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Silly Startup Tricks are for Kids - Quality Matters in Startup Success

I lived through the first technology start-up boom and the subsequent crash that followed. Due to my success building Quality Assurance Teams in start-ups from the onset, many companies approached me and my team to assist them in their initial efforts to implement a Quality approach. I learned to ask all the right questions in order to assess their ratio of potential success and the actual importance of Quality Assurance. I turned down many startups because I predicted the eventual failure (and have a 90% of correctness) due to the answers I was given. Back in those days I rarely heard of a start-up thinking “lets just hire a entry level QA engineer or manual tester to start” but today that seems to be the norm. Since the startup boom and mobile apps boom has exploded again in the last few years I feel I should impress upon new business owners and entrepreneurs of my motto “How you strategize the importance of Quality Assurance NOW, will impact your value in your FUTURE”.

Quality Matters in Startup Success

One of the most important to consider when hiring a QA team at a start-up is look for the qualities that will match your need for success:

  • Can they adapt easily and still move quickly without being shaken up
  • Are they willing to spend free time learning new technologies and tools
  • Do they have prior experience in building QA quickly from the ground up in a startup environment
  • Is their background and knowledge good enough they can make snap decisions and easily detect where a major issue is coming from quickly and relay how to fix it.
  • Do they have equal knowledge in hardware – O/s – environments – services – data – software – code – design – platforms – websites and mobile applications
  • Have they worked at more than one company where Agile has been implemented and worked successfully
  • Do they have high energy and passion that will win over and spread to other teams – which will assist in building a positive and approachable QA team

First of let’s address the “Tester vs QA Engineer”. In my opinion and years of experience a “Tester or Test Engineer” is just like it sounds, they test the aspects of either your hardware of software. They have a limited scope on the overall product – application – system – service – project and the success of the delivery. Most testers or test engineers are assigned specific areas of product to focus on – which can lead to eventual errors due to lack of integration testing. Perhaps this is why so many years of blame on failure of a product or deadline has fallen of the software test team. It is what I refer to as the Reactive mentality.

A Quality Assurance Engineer performs what I refer to as the Proactive mentality. A Quality Assurance professional is the glue between all of your groups, they speak creative – business – technical speak and are instrumental at putting the pieces together for success.

How does a Quality Assurance professional assist you in your startup success?

  • Validates that your site/product/service/application is actually what your customer wants and is delivered what they expect
  • Assist in making sure you are not just a one trick pony by providing new ideas, avenues, markets to grow your site/product/service/application in to new areas.
  • Assures that your customers privacy and security are not being violated or put at risk
  • Assures that your customers and users will not be affected by load and performance issues
  • Assists in making sure you are reaching your maximum customers base by implementing accessibility requirements for disabled users
  • Assists in making sure you are reaching your maximum customer base by implementing your site/product/service/application is translated and able to be accessed in every language of your users
  • Assists in making sure you are reaching your maximum customer base by verifying your site/product/service/application is accessible on every browser – operating system – device and is compatible across all promised platforms
  • Assures that what your marketing has promised is actually delivered on time and meets the advertised deliverable
  • Can be the most effective method to deliver customer/technical support issues to development and are communicated correctly and resolved in an expedited time
  • Assures that deployments and roll-outs are executed gracefully with the least amount of impact on your customers/users
  • Can utilize hundreds of tools for automating dozens of different aspects for quicker results that will affect the end results and deadlines of your releases
  • Can be one of the most effective team members in an Agile environment where QA can be instrumental by understanding the entire system/software/environment/data/design/platform and providing a risk assessment if needed for a team sign-off for a release

So before you think you just need a entry level QA Engineer or Manual or Automation Tester for your startup – remember it is like building a skyscraper on ground that wasn’t checked by your future tenant or passed for foundation stability. It may appear stable and pretty on the outside but no one has looked at the interior and as you add floors you are building on you are adding to your eventual expensive costs to revise or rebuild later.

Provided below are links to Startup Statistics, Startups That Failed and Insights, Costs and Failures and Startup Lawsuits.

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