Quality is a key metric by which a Customer evaluates the overall success for a project…which is why in a well-planned project the Project Team tries to capture the Customer's standards and expectations through the project Scope & Charter and other supplemental documents (e.g. BRDs, BUCs, Story Cards, etc.). The catch-phrase for this process is "requirements gathering," and when done correctly it can serve as the foundational basis for a mutual agreement between the Customer and the Project Team during the lifespan of a project.
One of the key benefits to capturing the Customer's requirements is the ability to determine how to appropriately implement QA and UAT coverage to preserve and maintain the overall output quality. If you're unfamiliar with these terms, here's a quick review:
- Quality Assurance (QA) is the systematic process of checking to see whether a product or service being developed is meeting the specified requirements. QA testing is performed by specialists (testers, analysts), and the focus is to conform the system to a set of requirements detailing the system behavior.
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a systematic process by which an organization verifies the quality of a system or product through a series of test cases based on the validation of real-world, end-user scenarios in order to confirm that a product or system is functional and ready for business use. UAT testing is performed by the subject matter expert (SME) or the business user testing the system in order to determine if it is fit for use.
The primary goal of QA and UAT is to oversee and maintain the quality/integrity of the project. As stated above, QA is primarily focused on requirement adherence, while UAT is primarily focused on the end-user experience. Together, these two functions can provide a significant increase to a project's quality level, even under a rigorous deployment schedule.
It's also worth noting that "dedicated" QA and UAT may not be necessary for every project. For example, the QA and UAT tasks on smaller projects could potentially be assigned to team members within the Project Team (vs. bringing in dedicated QA and UAT testers). Nevertheless, even with smaller projects it's generally a good idea to reach out to the QA and UAT leads during the planning phase to determine the appropriate level of QA/UAT involvement required by the project. Some projects will require little-to-no QA/UAT involvement, while others will require full-time testing teams consisting of multiple testers.
At the end of the day it's the Project Team who is responsible to determine how to utilize and incorporate QA/UAT testing into a project. The key point to takeaway is that QA and UAT are separate and distinctive methods for providing quality control that can be leveraged to help meet the Customer's project requirements and quality expectations. Knowing this will help the Project Team determine whether QA and UAT testing should be managed within the project team (i.e. by the existing team members) or whether dedicated testing and QA/UAT oversight is required.
It's all boils down to what the Project Team delivers to the Customer. The question that needs to be asked is this: "Is this what they wanted?"
By: Ben Harris
Posted by admin