Three Tips for Communicating QA’s Strategic Value to the C-Suite

Prioritizing quality is a cornerstone of good business strategy. Here’s how to convey the strategic value of QA.

As the end of the line in software development, QA testing doesn’t get much attention from strategic decision-makers. That is, until a bug slips under the radar, goes live with launch and leads to catastrophe.

In 2016, 548 software failures from 363 companies affected more than 50 percent of the world’s population (4.4 billion people), according to Tricentis’ Software Fail Watch. Collectively, these failures affected $1.1 trillion worth of assets. Part of the issue is that testing leaders struggle with communicating the strategic value of quality, often because the tools they use produce metrics and data which fails to show the impact of their work on business goals.

To prevent a crisis of commerce and corporate character, QA teams need modern tools and workflows that enable testers to implement thorough QA processes, across multiple projects and development methodologies, and that provide actionable insights that help your team improve the practice over time. But to convince business leaders to invest in the people, processes and tools they need, they have to understand how investing in quality will benefit the business.

Why Business Leaders Should Value QA Testing

Not only can a strategic approach to quality save money and help companies avoid releasing bugs into production — if done right, QA can also increase time to market, improve customer satisfaction and help drive revenue.

Here are some points that may help you communicate the strategic business value of QA testing to colleagues higher up the ladder when you are making the case for expanding your team or upgrading your quality platform.

1. Effective QA tools and processes prevent risk.

Consider that 33 percent of companies with more than 1,000 employees say an average hour of downtime costs them $1 million or more. Downtime related to bugs, security flaws, hacks and human error cost 81 percent of companies more than $300,000 an hour, on average, and nearly all (98 percent) say that an hour costs them $100,000-plus. Outage prevention is key.

With effective testing tools, the QA team can fully understand and diagnose where things are going wrong, then identify patterns to gain insight to potential future issues.

2. Testing optimized for today’s software development methodologies can increase productivity.

The more efficient the testing team can be, the better the development team can be. Tools that support collaboration between testing and development, and alignment with waterfall, agile and DevOps methodologies enable QA testing to begin before developers complete coding in a test environment.

That means testers can diffuse issues from the early stages of software creation through launch. As the dev team resolves issues in their infancy, before they have embedded themselves in an application, the team increases its time-to-market and minimizes the time it takes to resolve issues.

3. Quality can be measured

You may not have numbers specific to your testing processes, but try applying data from your existing software development lifecycle to benchmark the cost of development and delivery. Include lost productivity, missed business opportunities due to outages, FTE and consultant costs, and software upgrade and maintenance fees.

Specialty QA tools analyze testing from process quality and coverage to velocity. They piece data together to understand the story it tells about your software development efforts and drive smarter, better, faster testing. The resulting insight can improve design, development, and quality in subsequent releases and products. In other words, you will get the metrics you need to communicate the value of quality to your business goals.

QA Testing Has Strategic Value

QA testing identifies routine issues that plague software development — bugs, security flaws exploited by hackers, costly post-launch remediation and disappointing user experience. But when executives buy in, integrate quality into business strategy, and equip teams with the right tools, QA testing can streamline the entire software development lifecycle, speed time to market and ensure competitive products go to market without glitches or holes in security that can damage the company’s reputation or market value.

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