What happens if we humans do not work out? Over the years, we will start developing fat in all parts of our body leading to complications. Can we workout once a year or once every quarter and expect it to keep us fit?
Like humans, companies need to perform their workouts daily – Workouts to shed any unwanted waste, workouts to run lean, workouts to save, workouts to remain fit for the future. Here are a few workout ideas for companies, focused more on testing aspects.
Reduce unwanted waste
Build Quality-In – Do not find bugs, prevent bugs and more so predict bugs
IBM estimates that if a bug costs $100 to fix in Gathering Requirements phase, it would be $1,500 in QA testing phase and whopping $10,000 once in Production! The days are gone where testing was an afterthought to coding. Have Continuous Integration and Continuous Validation in place where bugs can be found before the code is checked-in. The code can only be checked in only if they pass all the checks and scans where no new issues must be found. Even better, predict bugs with the help of tools. There are a lot of research on AI , machine learning and predictive analytics where they are the next big thing! So why not apply them in predicting bugs?
Use proven techniques to maximize productivity
There are hundreds of articles and books on Toyota production system and the techniques they use to eliminate waste. Similarly, there are many techniques from Six sigma for improvements. Use proven techniques in all your activities to maximize your productivity or to find the root cause of an issue. Five why’s, Value stream mapping, root cause analysis are just a few examples. Use them to find the root cause of the issue which will speed up things in the long term.
Manage everything as code
There is cut-throat competition everywhere, and companies can only survive by running lean. Find every possible way to run your testing lean. Agile and DevOps opened up opportunities for more collaboration between development and IT leading to the concept of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). IaC gives us the ability to deploy infrastructure as code, reducing wait time for resources and using the hardware efficiently. Switch your test infrastructure to IaC, provision the machines only when needed and destroy them as soon as the work is done. Look at Ansible and Chef as an example.
Do not reinvent the wheel
None of us is as good as all of us (a quote from Ray Krocs). With Agile, the focus is now more on teams than individuals. Form Community of Practices(CoP’s), a SAFe terminology (Structures Agile Framework) to share your knowledge, code, frameworks. Form cross teams as per your passion and share experiences, learn, write and share with the communities, collaborate with others through events/blogs. When you share and collaborate, you learn fast, do more with fewer efforts.
Reduce Work in Progress
Too many open work items at the same time slows down things, waste time in context switching and reduce productivity. You soon start accumulating unfinished work and start losing the context. Kanban proposes a WIP limit and SAFE has a principle to reduce WIP. Always focusing on closing things before you pick up new things.
Remain fit for the future
Most people resist change, and so we tend not to touch/change anything that is working. Continuous improvement is the mantra to stay relevant and remain fit for the future. Always look at ways to improve your processes, tools, frameworks. This will help in adapting to any sudden demand due to external changes. Remember that “Change is the only thing that is constant“.
There can be many more workouts that each company does and I am curious to know about the workouts you perform in your company to keep the company fit.