Quality Engineering is a Team Sport | TTC Global

Quality Engineering is a Team Sport

Revisiting the First Episode of the Quality Conversations Podcast

Neha Desadla
  • Neha Desadla
  • 4 December 2023

Quality Conversations

Since September of 2022, TTC Global has hosted the Quality Conversations podcast video series which explores the ins and outs of software testing and quality engineering. Our hosts take listeners on a journey through insightful discussions with a diverse cast of subject matter experts, shedding light on testing best practices, challenges, and upcoming shifts in the Quality Assurance industry.

This series began as a space to explore the exciting world of quality engineering, an essential pillar of software development that combines technical expertise with effective team collaboration. Our podcast aims to illuminate the complexities of quality engineering, team dynamics, and the role of communication within the context of large organizations. Over the past year, we've learned more about a number of engaging topics:

  • the shift towards site reliability engineering
  • insight into open-source testing
  • the importance of digital accessibility

While we're excited to continue delving into new topics and challenges found in the software testing industry, we wanted to take a moment to revisit our inaugural episode, which featured Ann Lewis, the former Head of Quality Engineering at ExxonMobil.

Looking Back on Episode One

In the first episode, our hosts Chris Rolls and Kayla Hildebrandt sat down with Ann Lewis, a trailblazer in the field of software quality. Ann's journey at ExxonMobil has been a testament to her role as an industry leader, innovator, and change agent. She transformed the organization's approach to software quality from manual testing to the highly automated and proactive Quality Engineering methodology.

Throughout the episode, Ann shared her experiences and insights found in the world of software quality. In addition to describing her start within the field, Ann candidly discussed the challenges she faced in her role. One such challenge was the art of managing defects and errors without becoming the "bad guy".

Raising quality issues within a team can be difficult, and as Ann noted in the episode, there are a number of social dynamics to be mindful of. Understanding each team member's role in the "software supply chain" and depersonalizing the defect-finding process are two strategies Ann utilized to help confront this problem. Her solution also advocated for a blame-free, data-driven approach to identifying issues, thus fostering a culture of collaboration rather than blame.

Ann's wisdom also extends to building effective teams; in the episode, she highlighted the importance of selecting members with complementary skills and personalities. "Experience," she noted, "doesn't necessarily mean years in the field but rather the ability to learn quickly and collaborate effectively."

Respecting individuals, looking out for their well-being, and creating a balanced team where every member can contribute their strengths are key components of Ann's strategy for building harmonious and effective work environments. Through these harmonious teams, productivity and efficiency thrive, which is why people play such an integral role in software quality.

The Future of Quality Conversations

As we continue embarking on this podcast journey, we aim to bring listeners more episodes filled with valuable takeaways from leaders and experts in the field of quality engineering. Our goal is to continue exploring quality engineering fundamentals -- people, process, and technology-- to better understand and create ideas in the world of software quality. These discussions can feature different ways teams work together, effective communication's impact on quality, and the new testing trends we should consider as we enter the new year.

We're excited to continue this journey with you. Together, we'll uncover the secrets to building quality in every software project and explore the evolving landscape of quality engineering.

You can view all of our episodes on our Quality Conversations page. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes, and let's keep the quality conversation going!