The 14th annual World Quality Report 2022-23 has just been released. Sponsored by Micro Focus, Capgemini, and Sogeti, the yearly survey is seen as the barometer of software quality and testing. This year’s World Quality Report had 1750 participants from 32 countries covering 10 sectors.
The Report covers 7 main themes:
- Quality Orchestration in Agile Enterprises
- Quality Automation
- Quality Infrastructure Testing and Provisioning
- Test data provisioning and Data Validation
- Quality and Sustainable Information Technology
- Quality Engineering for Emerging Technologies
- Value Stream management
3 Emerging Trends according to the World Quality Report
1. There is an increased need for a blend of technical and cross-functional skills
Agile quality assurance is vital to the two most important objectives of agile development: ensuring excellent customer experience and business outcomes.
Cross-functional skills and business domain knowledge ranked as the top skills required when executing a successful agile development program, above CI//CD and automation skills and development or programming skills. This is a continuation of a trend seen in the past, where business priorities ranked first at 52% in 2021, up from 41% in 2020.
This need for business domain knowledge ties in with another emerging trend, value stream management. Insight into the business is key in mapping out value metrics to measure the quality effort against. Quality engineers now need to understand the business and what it sees as adding value when crafting a QA strategy. Mere technical expertise is no longer sufficient to meet the expectations of business in terms of quality and test activities.
2. The role of quality in value stream management
Up until recently, the value that software development, and by extension software quality, brings was visible only to CIOs, IT professionals or developers. This is no longer the case: executive leadership is acknowledging the importance of software to ensure that value is delivered. Assuring and ensuring that the software development process delivers the expected value to the business is a key function of software quality and testing.
Every year, the World Quality Report gauges what organisations expect from the quality and test function. This year, business assurance and ensuring end-user satisfaction were tied as the most important objectives.
Respondents were asked to identify the top three most important focus areas for bringing value to their organisation. Brand image, reliability, and customer retention ranked highest.
To quote the authors:
‘Of course, the outcome of this question will differ greatly from one organisation to the next. We think it is imperative to ask this question in your organisation so that expectations are clear.’
Setting expectations and key target values are crucial to value stream mapping, an approach that 60% of respondents claim to use almost every time. This lean process analyses the current state of the material and information flow process through to the delivery to the customer.
The use of quality engineering principles to improve each stream came out tops when respondents were asked to list the most important principles used to manage their current value streams. This indicates a clear link between value stream mapping and quality engineering. Quality and test results should be connected and related to concrete and measurable value indicators as defined for each project.
3. The quest for sustainability in IT through quality
The idea of sustainable computing has existed for decades. More and more organisations are realising the importance of their impact on the environment and society at large. The function of quality to achieve sustainable IT is still nebulous. Less than three-quarters of surveyed companies (72%) view quality as a contributor to sustainable IT. The authors note:
‘If organisations want to be environmentally sustainable, they need to learn to use available resources optimally. A stronger strategic focus on quality is the way to achieve that.’
World Quality Report: It’s about business and sustainability
Agile development and digital transformation continue to steer investment in IT. At the crux of quality engineering lies the understanding of the benefit of the IT solution to its end users, and if it achieves valuable outcomes for business.
Customer experience, time to market, security and cost continue to be the core objectives of quality assurance.
Increasingly there is a focus on sustainability to achieve these objectives. The qualities of such sustainable applications and the measurement thereof are still nebulous but will develop over time. With environmental consciousness being front-of-mind for so many consumers it has become a strategic imperative.
Business objectives are no longer a separate stream from quality assurance in an Agile world. QA strategies should now take business objectives into account and make them visible to ensure that expectations are met, and end users get maximal benefit.
Download the full World Quality Report 2022-23.
Watch the on-demand recording of the Top Takeaways of the World Quality Report 2022-23 panel discussion.