOE plans, bringing the cost savings of globally distributed delivery models. “

This pretty much confirms the popularity of, and re-establishes the need for establishing a TCoE for organizations that want comprehensive and in-depth validation of their processes and systems. A well-integrated TCoE also helps reduce redundancies, supports risk mitigation, and also control IT-related expenses.

So, how do we implement TCoE?

As per Forrester, “IT organizations looking to improve their testing practices often opt to centralize some or all test-related activities in a Testing Center of Excellence (COE).”

This brings us to the question – what is the most practical approach for establishing a TCoE? Some steps to follow are listed below:

  1. Get an approval and agreement from all stake holders of the organization stating the need to establish a TCoE, and ensure that the multiple teams have clarity regarding the changes that will result due to implementation of TCoE.
  2. Analyze the current business processes, gauge the improvements that need to be made, and define clear processes and templates for the SDLC and STLC workflows that need to be implemented to bring about the required changes. Additionally, also reach a consensus regarding the intervals at which checks will be conducted to see if the processes are being followed.
  3. Identify what needs to be tested across the board quickly, and share observations and metrics that help add required value.
  4. Implement required best practices using well researched and scenario-specific tools that will speed up the process and help teams focus on other important activities.
  5. Keep working on the improvements so as to generate better ROI and establish an atmosphere of quality across the board.

Best practices from around the industry

A TCoE, setup correctly, can help cross-functional teams collaborate together, reduce redundancies and streamline diverse testing processes, accelerating the software testing life cycle.

A well-integrated, holistic TCoE approach helps testing organizations achieve the desired growth and excellence. A proper TCoE framework, while applying quality management principles, must take into consideration all the aspects of a test organization, be it processes, tools, services, or people.

Some specific tasks that lead to a TCoE environment include conducting regular leadership meetings, allocating proper budgets, monitoring the effectiveness of processes, benchmarking performance of test organization for optimum ROIs, providing customized frameworks for enhancing productivity, and providing all types of testing functions spanning all business units.

A thorough assessment of the client organizations testing process helps define and implement modifications that result in quality improvements and improved ROI.

A few business benefits of working in a TCoE environment are:

  • Improved job satisfaction levels
  • Reduced project timelines with lesser delays
  • Reduced technology risk, and plans for the mitigation
  • More time to focus on important activities that add more value
  • Visibly significant savings in terms of annual expenses, at times to the tune of millions of dollars

Gallop’s TCoE framework consists of elements such as Executive Commitments, Quality Management, Drivers, a Jumpstart Kit, and a comprehensive package of Core Testing Services. These elements when integrated together help implement a full-fledged TCoE environment for your organization. Contact us today to discuss about implementing TCoE for your organization..

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Creating a High-Velocity Testing Organization

Creating a High-Velocity Testing Organization

Efficient and high-quality software cannot be developed overnight. It demands weeks – and sometimes months – of dedicated effort and rigorous testing. Research has revealed that 80% of downtime is a result of application errors or failures. The downtime situation worsens when cloud computing is involved. The solution for this serious issue is High-Velocity testing.

What is High-Velocity?

Velocity is measured by units of work done in a particular interval. Its length is fixed in the beginning of a project. A High-Velocity organization is capable of delivering high quality performance in a certain interval. The idea of using velocity as a tool is to help team members find out their optimum work capacity for a given time period. So a High-Velocity team is able to complete tasks at a faster pace and deliver better results than conventional teams.

High-Velocity Testing: The need of the hour

If a testing organization seeks to deliver a nearly flawless software product within a deadline, then it must take advantage of High-Velocity Testing. In order to excel in high-velocity testing, a company should have in-depth knowledge of testing processes. It should be able to provide clients with error-free and timely testing, day in, day out.

There are many factors that influence velocity in testing. They are as follows:

1. Stability of Testing Team – The core members in a testing team should not be moved frequently. Frequent migration directly affects velocity.

2. Hiring the Best Talent – It is important to assemble a team of people having the best engineering skills. Hiring individuals with low skill levels will negatively impact the organization.

3. Proper Communication – Lack of communication between members in a testing team hugely affects velocity or performance of a testing organization. Ideas should be shared on a regular basis and in a positive manner.

4. Awareness About Testing – It is very important for team members to know the importance of fruitful testing. This awareness will boost performance.

5. Training and Expertise – The team should be provided high-end training in order to deliver best possible results. Product-specific training is a must.

6. Provide clear access – Lack of access to reports, systems and software is the most prevalent cause for slowing down the testing process. According to this research from CA Technologies, a typical organization needs access to 33 systems for development and testing, but nearly 2/3 of the team has access to only 50% of the required systems.

The importance of outsourcing in testing

Testing of an application before its release requires experienced resources, time and hard work. Not all organizations are equipped for such testing. The best way is to outsource the testing process – this saves precious time, money and energy for an organization.

The biggest advantage offered by outsourcing is that a company can focus entirely on its core processes. The software market is flooded with testing organizations – the only thing you need to be careful about is choosing the best one for your needs.

Strong testing teams are not born overnight

In order to achieve top-notch testing results, a testing organization should take a pledge to provide relevant and product specific knowledge to its workforce. This is how the testing team at Gallop works. In Gallop, all testing-related activities are centralized at the Testing Center of Excellence (COE).

Gallop has earned a reputation for offering high-velocity testing services for cloud computing environments, and has a strong team of professionals with the skills to test the most complex software. Team Gallop is committed to the goal of helping companies launch error-free software products in the market.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Testing Center of Excellence – Does your business have one? And Seven reasons why you need it

Testing Center of Excellence – Does your business have one? And Seven reasons why you need it

Testing teams are constantly under pressure to reduce development time without compromising quality. Traditional methods of quality assurance fail as they just cannot keep up with the challenges in constantly delivering software that is time-bound, robust and efficient. This has prompted more and more companies to lean towards the idea of establishing a centralized testing service.

What is a Testing Center of Excellence?
A testing center of excellence (TCoE) is a framework where testing is maintained as a centralized service and shared across the organization.

Does your business need a Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE)?
The answer is ‘yes’ if any one of the following SEVEN CRITERIA applies to your organization:

  1. Your QA is aligned to project goals rather than the organization goals – In the absence of a centralized testing framework, the testing teams report to individuals and hence do not share a common goal or direction. TCoE consolidates all testing functions under a single umbrella so that they operate towards a common goal which is, in turn, aligned towards the mission, vision and goals of the organization. This serves to add more clarity and visibility to QA in the eyes of the top management.
  2. Finding testing resources with desired technical and domain skills is a challenge and hence, projects suffer from high training costs – In a traditional QA set up, there is limited cross project visibility due to which resources are not utilized optimally. Under TCoE, testing resources are organized on the lines of technology and LOB as per their core skills which aids in proper deployment of resources across projects.
  3. Your QA process is not transparent. In other words, you are not sure how much ROI you get out of your QA process. Without a TCoE, there is no efficient tracking of how much an organization has invested into testing and how much return has it generated. TCoE introduces metric based tracking which measures the success of the QA process in terms of test coverage, test effort, defect slippage, test effectiveness etc. and the ROI on testing.
  4. You desire to reduce your testing time without compromising on quality – With TCoE, you can achieve a mature QA with standard tools and frameworks resulting in a more efficient test cycle. Organizations with TCoE in place show an average reduction of up to 30% in the testing cycle which considerably reduces the time-to-market.
  5. You do not have a standard QA process and there is no sharing of best practices, tools and automation opportunities across teams at an organization level. Unnecessary time and effort is spent on reinventing the wheel each time. TCoE standardizes testing processes throughout the organization and sets guidelines for test planning, test scripts and test execution. It facilitates sharing of best practices, lessons learnt and automation opportunities. This leads to a reduced learning curve and eliminates chaos arising from variation in testing across projects.
  6. Your projects are often struggling with issues related to defect leakage and missed deliveries – With TCoE, organizations have been able to achieve up to 50-70% level of automation in testing with an average of 30% reduction in test cycles and limit defect leakage to less than 2%.
  7. Your organization is not aware of new trends in testing. There is no focus on emerging technologies and you do not possess the framework necessary to test them. A TCoE structure helps QA to be more business oriented. It is in sync with new technologies and trends in testing which gives the organization a competitive edge and empowers it to respond quickly to new business opportunities.

Organizations that have adopted TCoE have reported an average cost reduction of 35% over a 3-year period. Some of the other benefits of TCoE? It brings in more agility to QA and helps to establish a continuous improvement process driven by metrics. Setting up a TCoE does require certain amount of change along with support and commitment from the top management. But you always have the option of partnering with a company that already has TCoE capability.

Read about how Gallop’s TCoE can help you transform your testing functions.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.