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Next-Gen QA - Five Paradigm Shifts that can change the game




IT professionals who started their careers in the 1980s-early 1990s can easily understand how testing services has emerged as one of the front pillars of IT service organizations. If there is any industry or service that has grown as a result of the 'inefficiencies' in the earlier phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), it is undoubtedly "testing". The fact that testing has been growing steadily - at 15% CAGR and with an expected market size of $29 billion by 2016 - implies that the rise in inefficiency levels continues.


The growth story of independent testing in the past decade has been phenomenal. This growth is primarily attributed to the ineffective quality gates at the early stages of SDLC necessitating independent testing, which has been positioned as a panacea to all the ills and evils of poor quality. Now the stage is set for the Next Gen QA where client organizations are expected to optimize the overall testing effort, cost and duration through a holistic approach. As organizations are pushed to extract greater value from every dollar spent, there is an urgent need, across industries, to look for optimization opportunities in testing by identifying and removing the redundancies across the SDLC.


While IT organizations understand the imperatives for establishing an independent/central QA organization to realize their business goals, they are also looking for agility and innovation to optimize their overall testing effort, cost and quality without compromising the independent stature of QA organizations. Further, the quality and value of testing will be measured by the value/outcome that accrues to the business and overall IT in the form of tangible business outcome and system stability in production. This expectation has increased the responsibilities and multiplied the complexities for QA/Testing organizations.


QA organizations are expected to play a pivotal role to meet this challenge and help client IT organisations in their optimization journey. In order to rise up to this challenge, I believe that QA organizations have to think radically and should not hesitate to embrace innovative approaches. Some of these approaches will challenge the basic independent testing premise and will demand a paradigm shift in the following five critical areas:


1.    Independent to Optimization

2.    Inward Development to Outward Business Focus

3.    Isolated Tools to Integrated Solutions

4.    QA basic to Advisory Service

5.    Output to Outcome-based Engagement Models and KPIs


This shift necessitates the need to develop a new breed of test professionals with diversified skill sets or adopt innovative resourcing models to supplement the skills needed to meet these challenges.   


Over the next few weeks, through a series of blogs, I will take you through each of the above mentioned key areas and share my perspective as to how QA organizations can gear up to this  paradigm shift in each of the above areas.    


See you soon

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