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From a different perspective | Insights
3 December, 2022

Does the World Quality Report Speak to You?

Micro Focus, Capgemini and Sogeti released the 14th edition of the World Quality Report recently. In addition to the main report, the team also released a number of region-specific reports, including this UK-focused report.

I am an enterprise software professional with over 3 decades of experience and regular, direct contact with many UK businesses of all shapes and sizes.

3 Claims Made in This Year’s WQR 

In this post, I consider the following claims in this year’s WQR UK-focused report:

Claim 1: UK businesses are less concerned with speed in 2022/23

Claim 2: UK businesses are more comfortable with AI & ML

Claim 3: Quality is Seen as Everyone’s Responsibility

What is the World Quality Report

The World Quality Report (WQR) analyses responses from over 1,750 executives and professionals – from the C suite to QA testing managers and quality engineers—across 32 countries and 10 industry sectors.

Whenever I discuss the WQR I also like to mention the context in which it was written.

That is, the 2 consultancies involved in its creation are primarily concerned with big businesses. Furthermore, I believe, the conversations they have are predominantly at a very high level – often with the c-suite. I’m sure they do have conversations with managers and engineers as well, but they don’t appear to form the bulk of the responses.

However, notwithstanding that, the World Quality Report is often a good indicator of coming trends and general sentiment.

Claim 1: UK Businesses Less Concerned with Speed in 2022/23

The WQR UK Report summary states that:

“Last year, the emphasis was on quality at speed, and the use of smart tools was something that appealed to organizations in principle, if not in practice.

This year, the focus is on quality as a business-driven goal, and businesses are much more comfortable with trying new approaches involving the use of AI, ML, and synthetic data.”

The WQR also states that:

“This year, even though the challenges to the economy are growing, we feel the sense of urgency has reduced”

My Opinion: This initial claim does not ring true based on my experience.

Amongst the people I speak to, the drive to complete testing at speed is as strong as ever. I rarely speak to anyone in the testing space who does not feel under time pressure.

The idea that people are under less time pressure may be due to who’s being interviewed. It’s quite possible that the executive-level interviewees don’t fully appreciate the workload and effort required to constantly deliver high-quality solutions and hit deadlines.

That being said, the wider adoption of AI and ML is certainly helping those facing time pressures. As we’ll discuss below, recent advancements in test tooling can quickly accelerate mundane tasks, help you hit deadlines, and make your life a lot easier.

Claim 2: UK Businesses are More Comfortable with AI & ML

The WQR UK Report mentions that:

Organizations are keen to progress and try new things. For instance, we see a greater appetite for analytics, and in particular for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in risk-based testing and test automation.”

My Opinion: This is something that I do see, and it is linked to the point I made above.

Companies are increasingly looking to leverage AI and ML to increase speed to market, and reduce manual overheads.

Of course, risk-based testing and test automation are nothing new, but the technology that powers automation tools is significantly more robust.

A lot of people were burned by flaky automation in the late 90s and early years of the 21st century.

Many of us saw projects invest heavily in automation but fail to reap the rewards.

However, things have moved on leaps and bounds since those days.

Think about it, when was the last time you saw an automation project fail?

Businesses are much more comfortable with AI and ML because they have proven to be effective time and time again. It’s increasingly difficult to hit your goals and go-live dates, without them.

Claim 3: Quality is Seen as Everyone’s Responsibility

The WQR UK Report states that:

“In our experience, now more than ever, people in quality assurance and testing have pushed hard to ensure that quality is regarded as everyone’s responsibility. There is a consensus to ensure that every voice is heard, and collaboration within and between teams is an essential element in its chances of success”

My Opinion: Interestingly, this is something I rarely discuss with my connections, so I ran the following poll to get their opinions:

‘Testing is seen as everyone’s responsibility’ has the most votes, but it’s probably less of a reality than this poll suggests.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but I blame my ambiguous wording for the confusion.

Notwithstanding that, the 34% who ticked ‘In theory, not in practice’ is a very significant number.

My instinct tells me this is a more realistic reflection of what is going on in the UK, and probably globally. Let me know if you agree.

What we can definitively say though, is that only 6% of those polled thought that testing was the responsibility of testers alone.

The vast majority of responders recognise that quality is, or at least should be everyone’s responsibility.

Another interesting takeaway is that 90% of the responders were testers.

I wonder if every non-tester shares this view, or is empowered with the tools, approaches and authority to make tough quality decisions on a project. Or, like everyone else, are software engineers under so much time pressure that they just want to get things over the line and move on to the next task?

Test management tools can help here.

They are an easy way for people to view quality and take action. They open quality out to the whole project, and crucially, they let anyone raise defects at any point in the SDLC – from requirements onwards

Conclusion

The WQR always throws up discussion points.

I do think the WQR has got it wrong about the time pressures facing testers and businesses. Although I agree with them that a) companies are looking to AI and ML to solve time and quality issues and b) that testing is seen as everyone’s responsibility. As Meat Loaf would say, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad! 

My overall conclusion is that processes and tools are more important than ever. They give structure and consistency, eliminate many manual tasks and allow testing at speed, whilst giving greater traceability and visibility.

The only way to increase quality, and accelerate projects, is to do things smarter. I once read that a good leader spends 10% of their time on strategy and looking ahead.

My recommendation is to force yourself to take time out of your busy schedule and look at what is available to help.  

There are many affordable, game-changing tools out there that will make your life easier. Get in touch with me if you need help finding them.

Stephen Davis
by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is the founder of Calleo Software, a OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) Gold Partner. His passion is to help test professionals improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software testing.

To view Stephen's LinkedIn profile and connect 

Stephen Davis LinkedIn profile

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