How to be creative when quality is king. A digital agency dilemma.
We have worked with many digital agencies over the years and along the way, we have discovered common delivery challenges with Quality Assurance at the heart of them. We thought we would share our experiences with you, so the next time you release a must-have application, creativity is not impacted by quality constraints or issues.
Let’s set the scene, your account manager has sold the killer ‘application’, promising your client an immersive 360 degree experience that no human being can resist. Increased brand awareness, greater target audience penetration and more sales are all but guaranteed. However, come launch, somewhere along the line the design team have forgotten to tell your technical people that the UX journey has changed. The development process has only tested at unit level, and it fails in terms of both functionality and your client expectations.
Let’s face it, the race to innovate amongst digital agencies and become full-service, multi-channel disruptors often results in some tough hiring decisions and a fine balancing act when it comes to budgets.
Agencies are lean, mean, creative machines, right? Do you hire a ‘Head of Interactive Production’? A swathe of talented UX designers? What about iOS and Android developers? In our experience, agencies rarely hire dedicated QA teams and the activity of ensuring quality, i.e. testing often becomes the activity of all team members and very often it doesn’t get done at all, or things like late changes fall through the gaps.
This is often lamented by technical teams under pressure to meet a delivery date. With no dedicated QA resources, how do you test an application that is subject to last minute changes without impacting on creativity and the quality of the user experience? We would say, why should you forsake creativity? After all, that’s what sets you apart from the next digital agency.
This leads us on to a question we would encourage all organisations to ask when weighing up risk to a project’s success.
Is time spent planning quality considerations earlier in the process, better value than throwing resources at a project last-minute to catch-up? Sometimes, you may just need to do both!
Based on our experience, building quality earlier in the process has tangible business benefits downstream – namely, delivering better quality software faster, with greater efficiency and reduced risk come launch-time. This also enables your teams to focus on finessing the user experience, rather than fire-fighting last minute regression bugs just to meet the customer demand.
“That’s great, but we have limited budget, who is going to cover the cost of testing?” you may ask.
Whether you are a mobile agency or disruptive digital innovator, cross charging clients for isolated testing projects is standard practice, after all, it is in everyone’s interest to achieve a fantastic user experience. However, despite the best of intentions, testing often morphs from building in quality from the outset, to last minute “does it break?” and that is before we consider testing local environment considerations, or integration with other platforms. Who pays for this testing?
To add to the agency dilemma, testing is often only required for short-sharp bursts of activity, so hiring permanent teams is not always practical (or cost effective) and yet, what experienced contractor will look at a contract which only promises a few weeks work versus a longer-term engagement? A higher rate on offer may sway things back in the agencies favour but this kills any profit margin the agency has on the work itself.
Throwing quality over the fence, somebody else will pick it up, not enough time, not factoring impact of QA early enough, who pays for it?
What’s the solution?
In the long term, a good place to start is with Test Automation and adopting best practices around DevOps to improve overall test coverage, reduce waste and increase speed of delivery, but in the real-world this takes time and money to implement a robust solution – and in the digital agency world, time and money are a luxury we often don’t have.
At Accelerate QA, we believe every organisation can deliver quality software faster and sometimes to achieve this, an injection of professional testing resources is just the adrenaline shot a project needs…without resorting to expensive contractors or the time consuming task of building permanent teams.
We provide a number of digital agencies and disruptors with pop-up, fully managed QA teams that can be deployed on-demand, onsite or offsite to suit, which can be ramped up as quickly as they can be stood down…at a fraction of the cost of traditional contract hires.
You can have your own dedicated QA team for a number of days or weeks without any obligation beyond the time you need them.
Our ‘Accelerate On Demand’ testing specialists naturally complement our other services around automation and process improvement and provide organisations an independent, honest and experiential view of their applications. We can test anything and everything and we specialise in Mobile, AR, VR, Connected Devices and IoT applications. We even test in multiple languages, from French to Chinese.
Practical, straightforward resource solutions, simply done better.
We would love to hear about your experiences of digital delivery and the impact of QA, how does this compare with ours?
Oh, and if you want to hear about our ‘pop up’ teams for those testing peaks then drop us a line!
Thanks for reading!