Organizational charts aren’t just a great idea for companies as a whole, they can be effectively deployed in individual departments as well. One department that often badly needs resources to understand team and project structure is quality assurance. Quality assurance departments are often broken down into several smaller teams. In big companies, there may be dozens. Each may handle their own projects, or work in tandem with other teams on their respective portions. Often, this fracturing leads to breakdowns in communication and organization that can have a lasting negative effect on the project and team morale.
Software quality assurance (SQA) teams often spend a lot of time communicating and dealing with bureaucracy rather than testing. According to a study from IBM, 35% of software testers spend less than half of their time on testing. That isn’t for a lack of trying, either. Over one-third of software testers in an Electric Cloud survey said that they believed their company required more pre-release testing prior to launch. Quality assurance efficiency should be a primary concern for any QA manager.
There are many strategies that can help an SQA team improve efficiency. At Organimi, we recommend that SQA teams consider distributing org charts to improve communication and encourage collaboration. They also provide insight into structure and help managers analyze workflow between teams. Without an org chart, you’ll find that employees spend an untenable amount of time searching for information, managing emails, and figuring out the appropriate person to contact about specific problems.
Understand How SQA Departments are Structured
SQA teams often have a lot of turnover. Testers will switch from one team to another. New employees are onboarded. Projects are often changed or completely re-organized. It is important that you give your employees resources that provide an understanding of how the department, on the whole, is structured. This helps them make effective decisions that benefit the team as a whole.
Having a top-down view of all SQA teams can help managers make effective decisions when delegating tasks. Quality assurance efficiency often requires a more nuanced view than simply looking at data, but they do require a point in the right direction. As projects change, the teams executing them will shift and change as well. It’s important to have an updated org chart that makes these changes available to those who disseminate information.
Improve Communication Between Teams
Quality assurance departments, particularly in software development, often have multiple teams working on different areas of the same project. But, that doesn’t mean that a bug identified by one team wouldn’t be pertinent to another. Often, quality assurance teams working on different aspects of the same project share information and resources between one another. Org charts give your teams the ability to quickly identify the most pertinent stakeholders for issues and ensure that communication is quick and painless. Software quality assurance efficiency requires crisp communication in a fast-paced environment.
Get a Bird’s Eye-View on Project Delegation
Quality assurance in big software projects require the execution of many small complicated tasks. Teams are often responsible for working through the same features repeatedly to identify issues and bugs. Schedules are often fluid, with changing priorities as the project crawls closer to completion.
Often, the original plans for a software development project have been thrown out the window or altered several times over before the project comes to a close. Evaluating the balance of work as a project goes on can be difficult in fast-paced environments. Managers are often required to move significant portions to other teams on short notice. While all companies have methods of tracking these changes, an org chart can provide a simple resource to help all members track broader project changes.
Using Organimi to create org charts and planning for software projects can be extremely helpful. It gives you a top-down picture of where the heaviest workloads are currently distributed. You can visually see where changes can be made to improve balance and ensure that each individual team is being used to their potential.
Identify Where QA Breakdowns Are Occurring
By using an org chart to create visual representations of your projects, you can also easily spot where breakdowns in the QA process are occurring. Is one team outperforming the others by a wide margin? Is a specific person bottle-necking the productivity of a certain group? Are specific areas of the project giving your teams trouble? This top-down view of your QA teams can help you to better understand how to use your resources effectively. An org chart can visualize these breakdowns and make the way to clear them up more easily identifiable.
Improve New Tester Onboarding and Integration
Although there are often a lot of similarities between software quality assurance teams at different companies, there are also many differences. There are an unending number of tools, strategies, and structures that can be employed in the testing process. Additionally, company culture can be completely different from one company to another. Often, startups have a much more laid back and modern environment compared to larger legacy organizations. This can make the task of getting familiar with a new team very difficult.
An organization chart for the software testing department gives new hires a strong tool for learning how to navigate within their new teams. It’s important that you give them the right resources too, as it plays a vital role in the success of your onboarding effort. According to Click Boarding, 69% of employees are likely to stay for three years if they experience a great onboarding process.
Org Charts Improve Quality Assurance Efficiency in Fast-Paced Environments
Software quality assurance and testing teams often work in a fast-paced environment. Every day dozens or hundreds of bugs may be discovered and sent down the pipeline to be fixed by the development teams. Larger teams are constantly shifting, moving skill sets to match project needs within the individual teams. For this reason, consistently updated organization charts are an important resource for all members. Making them available to your teams will give them more time to put their head down and create new tests, limiting time spent searching for information and managing email.
If you would like to create an org chart for your own SQA teams, sign up for Organimi today! Soon we will be launching version 5, which provides new features including better sharing options, improved flexibility, templates, and more options for exporting and sharing your org chart with your teams.