“Experience Quality” and the senior tester

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks investigating the role of test and the “experience” of quality software. Between the Customer Experience Improvement Program, Windows Error Reporting, Send a Smile, and connect, there is ample opportunity to get relevant customer data to help in this effort.

I was thinking about the role of test in processing this data (design guys LOVE the CEIP data, and developers…ummm…tolerate the WER data). The main idea is that customers like it when we fix the stuff causing them problems, and these programs give us a chance to do better. Anyway, as I was thinking about this, I almost forgot that I already described the role of test in dealing with this data almost a year ago when we created the tester personas on http://testercenter.

Here are some excerpts from “Alecha – the product line customer advocate”

Alecha is skilled at knowing the needs and attributes of her customers.  She has a knack for seeing things from the customer point of view, but also works closely with program management and marketing to verify her assumptions and clear up ambiguity. She analyzes data from various tools that track customer data and makes sure that the testing effort focuses primarily on customer scenarios and customer pain points. She is also one of the key drivers in determining how these tools are used for her product.

She is well versed in customer focused design techniques and works with the appropriate cross discipline owners to apply these techniques across the product. She is concerned with all aspects of the customer experience including usability, reliability, security, performance and general product effectiveness. Alecha spends a lot of time working with other team members to ensure everyone maintains that customer connection that enables her team to create a quality product that the customer wants and needs.

Doesn’t Alecha sound likes she kicks butt? The problem is, that I don’t think we have enough Alecha’s in test. We have testers who can analyze data, and we have testers that recognize customer pain points, but we have relatively few that can put it all together and make a significant impact.

Alecha – where are you?