Combined For Agility
Combined Engineering and Agile – Combined for Agility
Combined Engineering? What’s that? Today, it is one of the latest trends in engineering that makes sense for most organizations. Relatively a new concept, but not really. In my twenty years plus experience in testing, combined engineering makes the most sense and delivers a collaborative team oriented approach in the agile world. It’s only a new concept because of the terminology but the idea behind the approach is not new. Combined engineering removes the barriers of the team members and makes them one unit, one team.
How does QA fit in Combined Engineering?
QA is a vital component of any engineering team but the concept of Combined Engineering really comes from the ONE TEAM concept. ONE TEAM dedicated to deliver a quality product or system to market for the success of the organization. Combined Engineering literally divides the team into the Development Engineering team and the QA Engineering Team. Managers for these two teams are no longer responsible ONLY for their specific departments. Let’s imagine the two teams, each with a manager. First things first – remove their titles of QA Manager and Development Manager. The organization replaces their titles as Development Engineering Manager and QA Engineering Manager. But what is the difference? Keep reading.
Now, take the top 20% of developers and the top 10% of testers from each team AND switch teams. The top 20% of developers move to the QA Engineering team and the same approach is done for the top 20% of qa testers. The next step is for both Engineering Managers to realign the remaining members on the teams to the right roles and assignments for the projects but the difference is that the two managers are working together. Goals are created that are realistic and push the team to achieving more in the combined approach than before.
How is Agile Related to Combined Engineering?
That’s the beauty of Combined Engineering. If done correctly and with a plan in place by the Engineering Managers, the team benefits from being Agile than any other methodology. The Combined Engineering team is more fluid than in the previous approach. Testers will be more focused on finding the defects and the developers will be more focused on making sure there are none. The developers create their own agile testing and share that with the testers on the team and vice versa. It’s a total WIN-WIN – not just for the teams and their leadership but for the organization.
Why Use Combined Engineering, if the system is not broke?
That’s going to be the argument that is moaned about within the teams when the change is made. “Why are we changing teams?” Yes, it may be working but with today’s demand of software needs changing, the competition, and the desire to be the best, organizations have to change their mindset. Changing with the trend to meet supply and demand in regards to the software market is only going to lead to success, not failure. Gone are the days where organizations can delay releases because of a month delay for a reason as missing requirements, defects, you name it. The team is expected to deliver quickly, solidly, and with assurance that the software will be successful to the customer. Hence, the need to change the structure of what once was to what it needs to be TODAY.