QA is not a verb

You’re in the middle of regressing defects and a small notification flashes in the bottom portion of your screen. Instant message. You open the window and read a string of words than invariably end with: “. . . and please let me know when you’re done QA’ing it.

Perhaps it’s commonplace now, and you gloss over it. But oh no, you shouldn’t. You’ve built your entire career and reputation out of being a professional nitpicker, and you just can’t let this one slide.

Your response: QA is not a verb! Say it, loud and proud.

See, the first step to fixing this misperception is education. What you were likely doing before being interrupted was testing. Testing is one of several things QA engineers do day-to-day. QA, on the other hand, involves analyzing, documenting, data recording, reporting, monitoring, critiquing – in addition to testing. So how exactly did all of this get lumped together into one convenient little verb? Its roots originate from a misunderstanding about the role of QA on a project. Any job search will reveal a list of requirements for qualifications that mention almost nothing about being closely involved with creative teams, for instance. Right then and there, quality is off the proverbial board. If we’re just testing the product prior to deployment, we’re only doing that. Testing. And if we’re just testing, the product’s overall quality is compromised.

So let it be recognized that quality can’t be tested into a product. How can we assure quality if we aren’t intimately involved in planning, architecting, designing, and developing?

Now that you have your new disciple on board, you hope that the philosophy spreads. You’re setting the precedent, at the very least.

After all, you wouldn’t dare ask someone if they’re done engineering.