What is Risk Management in Quality Assurance?

Owen Savage

Automation Expert

Why is there a greater need for risk management in QA and how does this relate to risk awareness among QA stakeholders? 

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What is risk in quality assurance?
What is risk management in QA?
The need for heightened risk awareness

What is risk in quality assurance? 

As something that brings the possibility of an event in the future with negative consequences, risk is made up of a combination of probability and impact.

When it comes to testing, a QA manager has to be aware of risk to minimize the impact on the quality of their software. 

Read more: What is QA Testing? 

The whole job of those in QA is determined by risk. Getting to grips with risk levels requires that you understand how likely something to occur, but also if it does, how much damage it’s going to do.

Testers need to be able to identify and manage risk, and the risks that come with testing, accurately and at speed. 

Related reading: What is the Purpose of a Quality Strategy in QA Testing?

What is risk management in QA?

What does risk management involve? To manage risk in QA, you need to make a risk assessment.

This typically involves judging what could possibly happen and how, as well as what factors affect the risk and whether the risk is in fact acceptable. 

When it comes to managing risk, your team will need to judge the importance of each problem, develop measures of risk prevention, check how effective these measures are and evaluate the entire process. 

Those in QA respond to risk when a major bug is reported, but they don’t carry that awareness into the long-term planning of our quality assurance and testing initiatives. In other words, they’re not effectively managing risk.

There is much more to be done to promote risk awareness in QA and ensure it’s responded to accordingly in terms of how risk is actually managed. 

The need for heightened risk awareness

Heightened risk awareness gives more impetus for quality risk management. But what is the current state of play in terms of risk awareness among QA stakeholders?

While Covid 19 increased awareness of risk, as well as the general need for digital transformation, we need to ask why it’s important for stakeholders to be risk aware? It’s fundamentally because bugs, and software outages, have serious consequences. 

Read more: 3 Software Testing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2024

In order to manage risk better, first of all you need a high level of awareness around the potential damage that risk can cause. 

The good news is that according to the Risk Radar Report, a majority of US and UK-based CEOs as well as testers think that a failure in their software — whether used by the company or issued to the market — represents a critical risk to their business. 

The report suggested that while the C-suite are clearly aware of the qa test automation challenges and risk presented by software failures, the right action isn’t always taken to prevent them from taking place.

That’s because QA stakeholders are too dependent on high-profile outages to serve as a reminder of software risk. Currently, we’re dealing with a reactive rather than proactive approach. 

From a loss in revenue to a reduction in productivity and a knock-on effect on a company's reputation, we have seen the impact of high-profile outages, but it could be cause for concern that it requires such events for CEOs and testers to acknowledge the extent of risk caused by insufficient testing.

It highlights a reactive approach to risk, as opposed to a proactive one. 

 

Risk-awareness

 

Effective risk management is dependent on a high level of risk awareness among QA stakeholders.

Right now, a dependence on high-profile software outages to act as a reminder or risk, plus the fact that awareness does not always translate straight into action points to a lack of proactiveness in QA.

Want to know more about risk in QA? Consider downloading our full 2022 Risk Radar Report below!

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