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Author: Chris Williams, Head of Testing and Assurance Business Data Partners

Not a day goes by without another news story about a data blip, security hacks or application & system failures. BDPs Head of Testing & Assurance, Chris Williams, explains why Testing and Quality Assurance should be your number one priority.

Testing and assurance are not modern practices; these have always taken place across a range of domains and even everyday activities from taking a car on a test drive or having an eye test. In change delivery, testing and Quality Assurance (QA) whilst not new, are becoming increasingly important in today’s world of continuous change and heightened regulation.

The Business Challenges of Today

Businesses today not only put greater importance on testing and QA but require it. The key challenges faced include:

  • Increased rigor and regulation with severe penalties imposed for breaches
  • Immediacy of interaction from consumers and end users. We’re in an age where seconds are considered snail pace and demand for digital to provide this is continuing to rise
  • IT failures not only have significant financial implication, these gain huge public interest through digital media – everything becomes public very fast
  • Generating, processing and managing vast volumes of data creates almost limitless combinations of data attributes therefore maximising insight and competitive advantage from enormous data stores is difficult and dependent upon data quality, completeness, accuracy, freshness and availability.

Based on a snippet of the challenges faced by businesses it’s easy to see why the role for QA has never been greater.

The Role of QA in Delivery

Quality Assurance, defined by ISTQB as being “Part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”, should be an integral part of any project, team, or business. Particularly due to the shift in how change programmes are being delivered. Traditional delivery methodologies such as Waterfall or V-Model are still being used, but are being overtaken by Agile practices, extending to Continuous Delivery and DevOps. Businesses are striving to ‘shift left’ where change can be implemented faster, more reliably, at a reduced cost and still deliver working products to the end users and consumers.

How Testing Fits In

Testing forms the governance and control throughout all delivery methodologies, from Static Testing of requirements and specifications to Continuous Testing in all phases in the development lifecycle. In Agile and DevOps, test automation is an essential element which provides both a challenge and opportunity for test and QA professionals. They have the opportunity to extend their skills and work in a fast-paced environment where change is built, tested, packaged and released in short iterations (often weeks rather than months).

QA and testing must form part of the delivery process and critically, must be embedded in all activities. No longer can testing be an after thought as the risk of failure can be costly; either through loss of revenue, competitive advantage, loss of consumer trust and/or reputation. Everyone in the project team should be ‘test-infected’ and it is not just down to QA and test professionals to deliver. A ‘whole team’ approach to testing and quality is required to support Continuous Testing and deliver continuous assurance.

Testing and QA Today

As we progress forwards into more advanced data processing and analytics (through machine learning and AI), new skill-sets will be required with new capabilities and technologies utilised to deliver quality products to the business and consumers alike. Couple this with further developments to iterative and more expedient delivery models, this makes it an exciting time to be in the world of QA and test. Yes, there will be many challenges, but this brings with it lots of opportunity to create new ways of working, develop new techniques and tackle new problems with new skills. It makes it an exciting world to be part of and I’m personally excited to see how it progresses in the coming years ahead.

Here at Business Data Partners, we recognise and value the importance of test and QA, which is why we’re investing in the recruitment of a number of professionals; Test Analysts, Senior Test Analysts, Test Automation experts, DevOps Architect & DevOps Engineers. If you would like to know more about our exciting opportunities or learn about how we deliver test and QA in data-driven environments, get in touch today.

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