The link between production and go-live, Quality can be a powerful driver of innovation. With a unique insight into end-user needs and expectations, Quality offers a distinct perspective on product innovation.
World-class Quality teams leverage 5 best practices to embed innovation into the fabric of their organization. These innovation accelerators include engaging and developing your QA team, fostering a culture of deep work, and harnessing the power of change management.
These are the top 5 tips to power innovation with your QA team:
1. Business Alignment
There are two phases of aligning with business: Planning & Continuous. Planning includes aligning on a vision, establishing goals, determining the budget, and prioritizing projects.
The second phase is continuous, ongoing relationship management. This phase represents the ongoing communication, trust, and collaboration that fosters an innovative environment.
2. Change Management
Innovation thrives in organizations where change is embraced and effectively managed.
How does your organization take an idea or concept and translate it into a product or service? If your organization is hesitant toward change, focus on these three change management components:
People: Developing a culture of embracing change and supporting novel ideas.
Process: Establishing the infrastructure to support change and implement new ideas.
Technology: Investing in the tools & technology to enable and support change.
3. People Engagement
Your team is THE key to innovation. Their dreams, ideas, hacks - these are the golden nuggets that fuel innovation.
The question is then, how do you create the ideal environment to brew these ideas and give them the room to percolate?
We think about this through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - applied to software developers and testers.
- Foundation: Make sure your team has the tools, equipment, and training to do their job.
- Growth: Provide the support and environment for your team to achieve deep work. Develop a culture where your software testers and developers have long periods of uninterrupted time to work, with the right equipment - i.e. SSD, 16GB RAM, two monitors, a comfortable keyboard, mouse, desk, & chair.
Innovation: Create a big vision and align your team toward big audacious goals -- and see what ideas spark.
4. Technology Maximization
From brainstorming to implementation, technology is a critical component of innovation. Our favorite tools for innovation include:
- Jam Board: This tool allows us to have virtual brainstorming sessions - the closest thing to a whiteboard session we’ve found.
- Jira: Jira is our go-to for project/sprint planning.
- Slack: Slack allows our team to chat throughout the day - it’s casual enough for quick chats and gets questions quickly answered to keep the momentum going.
- SharePoint: Documentation is an unsung hero of innovation. Keeping track of all those great ideas and running scenarios and tracking the outcomes is essential.
- Jenkins: This automation tool frees our software testers and developers to create and innovate - instead of manual testing.
5. Process Optimization
Remember MacGyver - the genius at short term, makeshift solutions to get out of a jam? His solutions always worked. But they were temporary fixes - just enough to get him out of dodge.
Process optimization is taking those initial processes and tweaking them to maximum efficiency. This investment empowers your team to work more efficiently and dedicate more time and space to innovate.
Innovation Best Practices
In addition to the points above, we’ve found that these 4 innovation best practices further enhance a culture of innovation:
- Safe space: Create a culture where sharing new ideas is welcomed.
- Individual: Create opportunities for sharing at the individual level.
- Brainstorming: Hold dedicated brainstorming sessions.
- Design Thinking: Leverage design thinking techniques, personas.
Want to learn more?
Our team would love to talk to your team about innovation best practices.
Michael Faulise is the Founder and Managing Partner at tap|QA, a global company that specializes in software testing services and solutions for businesses. Michael focuses on sales and delivery where he consults with clients in the areas of software development, automation, quality assurance and testing, technology and process training, and process improvement. In 25+ years of industry experience, he has seen software development evolve along multiple paths of various methodologies but has found quality has remained essentially constant.
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