In any organization while some services are provided vertically, some are provided in a shared model horizontally to make the most of the team’s capabilities, time thereby further enhancing the overall efficiency and productivity besides the reach and scale achieved. Specific to software QA and testing, certain attributes, especially the non-functional ones such as performance testing, security testing, test automation overall expertise around tools and frameworks, accessibility and usability testing have traditionally been good candidates for shared services. In certain teams, we have also been seeing the overall software testing itself including the functional aspects being extended as a shared service. This model has its pros and cons. Pros are primarily around a common/centralized test process, visibility for quality across teams, standardized test KRAs and metrics, easier adoption for new tools and technologies, good and in-depth knowledge of products across teams, better integration scenarios, better utilization of testers etc. On the flip side, the cons are around, packed and sometimes conflicting schedules, lack of tester availability at certain crucial times, compromised quality across products for the sake of accommodating all of them, lack of comparative processes between teams that can encourage a healthy competition etc. These are again not pros and cons that will apply as is to all teams. What is a con to one may actually be a pro to another based on how the team is structured and what its requirements are. Even if they are not a shared service in the truest model, a test center of excellence can be setup to cross share knowledge, resources and testers, tools etc. as warranted.
The whole idea is for the test management to be aware of the varied engagement models of which the shared software QA testing model is also one that is very viable and feasible to consider in specific scenarios especially such as start-ups which may be constrained on quality budgets.