The need for a Testing Center of Excellence (CoE) has been widely recognized in the software testing industry. The Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) is a centralized testing function within an organization that provides specialist testing services, expertise, processes, and tools. A CoE testing center can help organizations standardize and improve their testing processes, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their testing teams. The TCoE provides several organizational benefits, including improved quality, reduced costs, and improved efficiency. Establishing a test center of excellence has many benefits, but some challenges must also be considered. This blog post will discuss overcoming those challenges and establishing a successful CoE.
The CoE Testing center operates as a shared service and is typically organized into three main components: a Service Delivery team, a Test Centre team, and a Test Lab team. The Service Delivery team provides testing services to the business, the Test Centre team manages the test environment, and the Test Lab team provides testing tools and infrastructure.
When is a TCoE useful?
A Testing Centre of Excellence can be useful in several different situations. For example, if an organization struggles to align its IT and business goals, a TCoE can help. Or, if an organization wants to improve its software development process, a TCoE can again be helpful. In short, a Test Center of Excellence can be useful when an organization wants to improve its ability to develop and deploy software.
How to establish a TCoE?
There are many ways to establish a TCoE, but a few key components are essential for success. This team will be responsible for leading the TCoE and driving its initiatives.
- Define the challenges
Every company has its own set of challenges. Whether the challenges stem from the production team or the development team, you need to spell them out in a way that allows the TCoE to understand. This may help shorten processes and foster better communication between the testing and development teams.
- Identify who will govern
You must identify and assemble a team of talented individuals with a wide range of skills and experience. Then appoint a leader for this team. Some companies prefer to outsource it to an external company, while others like to employ an in-house team.
- Outline your TCoE roadmap.
Next, you need to define the goals and objectives of the TCoE and develop a roadmap for achieving these goals. After that, set a priorities list that ensures that your team is tackling the most important things first
- Define how this group will interact with other teams.
Your CoE testing center must master the art of giving instant feedback. Whether their work will be done well depends on the measurements for effective and uninterrupted interactions. Here are a few questions to answer to that effect. Is your team a fully remote one? If yes, is your entire team on a communication channel? Which information has to be run by the management first? Which information has to be communicated immediately, and which one has to wait until team meetings, weekly team lunches, and other internal events? The answer to these questions must be spelled out clearly to help create a clear path for interactions within the team.
- Document your current tools, KPIs, processes, and methodologies.
Tools, KPIs, processes, and methodologies are the core of every Testing Centre of Excellence and must be documented and shared with the rest of the team. Each team member needs to know what tools are at their disposal and what they need to achieve by a specific time. They need to know what processes to use to detect bugs and make recommendations to improve the software being worked on.
- Engage your teams to understand starting deficits.
There are some things you need to communicate with your team to ensure that wastage is minimal. One such thing is the starting deficits. Your team needs to understand that deficit can occur when expenses exceed revenues, imports exceed exports, or liabilities exceed assets. They need to understand how this directly impacts the resources of the company and how they are also affected by it.
- Communicate across your organization
"In teamwork, silence isn't golden. It's deadly." This quote from Mark Sanborn should not be taken lightly in teamwork. The success of your organization depends on whether information flows freely and on time. A workshop on communication is much needed for companies that suffer in this aspect. Many pitfalls can be avoided by simply communicating effectively.
The TCoE is responsible for managing the testing capability and ensuring that it meets the organization’s testing needs. The resources and costs will differ depending on your company's approach to implementation. For example, if you outsource this to an external organization, your costs might be more than working with the internal resources you dedicate to it. Here are a few considerations:
- The yearly salaries of the team. From the managers to the leads.
- The hardware needed to execute testing.
- The software and other tools that will be needed
- The cost of standardizing and purchase of documents needed for the running of the test center
TCoE Pros & Cons
While many testing organizations view the implementation of a Testing Centre of Excellence (TCoE) as a positive move to better serve their clients, they often need help to gain the benefits normally associated with it. These benefits can include the promotion of standardized testing practices, the consolidation of testing tools, the reduction in costs, the definition of testing boundaries, and the provision of specialized testing services.
- Decrease testing costs by over 10%, according to this case study.
- TCoEs continually Improve your processes and tools for testing.
- Testing centers are a way of constantly investing in your testers’ overall skills through training and innovation. This results in higher quality products for your customers.
- Standardizing tools across teams will save you more in the long run.
- Having a CoE testing center allows your company to progress quickly and easily.
- TCoEs ensure that all team members follow basic coding standards by having a defined automation framework. This prevents complexities in the future and ensures that any other coding team can continue working smoothly.
- Failure can occur easily if team members do not communicate effectively or are unprepared to handle a TCoE.
- TCoEs often complicate things in an organization. Sometimes when a team has more members and too many processes, things can become very complex. This can sometimes result in delays and frustration.
TCoE Stages of Evolution
The TCoE Stages of Evolution is a framework that outlines the journey that an organization takes as it progresses from ad-hoc test management to a more formal and standardized approach. The framework consists of four main stages: Pre-maturity, Maturity, Excellence, and Transformation. Each stage has its own set of challenges and benefits that an organization can expect to encounter.
- Pre-maturity is the first stage of the TCoE Stages of Evolution. In this stage, an organization is just beginning to formalize its testing processes. The main challenges in this stage are a need for more standardization and low levels of automation.
- Maturity is the second stage of the TCoE Stages of Evolution. In this stage, an organization has established more standardized testing processes and has started to implement automation.
- Excellence. At this stage, your team should be refining processes. Implementing better communication with other team members and seeing results from all the efforts.
- At the final stage of transformation, the process continues. More effort is put into bringing the best out of the team, and focus is put on making improvements that move the company higher. In short, this stage is for making the team better and better.
Testing Center of Excellence Pitfalls
There are many potential pitfalls when establishing a Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE). One common mistake is to try and do too much too soon. A TCoE should be established incrementally, with each phase building on the previous one. Another mistake is to treat the TCoE as a cost center instead of an investment. A TCoE should be seen as a way to improve the quality of your product and reduce costs in the long run.
Other potential pitfalls include failing to establish clear goals and metrics for the TCoE, getting buy-in from senior management, and putting the TCoE in the wrong organizational structure. However, with careful planning and execution, these pitfalls can be avoided, and a successful TCoE can be established.
KPIs For Testing Center of Excellence
A TCoE can help to improve efficiency, quality, and overall performance. As such, the team should have its Key performance indicators (KPIs). This is how to measure whether your team is adding value to your company. You don't want to employ a team of testers who are not performing their role well. This can affect the company dramatically. Here are a few KPIs you can set for your testing team.
Identifying the right KPIs to measure is difficult and unique to every organization. Your set of KPIs will depend on the size of your team, your company's culture, deadlines, launch dates, and the current gaps or challenges you are trying to fix. Each testing team member will probably need to have their own KPI, depending on which part of the team they have been paired with. But remember that measuring too many factors from the start can be overwhelming and make it difficult to see the bigger picture. You can read more about what your KPIs should entail.
There are many benefits to establishing a Testing Center of Excellence. Organizations can improve testing efficiency and effectiveness by centralizing testing resources, standardizing processes, and sharing best practices. If you want to learn more about establishing a Testing Center of Excellence, you can contact us.