The urgency of Government to secure suppliers swiftly, to enhance its skills base and reinforce its delivery teams, means that many of us in the technology industry are focussing on completing submissions to secure a place on Government frameworks and win tenders. Winning a place on such opportunities delivers our businesses, as an SME, both prestige and commercial stability.
However, a more in-depth look at their specification often reveals a flaw that if left unaddressed will mean the Digital Transformation they seek to deliver is at risk of failure, or – at very least - delays.
The drive to compete and deliver at haste can, sometimes, result in levels of unintended exposure. We believe this is because, as many organisations move towards an Agile delivery target, in their various ways, we notice that the focus on testing – as a mindset, rather than a function/role – can often slip down the priority order and occasionally off the radar completely, especially in organisational/R&R terms. This is only ever an interim phase, as reality often bites hard when an ‘urgency’ to deliver can mean that quality is overlooked and the risks increase proportionally. In some industries and sectors, this is manageable, but in others, it can be catastrophic. All of those with a tester's mindset can think of examples that make us cringe!
It makes it all the more important, we think, to ensure that the organisations we work within, whether Government or not, realise the importance of not making this mistake and learning from others or past experiences. At the end of the day, if a requirement or user story cannot be articulated in a manner that makes it easy to test/assure... then it probably isn’t clear enough to be developed and ultimately implemented. A decision to continue delivery in a way that overlooks the quality element needs to be a conscious decision taken by those in senior or sponsorship roles. Sometimes it takes guts to point this out.
That’s why we always encourage organisations to think carefully before deciding not to take account of quality and assurance in their planning and resourcing, especially as they transition to a more Agile structure and delivery model. The end result could be costly, even just in reputational terms.
If you are not sure your organisation is set up for successful outcomes, then flag it up to them – as it displays your understanding of the process; your integrity and desire to ‘do the right thing’, first time.
As experts, it would be both irresponsible and unethical for us as IT professionals to allow this to proceed unaddressed, purely for commercial gain. To ensure success we have to be certain the right checks and balances are in place at every stage. The public purse is relying on us to advise, so let’s take our duty of care seriously.
Let’s make it Agile, not fragile.