Nobody likes to be in a box.
By far, we are all “computer scientists”. Up close, we like to know if such a person is more of a “QA”, “Dev”, or “Ops”.
This helps us to identify the contours of a person but at the same time locks him into a predefined box.
However, we need transversality in Quality Engineering.
Organizations under continuous pressure to reinvent must accelerate the adaptation of their value proposition.
To do this, they need profiles capable of interacting across the software value chain with a capacity for rapid recomposition.
The round table “The challenges of skills for Quality Engineering” led us to discuss the necessary skills.
This article shares the multi-faceted need for Quality Engineers to achieve and maintain Quality at Speed.
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Organizations looking for malleable teams
Companies in digitalization need to quickly compose teams according to their experiments.
Far from the stereotype of agility where you change every day, cross-functional teams need stability to improve the value proposition.
It is therefore necessary to know how to initially train these teams, in order to then extend them according to the growth drivers found.
The X-teams is a model of teams having:
- A precise scope of action;
- Flexibility of resources both internally and externally;
- Distributed leadership within a collaborative ecosystem.
This organizational model is adapted to the challenges of digital where rapid adaptation makes it possible to capture savings of speed.
This type of structure requires high-level profiles.
Expertise is necessary but not sufficient
Digital professions are increasingly specialized: product expertise, automation, data engineering, data science, etc.
This verticalization is necessary for the implementation of competitive processes supported by technology.
However, each force has its counter-force.
We have all come across expert profiles who communicate better with their programming language than in their native language.
A single vertical competence is therefore not sufficient – hence the need for transversality of profiles.
The need to verticalize several skills
The concept of T-shape represents profiles with expertise and a capacity of cross-functional interaction.
These profiles have developed bridges between disciplines close to their core business allowing them to be more transversal.
Such actors make it possible to go faster.
This complementarity of skills in T-Shape is not the result of chance but of the combination of:
- Soft skills allowing continuous development;
- Curiosity to learn and reinvent oneself;
- Emotional intelligence to interact transversely;
- Leadership and influence, without necessarily a hierarchical link;
- Environment conducive to emulation and development.
The organizational ecosystem therefore makes the difference in attracting and developing such profiles.
This form of T also needs to evolve for Quality Engineers.
This is about multifaceted Quality Engineers
Quality Engineering requires constraining the software chain to the continuous delivery of value with speed and minimum complexity.
In a context of continuous improvement and uncertainty, it is necessary to succeed in composing teams to have skills across the entire software chain.
Our profiles must evolve from the “T” to that of a comb:
- T-Shape: an expert with knowledge in other fields.
- PI-Shape: expert in two areas and competent in other areas.
- Comb-Shape: expert in more than two areas and competent in others
The Comb-Shaped (ie “comb” in French) therefore describes individuals capable of acting across the value chain, like FullStack Developer.
The advantage of the model is to be able to develop profiles gradually by skills, instead of jumping too abruptly between scattered functions.
These are the multiple facets taken up by Blake Norrish in his article “Quality Engineer Learning Roadmap”.
Quality Engineers in continuous development
We are looking for profiles capable of dealing with several skills, without necessarily being the 5-legged sheep.
The need for business acceleration combined with the convergence of technologies requires to evolve for more skill mixes.
There is therefore not one, but several Quality Engineers.
The vision of a Quality Engineer is today as vague as speaking of a “computer specialist” – and with good reason – this denomination being a generalist.
Beyond the title, the skills developed over time will create the specific facets of a Quality Engineer to act transversely.
Quality Engineering guarantees us continuous renewal, and additional work in organization and HR descriptions.
Becoming a Quality Engineer requires several facets
By ending a debate, you open a new one.
Beyond the title of Quality Engineer, the subject is rather to prioritize the skills that one wishes to develop personally and in the organization.
Let’s hope that this evolution with fewer boxes will make it possible to better value people without them seeing themselves as an evolution than management.
Organizations also need profiles with good soft skills, able to learn continuously and contribute to the emulation of an organization.
Recruitment, training and support models also need to be changed to keep pace with Quality at Speed.
Ready to develop your Quality Engineer facets?
Deborah Ancona, Henrik Bresman, X-teams: How to Build Teams That Lead, Innovate and Succeed, 2007, Harvard Business School Press.
Yassi Moghaddam (Author), Haluk Demirkan (Author), Jim Spohrer (Author), T-Shaped Professionals: Adaptive Innovators, Business Experts Press
Blake Norrish, Quality Engineer Learning Roadmap, Slalom Build