Interview with an experienced professional
Laszlo Frantz has years of broad experience in the fields of consulting and testing – ranging from tester to test/QA lead to CEO. For this series, we asked him to tackle the topic of “Why do consulting and testing often lead to disaster?”.
“Consulting services are needed in many areas. How important are they in regard to software testing and how big of an impact do they make here?”
Answer: “Consultants actually are crucial for software testing departments, because they are the ones that are supposed to help your testers develop. You need them for numerous reasons. One of them being your digital transformation, for example. As we know, our world is constantly growing and technology is getting more and more important. Sooner or later, you would have to digitally modernize your business operations. To ensure that you won’t have a bumpy road ahead, you should rely on skilled professionals.
Consultants should aim to get the most out of one’s testers.
I know the fact that you’re putting the process in someone else’s hands puts a lot of people off. That’s why it’s even more important to choose the consulting provider carefully. No one should regret having started their digital modernization.
You can recognize good consulting firms primarily by the interests they represent and, of course, by the way they operate. Their goal should always be to optimize software testing and to really be there for the customer; not to just fill the projects with people.
This is what truly strong consulting firms do – they provide knowledge and a skill set, not people, to genuinely and effectively support your organization.
This may require a certain investment of time and budget in the beginning, but the step is absolutely worth it. A good consulting company will leave you with testers that know how to apply the agile testing methodology ideally without losing the end-product’s quality. In the long run, this saves more time and financial resources than you had to spend in the first place.”
“What would the outcome look like if you combined consulting services and software testing without removing their bottlenecks?”
Answer: “This is where things get critical. If you want to lead a successful company, you have to keep up with the times. This is a fact that cannot be ignored.
Working according to the waterfall methodology was the way to go a few years ago, but times have changed and waterfall is no longer applicable. Still following this methodology brings hurdles to the whole software development lifecycle that modern methodologies bypass. Without going into further detail, I think most of our readers are familiar with the waterfall methodology and know how inefficient it is.
So, in order to keep up with today’s digital trends, you would have to start your digital modernization at some point. And this is where the disaster can emerge.
Imagine putting your software testers in the hands of consultants to make the digital transformation happen as quickly and smoothly as possible. You didn’t have much time to spend on selecting the vendor and chose one that promised big. But it soon turns out that the path is more stressful than it actually needed to be. You start noticing more and more people joining your project, while the project itself makes little to even no progress. Instead, lengthy, unnecessary discussions are on the agenda.
This is because consultants who lack the required knowledge have been thrown into your project. They don’t know how to use the agile testing methodology without sacrificing the end-product’s quality; they even miss the difference between software testing and QA. So, all this confusion leaves the consultants feeling overwhelmed and unable to help your team or even themselves out. This can quickly frustrate everybody and most certainly will delay the whole project.
In this case, your software testers are busy training the vendor’s consultants (instead of the other way around), which of course isn’t done in a day or two. Moreover, in the middle of the onboarding process, the consultants suddenly switch. Now what?
The whole process of your testers onboarding consultants repeats itself, delaying the project even further. At this point, let’s not forget the costs of external consulting firms. They run in the background as your testers speak.
Sounds exhausting and expensive, doesn’t it?”
“What advice can you give our readers to avoid the above mentioned disaster right away?”
Answer: “My dearest recommendation for everyone is: focus on building long-lasting relationships in which trust is paramount! That applies to both customers and employees. Having this as first priority makes a huge difference, even if you might not see it at first. It will show over time.
Your employees are the ones that build and maintain the quality of your services and products. And good quality is built over years. You would only make it harder on yourself if you choose to constantly change your quality providers.
Your clients are the ones who invest in your services and products and put them out into the world. If you meet their needs with your services and products, they will surely come back to continue to collaborate with you.
So, both are necessary to keep your business alive. If you aim to achieve long-term, trustworthy relationships with them, you will quickly notice that you don’t need a confusing number of contacts to survive in the market.
Understand your client first. Then create solutions.
It is vital for every vendor to first making sure that you understand your customer’s everyday challenges and needs as well as possible. After that, you can start designing solutions that serve these needs and attack their challenges. Otherwise, people would eventually start questioning your expertise.
So, another tip I can give is to take your time and learn as much as possible about your potential customers, before thinking of providing solutions to them.
The best way to get there is through your own experience, in my opinion. For instance, I have walked miles in the shoes of a software tester, and I was able to experience what they go through throughout their testing career. After facing the challenges of the average tester’s daily life, I was able to hone in on approaches to effectively counteract those challenges.”