Words matter. Words are the way we transfer ideas from person to person. Shared words do not guarantee shared understanding. I understand 4 languages and I try to understand 4 cultures. Time to time I experience situations where I cannot express myself in none of the languages and my motives are misunderstood in all the cultures. At the moment I try to help my son with his Latin studies, it means I am kind of studying it as well. And it is quite fun because grammar is very similar to Latvian, but words to English and/or Italian.
You may wonder why I am writing about languages and what it has to do with quality assurance (QA)? You see, I really like quality assurance in software. I am very into processes, responsibility about the software and improving quality of an end product. If I would need to name one thing what I am good at, it would be seeing links/ matches/ connections. When I see a bug in the software, I see that it comes from a bug in the process. You can fix the bug in the software, then write and maintain 10 regression checks to get information when it happens again, but for me, more sense is to fix the bug in the process which caused the bug in the software.
One illustrative example. Imagine bakery. Good recipe does not guarantee tasty cake. Bad recipe does not mean that a cake will not taste. Testing in all this is trying the cake – quality should be baked in, if it is not in there, for this particular cake you can not change (improve) the quality. QA in bakery would be observing processes, identifying bottlenecks, questioning actions in place, analysing end products, which does not meet quality standards, with an aim to find a source, talking to customers and then decide what to do – to improve a recipe, approach, method, marketing or selling strategy.
I really like to work efficiently and remove a cause instead of effects, so I applied for jobs with title “QA Manager”, “Head of QA” etc, but always at the end, thing, I was doing, was software testing. If you call a bread as a cake, it is still a bread, right? I wondered why companies and clients use “quality assurance” incorrectly. I broke it down and asked people what “quality” means to them and mostly got no answers. How you can assure something you cannot describe? So I came up with this idea that a) that they do not know about QA as a discipline; b) it is some kind of strategic game played by companies: let’s put “QA” in our job openings and use the word “quality” few times on our website, then our customers will think that we care about it!
Let me tell you this – you can add sugar coating and glitters to your cake, but everyone, who will eat it, will see that it is floppy.