Fierce competition, technology innovations, and complex business demands have necessitated for organizations to make rapid and well informed decisions, complemented by superior product quality, enhanced productivity, and operational effectiveness. To imbibe these elements into software testing, organizations are progressively turning towards centralized testing practices. Development of a TCoE (Testing Center of Excellence) is an endeavor to realize this goal.
A TCoE is comprised of strategic assets namely people, processes, and technology, entwined by the vision of a centralized quality organization that delivers quality at optimal cost by best utilization of the accessible resources. It aims to establish highly standardized quality assurance and testing practices that deliver near-zero defect applications to the clients.
What exactly does a TCoE bring to the table?
Agility: A clear focus is placed on operational efficiency through automation tools & techniques, use of latest methodologies, better team collaboration, and application of the best industry practices. The result is speedy response to the latest business challenges, and better allocation of efforts towards the high priority projects.
Faster Time To Market: Compressed testing schedules, application of the modern technology, and availability of resources with right skill-sets assist in rapid resolution of the new business challenges and faster delivery of the end product. As per HP TCoE whitepaper, HP achieved the reduced test times of 30% or more, as well as test automation levels of 50-70% on an average with TCoE.
Cost Efficiency With Increased ROI:TCoE provides a common testing framework enabling better utilization and lower costs of the supporting environments, eliminating resource redundancy. Resource consumption, software procurement, and setup and maintenance costs are lowered significantly with exhaustive repository of reusable test components, templates, and business scenarios. On the whole, business driven, flexible and coherent test approaches executed in TCoE result in the overall reduction of the total software development cost.
Quality: Better team coordination and the availability of experts makes it easier to keep up with the testing schedules, and deliver quality, along with timely detection and solution of the undesirable risks. The low percentage of defect leakage of high severity defects leads to better customer experience. Moreover, best practices and methodologies are shared across the project platform ensuring improved outcomes.
Customer Satisfaction: Major defects and other performance issues are detected and resolved before the application is delivered to the client. Further, flexibility to adapt to the new technological changes and fast delivery of the application is ensured leading to enhanced client satisfaction.
All these set of benefits contribute to a positive shift in the organizational culture instilling agility and clarity in the entire process of the software development thus freeing up time and resources for the management to reach out for better business opportunities.
TCoE model has invariably become a preferred choice for improved and fast software development process, and ensures better quality, transparency and cost efficiency. Nevertheless, it involves its own set of challenges too.
TCoE brings business, development and ops teams closer to the QA and testing teams, calling for high levels of coordination and collaboration. Besides, a tester might be expected to fix the code and a developer may be asked to write test cases as and when required. This calls for a complex task of resource cross-skilling. Additionally, implementing TCoE in organizations may simply fail due to certain seemingly trivial but significant organizational loopholes like lack of right resources, passive management, blurred timeframes and imprecise goals.
If the above factors are controlled, benefits of TCoE can be fully accrued. The center may initially be developed on a small scale with minimal investments, and later, a transition may be made to a more mature TCoE. Organizations may develop TCoE slowly and gradually at their own rate, controlling the costs and reducing risks by steadily scaling up their resources, services and capabilities, giving way to a space where optimized workforce, enhanced efficiency, and improved quality can be deeply embedded within the company culture.