Speed to Market vs. Quality Assurance: The Quality 360 Approach Enables Both
Most of us in corporate America are familiar with the expression that says you can either have a product fast, inexpensive, or good, but not all three. This is commonly known as the “unattainable triangle.” A similar paradigm applies to speed to market and product quality assurance, with some pundits going a step further by saying that both are not only unattainable, but mutually exclusive. In the group insurance sector, many believe that speed to market must prevail due to the industry’s overly commoditized market; insurers need to get new products in front of consumers as fast as possible for a competitive edge. But perhaps the burning question on this topic is this: How can businesses execute speed to market and quality assurance, when they are seemingly at odds?
“Quality 360,” Vitech’s framework that establishes a quality-focused partnership with our clients at each step, facilitates successful and timely rollouts without sacrificing high-level results. By leveraging Quality 360, Vitech and its customers embed a process and data-driven approach with the project scope, schedule, and execution as an imperative throughout the implementation.
Quality 360: The Basics
How can complex, multi-year implementations that require rounds of UAT and product/delivery cycles be achieved on schedule, with complete operational effectiveness? Vitech’s Quality 360 methodology makes the quality of the implementation the responsibility of all involved. This quality assurance partnership is the foundation of the project, with common frameworks and governance models embedded throughout the process, even including sales and product through delivery.
Quality 360 also includes many standard software as a service (SaaS) concepts, such as the importance of well-designed, fully automated and re-usable test beds and engaged teams to support those efforts, but also layers in elements of full transparency between Vitech and the client. Testing, and the quality results expected, become more fixed on the end state and business goals of a particular module and/or rollout. Clients understand that although Vitech will take the lead with driving the process, they must be highly engaged and fully responsible for providing all key business inputs, data points, and acceptance to test outputs/expected results. By leveraging the Quality 360 approach, namely its supporting input templates, tools, and focus on sharing and collaboration at each gate, Vitech quality teams can develop a library of functional regression tests early on to capitalize on speed as well as automation. Clients are also made aware that their code, configuration, and data must be as accurate as possible to use in testing cycles.
De-Risking, Early and Often
If quality assurance is the primary force behind Quality 360, then “de-risking” is a close second. Methodical testing, avoiding silos, and building out a suite of rigorous, automated tests cycles to make UAT as error-free as possible produces better results earlier in the process. All tests are stored and executed in Vitech’s JIRA system. The emphasis on frequent de-risking throughout the timeline is a big departure from standard implementation testing and addresses challenges much earlier to avoid any unexpected surprises well before go-live.
A Targeted State of Quality
Quality 360 maintains a market-driven approach with pre-built, expandable tests able to cover thousands of permutations. Other best practices include established release timelines scoped and scheduled way in advance. Exit criteria is also met early in the test cycle, or exceptions are agreed on before the testing process. Each project sprint contains pre-established release cadences. When serious system issues arise, they are triaged by Vitech SMEs and linked to approved tests before being resolved. Finally, continual review of accepted issues makes the common test library more comprehensive for the next runs.
To balance speed to market with end-product quality, our Quality 360 methodology framework calls for a collective Vitech and client emphasis on quality assurance, as well as a quality-driven approach at all stages. With high engagement from the implementation project teams, full transparency throughout the project, as well as constant de-risking efforts, Vitech and client teams can make speed to market and end-product quality highly complementary, and a given hallmark of all engagements to come.