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Do we really need QA department?

I have been running business for the past 11 odd years and went through many different phases where I felt QA department is a must and now I am at a stage where I have realized that it’s actually not needed. Let’s first understand the whole scenario.

There was a phase when our company was on rapid growth path, many projects in hand, many bugs in hand as well. So basically, I was in a situation where I felt, the projects are getting delayed due to too many bugs and client has to spend time in testing bugs and get back to us with bug list. Which was unfair and I really did not like that.

That’s when I thought, let’s hire a QA guy and see if it helps us or not. My imagination of the QA guy was like a soldier who would kill all the enemies quickly and make the king happy.

Well, that was kind of true. It worked really well for smaller projects. I was happy, developers were happy. clients were happy.

As it worked out, decided to hire few more to offload the work from one guy’s shoulder and within few months, I had a QA team of around 7-8 team members including a team leader.

Like earlier, I was liking this team, the soldiers with shining armor who would kill the enemies very quickly. But then came larger and complicated projects, obviously these guys came handy at that time too but it took more time than expected. Multiple testing rounds, back and forth with developers. Gradually, the modules kept going in loop of development, testing and bug fixing. This delayed the projects.

Apart from this, a new type of problem started. “Who will take the responsibility for the bugs?” According to QA, the developers did not do the job properly and according to developers, QA guys did not understand the scope properly.

We made few changes in our internal flow to overcome this but what I realized was, no matter how much you explain to QA guys, their understanding is not going to be as clear as the ones who have developed it.

But this was late realization. This was actually the worst time for me. Developers and QA both were working like dumb robots, modules got stuck in QA for 1-2 weeks and this was affecting the projects.

Gradually, I reduced the size of QA team and decided to give this responsibility to the developers. I did not work well with few of them so I had to perform a clean up job there too. Basically the ones who wanted to work like a robot without thinking of business logic were cleaned up.

The remaining guys did the job fairly well, obviously there were hiccups in the start but hey, I never expected a smooth ride.

I won’y say it was a 100% successful experiment but I am on the way to make it perfect.

So to summarize this:

Take time in hiring the developers, keep tough tests and filter out. Currently more than 90% of the developers are used to working in environment where they have to work on the given task without thinking about the business logic. Skip those guys. It will be difficult to find such guys but definitely not impossible.

Note: This kind of problem is mostly faced in Startups or SMEs. Larger companies generally prefer dividing everything in fragments between large number of developers / testers where you really don’t need to understand the business logic. But this process will be costly and would require more manpower. I really don’t think it’s a good idea for Startups or SMEs to follow that process.

 

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