How we Defined the Quality Vision of our Central Services by Alekson Fortes

Today, everyone wants to know about Automation, automated tests, CICD, AI, machine learning, DevOps, and many other amazing technologies.

How can we integrate all these technologies while ensuring quality in the end? That is the challenge!

Being familiar with, or understanding these technologies, is an asset to any Developer or Quality Assurance professional.

How many games do you know that offer an incredible experience but are riddled with bugs? As a player, have you experienced losing your game progress after hours of play because of a bug? Yeah, me too. It sucks!

It is not only in the gaming industry that you find amazing technology with low quality. Why? Because of a lack of a clear quality vision in the software space.
Before explaining how Square Enix Montréal defined the quality vision for its Central Services team, I’ll start with an overview of our context and objectives.

 Start With Why

I am an inquisitive QA professional with over 10 years of experience in the IT industry who loves questions and wants to see things work.
I am always questioning all areas of my life.

Over the years, I have learned that the best tool is the art of asking great questions and the best question we can ask is “WHY?”

Before developing a feature for your team, start by asking WHY you are doing it. It will provide you with a lot of useful information.
You can also ask WHY we should learn. WHY should we share knowledge (like I am doing here.)

Take the time to ask yourself WHY in all contexts to figure out where you should go next.

This last one is the main reason we defined the quality vision of our Central Services Team! We defined a vision to clarify WHY we should care about quality and where we want to be in the future in terms of quality.

If I am a QA and I tell everyone that we should do amazing things in the future, but nobody knows why we are doing them, nobody will care. But if everyone knows WHY we do what we do, everyone will be motivated.

Leading Quality

Defining our vision started with the book, “Leading Quality.” This book speaks of defining the vision before defining the strategy. I love this idea and I love searching for the answer to WHY, so we applied this idea in our Quality Guild meetings.

“Vision and strategy are both important. But there is a priority to them. Vision always comes first. Always. If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don't have a clear vision, no strategy will save you.” Michael Hyatt

Quality Guild

I was the first QA of Armory, our Central Services team. I was lucky to join a team of developers that are very knowledgeable about software testing. Believe me, a lot of developers have no idea how to write a test!

OK, now that I am a QA in a team that already does the tests, should I write the tests to allow them to develop faster? Everyone knows that this does not work, and it is a bad practice. We don't want to ask a team that already knows how to test to move backwards.

I figured out that I could bring my testing strategy knowledge and the theory I learned in “Leading Quality” to our team.

It was everything that we needed at the time. As more QAs joined our team, we created a Quality Guild whose main goal is to spread quality within the Studio and provide a space to share knowledge and ideas about quality.

 

Interactions

Guess what? Many developers participated in Quality Guild meetings to define our quality vision.

"But wait,” you ask - “isn’t it a Quality guild? Why are developers participating?”

Who said that quality and developers cannot work together?

As I said before, I was lucky to be in a team where developers practise software testing and quality is everyone’s responsibility!

We created a survey asking what we wanted for our team in terms of quality:

  • If you could go forward 5 years, and everything is working perfectly. What does that future look like?
  • What do you think Armory needs to have success in Quality?
  • What is not working today that is impacting our Quality?

Once we received the answers, we met many times to discuss the results and define our vision for our work.

For example, one of the answers we got to the question about the future was: “Happy players inside our successful games!”

Everyone agreed that this was one of the most important indicators to know we were achieving our goals. Since everyone agreed, we defined it as a team value: having happy players inside our high-quality games!

Now it is much easier to define a strategy and we are sure that everyone knows WHY we want quality in our games! Maybe in the future, you can be part of this talented team and I will love to share our vision with you.

 

Thanks to Maximilien Bianchi and Rodrigo Moutinho for the review in this article, and for each one that participated in the process of defining our vision!