Too many businesses believe that their digital business strategy is actually a roadmap, or a series of IT projects. Being digital is a capability – in your business it impacts the culture, metrics, organization, skills, and finally – the technology.
As a CIO, one of the most important roles you’ll play is helping to make the business FAST – removing friction points from processes and enabling new capabilities to be developed as required by the customer, partners, and business stakeholders. Too often technology is one of the (many!) bottlenecks in our ability to quickly meet customer needs or respond to changing or new competitive threats.
I recently had the chance to spend some time with some senior technology leaders in Sydney discussing the need for quality when delivering digital business outcomes. With the growing need for speed, many businesses sacrifice quality for speed. This is ok – to an extent – but there are also many companies with their own horror stories of delivering a mobile app that is unstable, a website that is slow, or a connected/smart product that doesn’t work as planned. It can take years to recover from negative feedback and bad mobile app ratings, and poor products can cost millions in ongoing customer support.
Unfortunately, QA and Testing have too often been afterthoughts in the rush to Agile development. Your Quality Assurance and Testing practices must adapt to digital business too – testing needs to be able to accelerate development – not slow it down. QA needs to focus on customer needs. The QA team needs to speak the language of the customer, get involved with new technology projects at the ideation stage, line up and manage test data before it is required, and empower developers to do much of the testing themselves. 
Like every other group in the company, your QA team needs a new culture, new metrics, new skills, new structure, and new technology. Some companies are using external firms to help drive this change, while others are making the transformation themselves. Either way, focus on five changes to deliver speed without sacrificing quality:
  1. Organise testing in a lean way
  2. Use shift-left and shift-right testing
  3. Build a practice for testing skills
  4. Reduce manual testing in favor of automation
  5. Automate test data and environments provisioning
Forrester clients can find more information on how to modernize your QA practice by reading the report: Five Must-Do's For Testing Quality At Speed
Have you seen your testing practice slow down your ability to deliver great customer experiences? Are you making these changes in your business? What is your attitude towards quality in the digital era? And what priority is given to QA in your technology team in driving digital transformation? Let me know your thoughts below – and we’ll keep the conversation going.