Testing Center of Excellence - Value articulation to business is the key
The recent TechValidate survey of Infosys TCoE clients, across a spectrum of industries, corroborates that 'efficiency and cost' (63%) are the primary reasons for setting up TCoE. This comes as no surprise as most of the IT organizations are moving in the direction of articulating the business value of most of the services that they offer. However, almost everyone faces challenges while articulating the business value of technical offerings. Some of the challenges that I faced in testing world are
· Testing is an activity that does not have a tangible outcome like development
· Testing is still considered as a small subset under the gamut of activities in software development
· Lack of industry data to derive the business benefits
I think, we can overcome some of these challenges by shifting our focus from activity testing to product quality. Let me share my experience to this community from a recent assignment related to value articulation of testing service. We were standardizing the defect management capability for one of the clients. Defects were neither formally recorded nor tracked by the application teams. As part of the standardization effort, we formalized the defect attributes and defect metrics. Application teams started using these defect metrics for various status reports. As a next step, we used industry data to convert defect metrics to 'cost due to defect avoidance in production'. The industry data that we used were the difference in cost of fixing a defect in testing versus production. This data was very well received by the management and senior leadership. Every project has a business case to justify the effort, however this additional information on the cost helped the management to appreciate the effort that testing team spent on various types of testing to ensure product quality.
The above example demonstrates how we can showcase tangible outcomes of testing. Outcomes that help in business decisions and can improve KPIs of business. I am certain that there could be many more such outcomes, which are relevant to business and can open new avenues for cost savings and improved quality. We can extend this to other capabilities of TCoE such as Risk Based Testing, Early Defect Detection, Root Cause Analysis of production issues etc.
Do share your experience and thoughts on this subject.