There are many companies that wish to avoid the costs involved in having a testing leader in their projects. In this article, Federico Toledo, Alejandra Viglietti, and Alejandro Berardinelli explain why this role is a priority for the creation of quality software and the economic sustainability of companies.
By Natalie Rodgers
An organization that decides to carry out software testing to achieve quality developments but chooses to do so without a leader dedicated to the project may find very difficult obstacles to overcome.
The decision not to invest in adequate leadership can have a negative impact on their digital systems, with direct consequences on their business and economic sustainability.
Good leaders are people capable of providing comprehensive support throughout the software development lifecycle, of knowing the context in depth and understanding the big picture.
Thanks to this, and their experience, they have the ability to anticipate, take initiative to avoid potential problems, and solve various types of situations. All in pursuit of the success of each project, customer satisfaction, the well-being of all team members, and the best possible user experience.
The lack of leadership can lead to problems that directly affect the execution of software testing and, thus, the resulting quality of the systems. This quality is the cornerstone of a company’s long-term economic sustainability.
So much so that, according to CISQ’s “The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the US” report, the total cost of poor software quality in the United States was $2.08 trillion (T) in 2020.
“Leaders are people with several years of experience, who have dealt with many projects of different characteristics. This translates into them having a broad set of tools and other aplomb when facing different situations regardless of their criticality,” explained Alejandro Berardinelli, QE lead at Abstracta.
“Even if the leader is not as technically specialized as a tester, they have a global vision and understanding of the situation and the projects, which allows them to accompany the projects beyond the technical difficulty. At Abstracta, our leaders know the company’s network in-depth and can quickly connect the dots to help tasks progress,” he continued.
Alejandro outlined: “The added value of a leader is the support and guidance of the testers in the different projects and situations. This support and guidance translate into a better execution of the projects and fulfillment of the objectives.”
Abstracta has different areas that work in an articulated way so that everything works correctly and contributes value in all the stages of each project. As stated by Alejandra Viglietti, Operations Manager at Abstracta, the Operations area is in charge of everything related to the service provided by Abstracta to its clients from the point of view of its execution.
In the same vein, Operations is in charge of making assignments when a collaboration opportunity arises, either with a new or an existing client, to achieve the match between the project requirement and the people who will carry it out.
“This implies having the people, resources, training, hiring, etc., assembling the teams and evaluating the assignments by understanding the needs of each client, combining the appropriate profiles, and then following up to adjust when necessary,” Alejandra explained.
“We consider multiple variables to carry out each assignment, from the requirements and context of the projects to the growth opportunities of the people, their skills, their personal needs, past experiences in terms of people they have worked with or would start working with, ambitions and tastes, among others”, specified Federico Toledo, Chief Operations Officer of Abstracta.
Operations is in charge of both the assignment of leaders and testers for each project. They evaluate different scenarios and make the best possible decisions, with the support of the Growth, Sustainability and People Care areas.
– What is the role of a leader?
Federico Toledo: Leaders fulfill three fundamental roles, related to operational issues, people care, and also customer success tasks.
🟣Operational: They bring more technical experience and knowledge of previous projects. They know how to connect with those who have faced similar problems, or, otherwise, they can easily find out through the network of leaders and C-suite. They support the delivery of the service, to achieve technical excellence. They are the bridge between the people assigned to the project and the aggregate knowledge of the entire organization during the 14 years of work.
🟣People Care: They care for and take care of people on a daily basis, they are concerned about growth and continuous learning. They are the first level of listening, in any situation where the person requires containment, support and listening.
🟣Customer Success: They are the point of contact with the customer at the strategic level and coordination at the tactical level. On a day-to-day basis, they observe what the client needs, the project, changes in context, etc., in order to provide options for solutions, adjustments to what is being done, and collaboration. They are the first point of feedback from the customer, and are responsible for taking action on that feedback.
– Is having a leader somehow a seal of quality?
Alejandro Berardinelli: Sealing software quality is not easy and reminds me of the term Quality Assurance, which I am not very fond of. But we can say that having a leader will ensure that there is someone responsible for a quality strategy and its implementation. Someone who gives visibility and seals what flows were tested and how (values, steps, etc.), what browsers or platforms were used, what coverage is counted in the service layer, what performance metrics the application has, and much more.
– What would you say to a company that insists on dispensing with a leader for a project?
Federico Toledo: That if people are less accompanied, their motivation, their rootedness and sense of belonging can be impacted. In business terms for the client, this increases the risk of such people quitting or underperforming. If there is a leader, this is significantly reduced. And if there is a situation where a reassignment is needed anyway, the leader can make the transition happen with less impact to the project. A good leader is responsible for the quality of the developments and building a bridge to the rest of the organization, with knowledge of the context and a strategic vision. This can help anticipate many problems and suggest other types of actions when necessary.
Alejandro Berardinelli: The proper accompaniment of team members is crucial for any project. Companies benefit from the input of someone with experience in several projects who will lead the definition and implementation of the testing strategy. A company that decides not to have a leader for its projects misses out on the experience of someone who works in a pure play testing company and who has worked on several projects of different characteristics. This experience is especially valuable to avoid taking wrong paths in defining objectives and their fulfillment. This can be aggravated if the client does not have someone to lead their testing team, which can result in the execution of tasks without an overall strategy to ensure quality.
How do we plan our strategies for each project? Find out in this article.
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