• Article
  • Jun.6.2017

What digital transformation means for your project teams

  • Jun.6.2017
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This is a guest blog by Zephyra Valiantys partner offering real-time solutions designed to transform how development and QA teams work and collaborate, helping them release higher quality software on time.

2017 has kicked off and IT has already claimed the spotlight. ‘Every company is a technology company’ is a statement that seems to be the prevalent frame of mind and on the tongue-tips of IT professionals and non-technical folks alike. This sentiment is underscored by the compelling fact that more CIOs are reporting to CEOs than ever before – A 10% increase over 2015.  A conglomerate of the continuous delivery methodologies, digital transformation, is a primary driver.

Digital transformation, the application of digital technologies to all aspects of a business, is on the rise and being widely adopted on a global scale, from the U.S to Scandinavia, as indicated by a recent technological survey where an overwhelming majority of respondents reported that their organisations were invested in digital transformation:

  • 97% of respondents reported that their organisations were investing in digital technologies to transform their businesses
  • 72% of the respondents said their organisations had active projects in mobile
  • 68% of the respondents said their projects are in the Cloud
  • 37% of the respondents are involving the Internet of Things (IoT)

Companies striving to stay relevant and maintain their competitive edge are investing in new digital technologies, ways to accelerate their development, and release to market.  A quick perusal of digital trends vouches for the wins from organisations that have successfully implemented the processes and philosophies that underlay digital transformation; artificial intelligence, virtual reality, APIs, and big data to name several. These new technologies carry real added-value to consumers, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.

But what’s driving the widespread adoption of digital transformation? From studying traditional software development methodologies, like Waterfall, it makes sense to conclude that the framework emerged out of necessity; the old, siloed way of developing software just wasn’t working. The entire software development process, from start to finish, needed to be more dynamic to better assimilate its contributors, who are many, above and beyond the core project team. From Sales and Security to the feedback cycle generated from the end-user, the needs of each of these groups are better represented by Digital Transformation practices than former methodologies.

Take QA for instance, software testing is no longer limited to that of a supporting role or function. Digital transformation has driven the QA function and testing organisations to the forefront, as essential players whose contributions have a substantial impact on timely, high quality product releases.

This is especially true for the mobile landscape where, although many organisations are making use of mobile solutions, testing for mobile devices is still viewed as a relatively new skill in the software development lifecycle. Given the increasing complexity and number of new platforms, organisations are struggling to cope with the variation in tools, devices, and methodologies. With growing integration, testing becomes more complex, but also more necessary as new areas and domains must be validated. QA professionals are faced with challenges they need to reevaluate: what’s the overall integrated user experience? How secure is data exchange and storage? Is the analytic engine correct?

Further still, the new growth and opportunity within the testing arena is accompanied by its own set of challenges. Research points to several areas that continue to fall short in supporting the larger goals and objectives within the testing community. Lack emerged as a theme and was cited as having a notable percentage increase, up from 2015-16 by 20% or higher for the areas of a proper test environment, the right testing process and methods, as well as not enough time to test.

These metrics illustrate the impact of technological trends on the QA profession and areas where the testing function will be looked upon to provide solutions and help to improve business outcomes as part of the digital transformation movement.

That said, it’s no doubt, digital transformation has been and will continue to be disruptive; project players like the traditional Project Manager role have disappeared, or will in the near future; while others, such as the Business Analyst from Waterfall projects now turned Agile Product Manager, have undergone significant changes and adapted as needed. Dell postulates that the modern world is in the midst of an industrial revolution that will touch all industries and threatens the survival of household name brands that much of society has come to rely on. Should this prediction hold true, or even if the rate of technology innovation continues at its current pace, every member of modern society will be impacted by digital transformation, regardless of industry, role, lifestyle, or status. However more than process and a framework is required in order to go from ‘concept to cache.’ The individuals who comprise the technology teams, the Product Owners, Developers, and Testers, are responsible for providing context and applying its principles in ways that are effective and meaningful on a business level. It’s these roles who must come together as teams and apply its practices and follow its processes in ways that deliver, not only a released product, but a product with features that return true business value. But its place in the IT industry could be more of a result of a paradigm shift.

A shift in thinking that has occurred in the IT industry as a whole, as well as its individual players. At some point, IT professionals went from being project focused to thinking in a more product focused way. Instead of dates-to-tasks, teams and organisations began thinking in terms of user experience, quality, and added value. Once technical project teams began to focus on releases in terms of the product and how well it would be received by its audience, the end-game became one of value instead of budget, time, and resources.

There is also renewed focus on efficiency and effectiveness as important QA and Testing objectives.

Beyond rapid delivery, digital transformation has ushered in acceptance of cross-functional teams, collaboration, and the need for individual roles to form a cohesive whole. Going forward, there’s no right or wrong, but instead, an adjustment of expectations that processes and roles will most likely continue to fluctuate as new methodologies and best practices emerge. Ultimately, continuing to encourage cross-functional collaboration in the spirit of adding business value will further clarify and confirm team roles in the digital transformation era.

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This blog was written by Marc Ray, Senior Client Services Engineer. 


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