“Quality Assistance? Yet another very trendy oversold term I’m about to keep hearing for a while in IT Conferences”… I was saying to myself somewhere in the coffee breaks of expoQA:19 in Madrid. “It’s probably just meant to give people in QA more motivation and meaningfulness to their job”. I even remember to make the exact same comments in my first week at my current job. I was sure this “Quality Assistance” is another cool term deemed to fail.
I was wrong …
You never believe it until you see it, they say. I’ve started my current professional adventure with the aim to create the QA activities and department from scratch and after my first couple of days, I was positively surprised:
- There was already a decent testing activity going on inside the teams including different levels of test automation
- There was nobody strictly dedicated to that, it was part of the developers work
- Very good DevOps mentality inside the team
So, after these first days passed, I started to ask myself: “How can I make myself useful here?”. In my previous experiences inside the industry, even while working with Agile Methodologies, in QA we were always hoping and expecting from DEVs to actually properly test, before the hand it in to us, the QA. I immediately clicked, realizing I was wrong all the time, and understood the possibility of setting up something much greater here: the situation no longer needed sole owners of the work, but actually needed people to help and guide the path on how to achieve quality.
Testing vs. Quality Assurance vs. Quality Assistance
While testing is one of the many activities inside the scope of Quality Assurance, where does Assistance chip in? Although Assurance has been a great step ahead from just Testing, the model it proposes, although wrapped in different shapes, by the different working methodologies, still creates inside organizations a “them” and “us” situation, assigning the person which signs off their emails with “Quality” with the ultimate responsibility for it. Nevertheless, how can something as subjective as Quality be ever assured? Even more, how can we as professionals continue to feed on our work environments with this lie?
Coming back to Assistance, the promise of it is with both feet on the ground, changing the rhetoric to: we’re assisting development teams and business, to define, assess and achieve the desired Quality level.
Flipping the page
Quite fluffy, right? The reality is that I’m still in the process of understanding the concept myself through: exploring, trying out alternatives, and reflecting on the outcomes. Throughout this process, I’m planning to publish frequently a series of posts about my findings, both positive and negative, of the approaches I’ve been taking. The series will be named the Road to Quality Assistance – as seen through my own eyes: at the moment very mysterious, unknown to myself and many, but with at least one known arriving point: the land of knowledge.