Any guidance on establishing an annual QA budget for shared QA org that is dependent on AD team for budget?

Chris Cummings's picture

After 20 years of leading AD teams, I'll be transitioning into leading my companies shared software QA team.  This is a very large company (Fortune 50) where IT budgets are determined by LOB.  The AD teams own the budgets and allocate funds to shared QA org.  Our annual planning cycle starts in July and closes in November for the subsequent year.  The problem is multi-faceted:

  1. As part of annual planning the AD teams are not allocating or under allocating $ to support QA
  2. QA leadership needs to beat the bushes for $ to support IT projects (e.g. allocate $ to our resource role)
  3. Constantly battling for money means the only resources supported are the ones specifically budgeted to support testing a new development project - we can't build a center of expertise, invest in tools, take training, improve processes, and ultimately improve quality due to funding contraints.

Are there any best practices in defining a standard allocation model?  For example, X% of AD budget funds core QA resources (FTE, Key Consultants - including resources for CoE) and Y% funds project related work.  Internally we're calling this a "blended model".  

All thoughts are appreciated.

1 Answer

Matthew Heusser's picture

I sounds like the system is set up against you. Doesn't AppDev have the same problem? What is different?

I'd have a conversation with who you report to - or the next level up - about this problem. If they shrug their shoulders, they are telling you that either (a) testing is chronically under-funded, (b) Testing is funded at par and the company never invests in improvement, or (c) Test leadership lies about the needs to get more $$ than it needs for the projects to invest in improvement.

(c) does not need to be a /lie/; it might be that test determines the test effort on a project then adds 0.20% for overhead, and that overhead pays for improvement.

I guess I don't understand enough about the staffing model to make a strong recommend.  If I understand correctly, it if were me, I'd likely try to establish a baseline HQ team and a few team leads that were employees, then use the discretionary $ to fund contractors. I mean, your salary doesn't need to be justified to a project, right? Expand that sphere of people we "just" pay for every year.

Finally, again, I think the system is stacked against you. The ROI and justification route is going to get you answers like "not this year", or "yes, but ..."  the cards are already dealt. I would spend my energy breaking out of the system, not trying to work within it.

Will you be at STAREast? Perhaps we can chat then.




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