How Do I Build A Culture of Quality Excellence?

About Greg Sypolt


  • Vision
  • Journey
  • Three Pillars of App Quality Excellence
  • How To Measure The Quality Maturity Rubric
  • Building A Quality Platform
  • Reaping The Savings


Quality Journey Objectives

  • Everyone understands how we make and test things. In this step, you have a good understanding that design requirements involve validation requirements. You know that you want unit tests, API tests, integration tests, and UI tests. You want to handle functional cases and failure cases. These cases need to be part of the design.
  • Building a quality mindset. Here, you recognize the importance of quality in every aspect of your process to produce a quality product.
  • Understanding our current testing coverage. Provide transparency to your team about what you cover and what you do not. Prioritize areas for test development.
  • Reduction of manual testing, advocating for automating the right things. Slow, inconsistent and inaccurate manual tests impede your testing speed. But prioritize. Know which tests benefit from automation.
  • Build a balanced testing portfolio. Understand how well you cover behavior across unit, API, integration, UI, performance, and security tests. Know your deficiencies and address them.
  • Shift-left mindset by embracing quality in every stage of the CICD pipeline. As you build, test. Ensure that your pipeline gates work well to check each code build against expected behavior.
  • Transitioning to exploratory charters and fully automated testing. This step gets you to automating the right things and beginning to expand your thinking to uncovered cases.
  • Building in quality velocity for developers. Now you deliver ways to help your development team create with a quality mindset by designing with test, testability, and validation results in mind.
  • Quality visibility and accountability. Create the tools and the feedback loop to show discovered defects and their origin — not as a path to punishment but to aid improvement.
  • Remove the traditional QA silo mentality. As part of all the other steps, quality becomes a team metric, rather than the responsibility of a subgroup tasked with assurance.
  • Not a destination. The journey continues — improvements continue along your path.

Greg’s Journey As An Example

  • Ran 4000 or more builds per week
  • Regularly generated 600 Selenium, 55 Visual, and 75 Integration automated tests
  • Ran an average of 5,000,000 or more tests per month with an average 99.2% pass rate
  • Authored tests in less than 15 minutes and ran all their tests in less than 5 minutes.

The Three Pillars of Application Quality Excellence

Measuring Quality Maturity Rubric

The Quality Maturity Rubric

  • Beginner — getting started on maturity
  • Intermediate — taking steps to organize people, use technology, or apply processes
  • Advanced — organizing effectively to achieve the maturity measure outcome
  • Expert — having automated the process to be achieved with people used at their most efficient.
  • Beginner — No shared quality ownership, siloed development and QA, losing sight of the larger quality picture.
  • Intermediate — Identify and define specific levels of quality involvement for individuals on teams, enable shared responsibilities
  • Advanced — Teams are finding problems together
  • Expert — Machines are identifying problems
  • Create an improvement map. You can’t move everything all at once. Focus on the key attributes that matter. Greg points out that culture allows you to move everything else. Figure out where you can go with culture maturity.
  • Move to implementation. Once you know what you want to do, move forward with appropriate steps. Do you have the right people? Do you have process changes you need to deploy? New technology? Move forward in steps appropriate to your organization.

Quality Roles

  1. Level 1 is a QA specialist, who focuses on manual and exploratory test
  2. The second level is an automation engineer, who has the Level 1 skills plus the ability to develop automation test scripts.
  3. At Level 3 you find an Industry SDET (software development engineer in test) who does the work of the first two levels, plus can write code and develop test algorithms.
  4. Level 4 defines the need of EverFi — an EverFi SDET. In addition to the first three levels, an EverFi SDET must be proficient with DevOps. Greg hopes to get his team to this level in the next 12 to 18 months. A DevOps SDET can help make the development team proficient integrating test with development.
  5. The top level, Level 5 — the Next Gen SDET, incorporates the prior four levels. On top of that, a Next Gen SDET brings proficiency in security, data science, and machine learning. This level is more aspirational. Greg expects that, over time, more quality engineers will obtain these skills.

Building A Quality Platform

  • Building a culture that embraces quality at every stage from intake, discovery, execution and release
  • Enabling and driving continuous improvement and adoption of quality practices
  • Giving teams the ability to lead with a sense of purpose, openness and trust.

Reaping The Savings

Building Your Own Quality Platform

For More Information



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