Skills are key.
The need for digitalization continues to accelerate for companies requiring digital to reinvent themselves, in a global competition in remote-work.
This poses a real problem in a context where training mechanisms and human retraining capacities are limited.
It was hard enough to find good developers or testers. They must now master several business verticals and interact transversely.
We were able to discuss this topic during a QE Unit round table with:
- Iman Benlekehal, Quality Assurance specialist
- Farah Chabchoub Strategic Quality Driver
- Olivier Dennemont, Head of Tech Quality @ Manomano
- Jean-François Fresi, Digital Testing Practice Leader @ Ausy,
- Johann Gaggero, Head of Omnichannel QA @ LVMH
- Christophe Moustier, Consultant at Inetum, Agilitest Ambassador, author of the card game “Agility Maturity Cards”, “Le Test en mode Agile” and “Conducting agile tests for SAFe and LeSS”
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What problems are we trying to solve?
The industrial age can make us nostalgic: answer a few letters a day following a growth plan for the next 5 years.
We are now facing accelerated global competition that is regularly disrupted by shorter innovation cycles.
Survival depends on organizations’ ability to quickly capture economies of speed and scale.
Technology must be an integral part of businesses to achieve short cycles of continuous adaptation of their value proposition.
Businesses need teams that collaborate quickly at scale to create value-added digital offerings for their users.
The existing dynamics are not sufficient
Many initial trainings are today obsolete in an ecosystem in constant evolution.
The mechanisms are slowly changing towards continuing training, at the earliest through work-study and continuous training for people who are already active.
More disruptive solutions are needed when such a demand for profiles cannot be met: reconversion and upskiling.
Reconversion seems an obvious solution because many profiles are trained in jobs without exits, while other sectors suffer from shortages.
However, we have been unable to achieve this transformation to date for various reasons outside the scope of this article.
We rely on initiatives such as e-learning, bootcamps, private schools, mentoring and coaching.
What skills are we ultimately looking for?
Our discussion led us to clarify the need for soft skills beyond hard skills that are more easily acquired and quickly obsolete.
The digital world supported by technology does not necessarily require being an expert in all programming languages or frameworks.
Profiles who know how to reach out to others, act in areas of discomfort, and are curious allow them to adapt continuously in a changing ecosystem.
Foundations are of course necessary to carry out certain specific tasks, but the complementarity of skills is necessary to accelerate.
This is the concept of T-shape that Christophe reminded us of. For example, an automation profile capable of interacting with the product and automating processes.
This T-shape also has the tendency to become a rake for profiles needing to master several business verticals.
The first challenge is to attract to create the ecosystem
The war for talent offers more choices for good profiles who will not be bored staying in an unattractive context.
Quality Engineering leaders are therefore responsible for the attractiveness of the proposed context and the teams in place.
Addressing our organizational debt is therefore a priority to attract.
You have to know how to detect and develop internal leaders, who know how to take the lead and have an impact, regardless of their hierarchical level.
The implication is also to know how to separate from profiles that lack alignment with the mission and the values necessary for our transformations.
A house that is cleaned is much more welcoming to our guests; it is therefore our responsibility to make it a reality in order to recruit.
The second challenge is to extend the dynamic through culture
I remember Pedro Oliveira: “Small Teams, Big Dreams”. It is indeed an internal heart that makes it possible to impel the change.
Extending the dynamics of value creation will require replicating the desired behaviors by continuously achieving and defending them.
It is here that the actors must know how to create a culture of Quality Engineering.
We were able to identify several actionable practices:
- Ensure a shared mission aligned with the business by establishing regular sharing at all levels, through the Shift-Up exchanged by Iman;
- Systematize the interaction with the teams in connection with the end customer, shared by Farah and Johann in the contexts of start-ups, scale-ups and large groups;
- Identify talents with potential and compose teams in X-teams, allowing to iterate in context, by Christophe and Iman;
- Energize and support communities of practice, allowing to share good practices and break down silos, by Iman and Olivier;
- Continuously measure the outputs to the outcomes to maintain a link to the why and a focus on the achievement of results, by Antoine;
- Set up a dynamic of sharing and communication in order to promote the implementation of soft skills, by Farah and Jean-François.
The systematic animation of the ecosystem will materialize an organizational identity to be extended, recognizable by its Ethos (thanks once again to Christophe;)).
Supporting such a dynamic of continuous improvement through soft skills will support the acquisition of hard skills.
A continuous force necessary for Quality Engineering
We expected to talk about the acquisition of skills in automation, testing or product management. That’s actually not the point.
This sharing led us to consider the creation and animation of a Quality Engineering through skills soft as the subject to be addressed.
This means rethinking the development of internal and external talent as the ecosystem tries to simplify technology and train profiles.
Coaching and sharing on concrete and continuous cases is also one of the needs strongly raised by the actors of Quality Engineering.
Accelerating requires knowing how to identify talents, giving them a chance by ensuring their development and retention in a favorable ecosystem.
Our job is to make it a reality.