“I will stand up against development to fight for software quality!” – said a perspective QA manager. She was smiling, but in way that left no doubt – she meant every word, and she was good at fighting and winning against bad things and bad people.
As a developer, I liked the candidate’s strong stand on quality, but was not sure why we should be fighting. The QA was a part of Dev organization, and a new QA manager was going to report to Dev manager. After the interview, we discussed how our Dev team works with our QA organization, cooperating and helping each other. We all had a common goal of producing high-quality product, and fighting was nobody’s idea of fun, nor was it helpful in achieving this goal.
As it turned out, our team was both lucky and smart, creating and maintaining a helping and cooperative spirit in the office. As we learnt through talking to this and other QA manager candidates, there were plenty of companies where testers fought against developers. QA groups won by finding enough quality issues with the product to prevent delivery. Developers won by getting the product delivered, despite known problems. A strong development group put a QA team at a disadvantage, while a thorough testing created problems for the developers. Which makes no sense, because having great people and organizations in both Dev and QA should make everyone's lives better, not worse.
As satisfying as winning is, it is important to keep in mind the overall goals of the organization. In IT and software development, it is usually creating and delivering a quality product for the customer. Nobody wins if the product is not tested properly, is of poor quality, nor if the product is not released to the user. Everybody wins if QA and Development (and the rest of the organization) work together.