There is a common view that Quality Assurance is restricted to larger companies like Banks, Utilities, and Telecommunications organisations. This view is misleading: Startups, Small Companies and Not-for-profit groups also need QA. As a matter of fact, in many ways they need it more than some of the larger companies because larger companies have the resources to recover from a problem and often have the reputation to ride out many issues that could flatten a small company. A Startup or Small Business is often riding on limited dollars, time and staff and does not have the resources to recover from a large problem that could affect their product or their reputation.
Quality Assurance that a smaller organisation needs does differ from that of a larger organisation. A large organisation requires Quality Assurance processes and procedures that will allow it to continue in business while minimizing the risk to their existing systems. A smaller organisation requires Quality Assurance processes and procedures that allow it to react rapidly to market requirements and grow quickly if necessary. A small organisation does not usually need extensive Quality Control or Software Testing – they know their product inside and out and and can quickly make changes as required. Startups or small businesses need Quality Assurance that ensures that any changes made fall directly in-line with the long term growth plan of the company and the product. This might involve some of the following:
- Design considerations for the product to allow for future growth
- Guidelines on how enhancements are going to be added to the product so that the overall product direction is not lost
- Coding standards to ensure future flexibility of growth
None of the above require a huge investment in time or resources (both of which are usually in short supply in a new company). They just require some consideration and the discipline to go back every few months and make sure they are effective and efficient.