F13-503: Building a Successful Test Center of Excellence

Track: Leadership Perspectives for Testers

The purpose of this session is to review a high level study of the building of a Test Center of Excellence within an IT organization that will be informative for companies of various sizes and growth related to Quality Assurance maturity. The Startup – this session will describe how to form an initial testing center, steps taken to build a team, baselining the process and methodology documentation, initial metrics planned for reporting, the process involved in selecting the pilot business areas that would be supported and how to prepare the organization for the changes. What Worked – we will review the decisions made during the initial stages, those decisions that stood with the team throughout the process, and how the organization was socialized with the stakeholders. The Evolution – this session will discuss the many changes that an evolving testing team typically takes, the steps toward maturity in some areas, the processes used to build an onboarding roadmap, and socializing the benefits and value of the organization to other IT and business groups. What Worked – we will review what the team learned along the way and also evaluate high level processes and procedures that were effective from the beginning but evolved as the team grew over the years

Session Takeaways:

  • Documenting core processes required to build a team.
  • Selecting the appropriate team member skill sets when building a team.
  • Identifying core requirements when selecting a testing vendor.
  • Establishing core metrics needed for the organization.
  • Selecting the pilot group / business area for testing services and building an effective roadmap for onboarding additional groups/areas.
  • Best practices for socializing the testing group with other IT teams and obtaining buy-in.
  • Establishing a Quality Board to monitor, govern, and approve changes to the processes and testing methodologies.
  • Integrating other groups with testing organizations (e.g.. Environments, Test Data, Release Management).
  • Spotlighting the need for relevance – growing the testing organization with emerging technologies.

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Session Speaker:

Mike LylesMike Lyles – QA Manager, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Mike Lyles is a QA Manager. He is a 1993 graduate from Appalachian State University with 19 years of IT experience, working in various roles over the years – from technical support to programmer, to Program Management Office, to Solutions Development Manager, to Testing/QA. His current role includes Test Management responsibilities for a major company.