At Menlo, quality assurance is not a monolithic effort near the end of a project. There are no teams dedicated solely to writing tests or firefighting bugs. Our QA team does not have a rubber stamp on whether a product ships or not.

Quality is built into every step of the process and is the responsibility of the entire team.

The quality of the products we build is dependent on the work of all roles on the team, including the project stakeholders. For this reason our QA role is titled Quality Advocate, as they alone cannot achieve, or assure, quality. Through our test-driven development process, developers are ensuring quality through automated unit tests. The High-Tech Anthropologists® help ensure quality by testing our designs with real end-users. In turn, our Quality Advocates are able to focus on overall product quality from the start rather than being overrun with finding surface level bugs in the end.

It is the responsibility of the Quality Advocate role to keep the big picture of the project in view, help measure risk, and measure how closely the product meets the quality goals set forth by the stakeholders. Quality Advocates have a seat at the table in all meetings such as kick-off, estimation, stakeholder show & tell, and project planning. Quality Advocates also engage in exploratory testing beyond what any automated test suite can accomplish. They work with the other roles to decide when each feature is complete. They are then able to identify key issues (such as performance problems or bugs) and work with stakeholders to determine which ones are critical to the end user and business. Our goal is to build a partnership with stakeholders in order to identify reasonable/affordable quality goals based on project needs.

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