Quality Assurance Plays a Big Role in Remote Work Strategies

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Posted by Brian Borg

What a difference a few months makes. Until recently, remote work programs made up a small part of the work force for most organizations. Select positions such as sales people, project managers or specialized tech support were a natural fit for remote work strategies. Some companies gave employees the option to work from home one day a week as a perk or incentive to improve company retention rates. Even those companies that embraced remote work strategies only implemented it on a small scale.

And then suddenly, everything changed seemingly overnight. . .

For many companies, remote work went from proof of concept to full implementation in a matter of days (see some statistics here). What started as a reactionary measure to a global pandemic now seems to be transforming into a permanent trend and maybe even a new paradigm.

Corporations Embracing Remote Work

“Putting 7,000 people in a building may be thing of the past,” says Barclays CEO, Jes Staley. Staley is but one of many CEOs that seem to be embracing the idea of cementing remote work strategies. Another example of this permanent transition is Nationwide Insurance who is currently managing a 90 percent work-from-home model. The company announced that their hybrid work model is such a success that is plans to close all but 4 of its corporate offices nationwide. Clearly the idea of continuing existing remote work strategies is more than mere talk. What the current health crisis showed us is that concentrating personnel in a dense environment becomes a point of vulnerability. By moving users to remote workspaces, companies can vastly reduce their risk exposure to disruptions such as pandemics and future threats we cannot even begin to predict.

What do QA and Densification Strategies have in Common?

Densification is a buzzword you are going to hear a lot about in the coming year and beyond. Just as 911 and the 2008 housing crisis brought about sweeping changes to air travel protocols and banking reforms, so will the recent pandemic crisis. The current crisis will alter how we look at human capacity through densification analysis, securitizing traditional office formats. The reason is simple - business cannot afford another disruption of this magnitude and scale. In the same way that network architects have gone to great lengths to design redundant resiliency in order to eliminate vulnerable points of failure within their IT enterprises, company leadership will redesign its personnel architecture as well. The practice of clustering large concentrations of employees in a single location will be replaced. New hybrid work models will incorporate mesh architectures that will eliminate corporate office bottlenecks and reduce the risk disruption.

Software development has undergone transformational change over the years in an attempt to reduce costly disruptions regarding software release dates and customer implementation. Just as companies were forced to rush employees out the door to their homes months ago to keep them safe, development teams are continually under pressure to get new applications and product features to market quickly to stay competitive. Fast turnarounds can result in hasty mistakes however. It takes no time to go back and correct even small bugs or modify user interfaces that do not optimally follow work flow patterns. Rigorous testing plays a key role in eliminating disruptions for time condensed development projects.

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Why QA is More Relevant than Ever

A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey shows that over 25% of tech sector workers prefer permanent remote work. This includes software developers, which means that your organization must consider how remote work strategies will impact future development endeavors.

Software collaboration applications such as Teams and Zoom have become essential tools today in order to ensure that team members can continue to work cohesively with one another. These tools however are not a complete replacement for onsite access to one another. Communication is critically important for Agile based methodologies in which assignments are reduced to sprints. Developers must communicate with a variety of stake holders including business leaders, operational staff, management and customers. To be successful, agile development requires a casual and direct form of communication that keeps everyone on the same page. In order to be successful, agile methodologies require frequent communication.

The slightest reduction in communication flows can affect the quality and efficiency of coding. Automated testing is an ideal way to ensure that lapses in communication flows doesn’t result in code shortcomings. Automated testing relieves developers from the mundane ritual of testing code on a perpetual basis. This results in a number of benefits:

  • Reduced costs – Eliminating the human cost of regression testing slashes the cost of assessment and quality control. Reducing the associated costs will promote and stimulate more testing, which contributes to better code.
  • Increased efficiency – AI enabled machines can perform testing tests a million times without any deviation to routine or neglect of detail
  • Greater reliability - Outcomes and outputs are no longer predicted, but confirmed.

Manual Testing Plays a Part as Well

Every software application started with an idea, an “aha moment”. The successful fruition of an idea transforming into software code requires developers to communicate with those who envisioned the product and those to whom it will serve and bring value. While automated testing is ideal for finding bugs and calculative errors, it cannot test functionality. Utilizing a manual testing expert can help keep the project focused on what began as a clear-cut idea. Manual testing can seek out gaps and inconsistencies within the application thus far as well as execute each and every test case to ensure the application performs as it should.

How OnPath Testing can help

At OnPath Testing, we understand the challenges that development teams face in this new remote work paradigm. Our proven testing methodologies provide web and mobile software developers quality assurance and peace of mind. Because we work with so many different industry types and technology formats, we have a wide breadth of experience that can bring added perspective and value. Working remotely doesn’t mean isolation. With OnPath Testing, our testing services can provide support for your developers regardless of location.

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