Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me.
Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) is a framework where testing is maintained as a centralized service and shared across the organization. Regardless of a company’s experience, the objective is the same – build technical expertise in the platform, often referred to as a center of excellence. Every organization across the globe wishes to have a team that nurtures an environment of innovation, thereby helping it to thrive in the market and beat the competition. However, while earlier managing business processes and QA used to be on a per project basis, today, these have become a process of continuous planning, integration, and management. This has led to the development of an organizational model based on testing center of excellence (TCoE).
A TCoE is made up of testing processes, people, tools operating as a shared services function in order to provide testing services with optimal benefits across the test organization. TCoEs can accrue many benefits to an organization in terms of improved quality, lesser time to market and lower cost of ownership.
WHAT IS A CENTER OF EXCELLENCE (COE)?
A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a team of people that are knowledgeable, promote, share and collaborate on a specific technical focus area. They follow best practice, and are passionate about the chosen technology. They focus on utilizing the technology to achieve the business objectives efficiently and effectively. Ideally, and depending on the business needs, a CoE should be made up of several professional disciplines, either as full-time or part-time members.
A QA Center of Excellence provides your teams with a set of standard, yet smartly flexible, processes and templates for use across all of your IT projects. The processes and templates established by the Center of Excellence can be used for both in-house custom-developed applications as well as vendor-owned COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) systems. Most companies utilize a nice mixture of both.
Why move to TCoE model?
Traditional “siloed test teams” are distributed across multiple business units (or) groups and they are governed by different managers. Because of this organizational design, test teams cannot ensure testing consistency across the organization as they are controlled by managers who have their own priorities and political realities about the importance and budget allocation for testing. This led to massive inefficiencies across the organization in terms of costs, reusing best practices, quality of testing, effective utilization of teams, hardware & software.
A testing centre of excellence solves this problem by the centralization of all test assets (people, hardware infrastructure, software licenses, process assets) across the organization and offering “testing” as a shared service across multiple lines of business units (or) groups. Collapsing multiple test groups into a centralized testing group will lead to better efficiencies due to economies of scale & optimization. Testing Centres of Excellence (TCoE) framework ties all the strategic assets of the testing such as people, process, hardware & tools which are held together through enablers and a robust governance model. Transformation of a “siloed testing organization” to a “TCoE based testing organization”.
HOW TO implement TCoE?
- Get an approval and agreement from all stake holders of the organization stating the need to establish a TCoE, and ensure that the multiple teams have clarity regarding the changes that will result due to implementation of TCoE.
- Analyze the current business processes, gauge the improvements that need to be made, and define clear processes and templates for the SDLC and STLC workflows that need to be implemented to bring about the required changes. Additionally, also reach a consensus regarding the intervals at which checks will be conducted to see if the processes are being followed.
- Identify what needs to be tested across the board quickly, and share observations and metrics that help add required value.
- Implement required best practices using well researched and scenario-specific tools that will speed up the process and help teams focus on other important activities.
- Keep working on the improvements so as to generate better ROI and establish an atmosphere of quality across the board.
WHAT VALUE SHOULD A COE PROVIDE TO YOUR BUSINESS?
A testing center of excellence (TCoE) is a framework where testing is maintained as a centralized service and shared across the organization. A well-oiled CoE should provide many valuable benefits to your business. To name but a few:
- Guidance & Training By sharing their expertise with everyone else in the business, from new recruits to non-technical business users, everyone can benefit from increased understanding.
- Best Practices The team should be promoting the right way to do things across the business, both technically and from a process perspective.
- News Updates on what’s new with the platform (and it’s competitors), important public announcements and any business-impacting items, such as bugs and support holidays.
- Championing & Advice New business streams often need advice and/or encouragement when considering a platform change. Streamlining a business onto common platforms has obvious benefits, but can often face resistance from less forward-thinking departments.
- Governance Provide the guidance and have the autonomy to freely advise the business on the right way to invest time, money and resources to ensure results. They are the experts you’ve invested in, so listen to their advice!
Many enterprises have established testing centres of excellence to improve the release quality of the applications (or) products in production environment, deliver better business value to the internal customers of testing, improve the overall maturity of testing & optimize the testing costs across the enterprise. Unless the promised benefits are measured against the actual delivered benefits, the CIO/Head of Testing will not be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the TCoE. This framework can help the IT leadership in an enterprise to measure, showcase and in some cases figure out what needs to be done to really deliver the intended benefits of a testing center of excellence.
Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced, you came across in your life in the comments below.