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Why Quality Is Now Aligned With Development at the Outset of Projects

Alison Hawke, Director of Quality Advocacy with WWT, authored an article for Quality Digest discussing the presence of quality advocacy in every step in the software development process.

Alison Hawke, Director of Quality Advocacy with WWT, authored an article for Quality Digest discussing the presence of quality advocacy in every step in the software development process. Alison coordinates a team of more than 40 QA people throughout the company, helping to mentor and train new hires who join the company.

Posted by Quality Digest on September 27, 2018:

Historically, quality in a process was something that was done at the end of the line. You inspected your widget once it was made, and if it had flaws, you fixed it or threw it out.

As in many modern manufacturing environments, quality in software has become a process you do from start to finish. Moving from that end-of-line quality control mindset to a more user-focused, whole-team quality advocacy helps deliver a better product where quality is baked in from the start, and part of the job of all roles on a software team.

Quality advocates start on the first day of a software development project and are now part of the development process from idea to final deployment. With the strengthened emphasis on quality, the title for quality professionals has rightly been designated as “advocacy” to display that someone is working hard, from conception to shipment, and is determined that a software development team will deliver a superior quality product or solution for the customer.

In other words, quality advocacy is now more of a broad-ranging activity.

This allows quality advocates to think about the end user early in the process, and how he or she will use the product, app, or website that is being developed. To help with this, quality advocates use various tools to help understand the end user. One tool is the test persona.

Test personas help identify factors such as, “Are they a farmer with big hands in the middle of a field in bright sunlight with no Wi-Fi?” “Are they a healthcare provider in a dimly lit corridor of a hospital in the middle of the night?” These personas bring quality advocates closer to the end user and help us figure out the highest priorities of the client we’re working with.

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