May 24, 2017
As the need for new and updated healthcare technology software grows, firms and teams in the industry are finding themselves under increased pressure to deliver products faster and more efficiently than ever ever. To help with this, many innovators are adopting Agile and DevOps processes, which use collaborative, cross-functional roles and automation to speed up the software development process. But even these programming techniques aren’t enough to help firms meet all of the demands they must address in today’s evolving healthcare market.
Adapting to these needs means CIOs need to be willing to let go of traditional ways of managing IT and think creatively about the structure of their teams and how to adjust roles to maximize effort. One of the biggest ways to boost the IT clock speed is by eliminating communication bottlenecks and streamlining processes, according to this recent article in Computer Weekly.
Some firms are seeing success with this by integrating business analyst and quality assurance roles on the development team. Placing the same person or team on both ends of the process helps ensure that software products are tested the way they are built with no gaps in information between the BA and QA, which can sometimes happen. This helps reduce miscommunication throughout the process and ensure a faster response when there are defects in the product to fix.
The ideal person or team to fill both roles needs enthusiasm and willingness to bridge the gap across the two disciplines. What else will help them tackle both roles effectively?
BAs taking on QA tasks may need a deeper technical understanding of the software product to validate tests. Likewise, QAs stepping into the BA role must gain insight into the functional requirements of the software and the business process. Developing expertise on the industry, including the various jobs and workflow supported by the software application, is also helpful for newly minted BAs.
Learning the Language
QAs taking on BA tasks should take the initiative to learn the business language so they can converse with stakeholders in the organization and better understand their needs or goals for the technology. BAs shouldering QA responsibilities need to spend time with developers so they know how to validate features from a technical standpoint, including checking interactions between data systems on the backend, as well as how to complete processes without glitches or delays.
This may take several weeks and is best accomplished with the help of an outside consultant or a training firm. For QA-to-BA training, a series of immersion courses on the industry sector might be helpful, while BA-to-QA training might involve a hands-on lab that simulates how users interact with the software application. Both BAs and QAs can benefit from training sessions that focus on the development spectrum as a whole, including functional, technical, design and deployment concerns.
Caveat: Though integrating BA/QA roles works well in most situations, there are times when it might not be appropriate, such as when testing and validating features related to security and performance. In these cases, technical specialists are needed.
Read more about BA/QA integration in our white paper.