Friday, September 08, 2006

Role of a Quality Architect

I found a really interesting article on Application Quality by Allen Stoker. Make sure you read both part 1 and part 2. Best part is that it discusses the need of a Quality Architect:
"Quality begins in the team - not the application. Proper planning, communication and processes are essential to any successful project. Projects that lack these fundamentals will likely produce problematic applications. I'm a firm believer that large teams with diverse skill sets need a Quality Architect - a highly skilled technical person on your team who has no assignment but to support or ‘enable’ the other team resources. Such a resource can mean the difference between project success and failure."
This is even more interesting to me because I spent some time last year just to understand the role. I would agree 101% with Allen that this role can make a world of difference and can be responsible for a project's success or failure, especially in light of the fact that quality is the measure of success! (assuming quality is part of the defined business goals)

The Role of a Quality Architect:
  • Get the business, engineering, and QA teams to agree on common quality goals (i.e. define quality!)
  • Establish QA infrastructure to boost team's efficiency and effectiveness
  • Establish processes that complement the tools and provides end-to-end traceability
  • Review product architectures and provide feedback on systemic qualities before development cycle starts
  • Understand the ALM process and idenify risk elements from quality perspective
  • Standardize processes and procedures to be able to develop SLAs and QLAs
  • Work with cross-functional teams to combine elements of project management and business analytics, especially w.r.t. SOA interdependencies
  • Translate quality metric data into information! Enable inuitive reporting to drive transparency into product's intrinsic quality.
  • Participate, Review and Approve testing strategies
The role touches almost every aspect of ALM , i.e from requirements to requirements. Horizontally, the Quality Architect is responsible for coordination and collaboration across cross-functional teams (from marketing to design & development to QA to operations & customer care) Vertically, the person is responsible to boost team's productivity and at the same time explain quality metric data to executives in layman terms.

The role requires a fine balance between extraordinary people skills and hands-on technical skills!

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