Should we be called QA Analysts?

I have been thinking a lot about titles lately and just how much I detest them 🙂  I do love the fact that my current title (QA Architect) is something most people have never heard of so it prompts them to ask me what I really do.  It gives me a chance to explain to folks what I actually do at work, not what they will assume I do based on my title!  Common titles can be very misleading to what people actually do.  The title of QA Analyst or QA Engineer is a perfect example.  I am going to pick on this because I had this title for a long time.  (The same goes for QA Manager).  There are several reasons why I hate these titles.  Here are the top 3 reasons why:

1.   If someone on your team has the title of QA Analyst, they typically bear the responsibility of the end quality of your product.  People start to say things like, “The QA folks will test it…don’t spend too much time testing your code.”  Or, “QA will catch it if there are bugs.”  Since when did the end quality of the product rest solely on the QA staff?  Everyone on your team should be responsible for quality, not just the folks testing the software.

2.   QA Analyst of what exactly?  It sure is vague.  Everyone just assumes it means the quality assurance analyst or engineer of the application you are building.  Why are there people with the word “quality” in their title only on the development side?  What about the quality of the entire development process, the quality of the designs, the quality of the sales team, quality of support?  By putting a “QA” title in development only it seems like we are really missing the boat by not looking at quality across the organization in all roles.

3.   When you tell someone that you are a QA person, you have just stuck a huge label on yourself.  It may be a good label or a bad label depending on who you are talking to.  Some QA folks focus solely on testing.  Some QA folks are really focused on SDLC only.  By telling someone that you do “QA”, you may not be telling them what you really do at all.   

Here is what I would love to see.  I would like to see people that focus on testing called “Testers.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  If the main purpose of your job is to test the application to ensure that it is working as it should, then just call yourself a tester.  People that develop code are just called developers, not “Quality Developers”.  Let’s call a spade a spade here.  If you test, then just say you are tester.  You should not be ashamed of that! 

Then, ideally, you WOULD have someone in your organization that is overseeing quality.  However, this person would be looking at quality across the board.  They would be analyzing processes, etc from the sales team all the way through development and then to the team that supports the customers.   Depending on the size of your company, this could be a whole team of folks.  Make sure these people know what they are doing and have been in the trenches actually “doing it” before.  Also, make sure these folks are trained on the Lean Principles of software development  to get the biggest bang for your buck.

What is your current title?  Do you think it reflects what you really do?


2 Responses

  1. Hi!
    I completely agree with you.
    Quality Assurance is a vast subject. It control the quality of the whole development process starting from the very beginning.
    Quality Assurance covers Quality Control.

    Those guys that test the product should have title like “Quality Control Engineer” or “Test Engineer” like google testers call themselfs.

  2. Awesome post! I couldn’t agree with you more. Great to know that there are people who can see the bigger picture. The sad truth is that most QA positions posted throughout the world that work in the IT or Application Development really refer to Testing.

    It seems that most IT or Development shops really miss the boat when it comes to a full implementation of Quality Assurance practices.

    I also totally agree with feelsgood11’s comment on job titles. Why not just call them QC Engineers or Test Engineer or Test Manager, etc.

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