QA Lounge

Realtor.com’s Keys to Achieving Quality at the Speed of Development

Jay Selig • August 24, 2018

This week, we had the pleasure of hosting Realtor.com’s Farida Budiwarman for a webinar about how she helped evolve her company’s testing strategy.

Farida found that while Realtor.com released with speed and agility, the QA organization struggled to maintain quality at such a rapid pace. But by rethinking the company’s testing and team approach, Farida found a way to release quicker with fewer bugs escaping into production. Here are five key takeaways from Farida’s presentation:

Adopt the strategy that works for your culture. There is no true one-size-fits-all testing approach. Why? Because every company exhibits its own level of functional maturity. Each team is made up of different numbers of people with varying levels and areas of expertise. In that same vein, some teams are more siloed while others are integrated throughout the testing process.

When adopting your strategy, play to the strengths and resources that are available to you. As you go, monitor the pulse of your team and don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Remember, change isn’t meant to be seamless.

Identify and fix your blind spot. For any process to work correctly and efficiently, the team needs to be accountable for its mistakes or shortcomings. For example, it’s easy to blame inefficiency on slow automation and a lack of resources. However, they’re often not the real culprits, something else may be blocking you.

You need to conduct an objective team review to ee the issues – whether it’s the the lack of clear processes, incorrect KPIs, and an ill-fitting test strategy that ultimately plagued your team. It’s not always easy to accept your shortcomings, but doing so honestly is your fastest way to meaningful change. Realtor.com was able to fix these issues in their transformation.

Let go of your sunk costs. When your automated tests are both slow, ineffective and costly to maintain, sometimes the best solution is to give yourself a clean slate. While easy in theory, accepting failure and the sunk costs that come along with it can be tough to swallow.

While quick fixes and temporary repairs may help in the near-term, your automation suite is a long-term investment. Treat it as such. Ensure your next automation suite is, at once, expandable, scalable, and pluggable. If you can accomplish that, the sunk costs you have incurred along the way will be far more tolerable.

Get help when you need it. Testing has become far too complicated to manage completely in-house. You can’t be experts in every facet of testing, so focus your time and resources on your strengths and look externally to fill your weak spots. It can be difficult to ask for help (or even find quality help), but there are valuable solutions like crowdtesting that can seamlessly integrate with your existing processes and complement the team you already have in place.

The same goes for building out your internal infrastructure. It’s natural to want ownership of something so important and valuable to your company, but sometimes the best solutions are those of the open-source or paid variety. Even an open-source framework can give you the customization and ownership you desire.

Always pay your debts. Technical debts will always bear compound interest. Just like your financial advisor will tell you, the sooner you pay it off, the better off you will be. In short, do things right from the start. Getting anything off the ground takes a monetary investment, so rushing the process will only compound the debt you incur.

The quick and dirty approach may work in a pinch to grab market opportunity, but more than often, it’s not sustainable. That will only result in growing pains and a greater financial burden down the road.

Creating a testing strategy that accounts for both speed and quality is no easy task. Implementing that strategy successfully is another beast all together. Heed the lessons taken from Realtor.com’s digital transformation though and you’ll find yourself on the right track.

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