From QA Novice to QA Champion: Our Journey to Excellence in Software Development

Smart Solutions Group doesn't just want to succeed. SSG wishes to contribute to the QA culture in the territory of Azerbaijan.
The company committed to building a proficient QA team, hiring individuals with little to no experience in the field. Embracing a mentorship model, the QA team became a hub of learning and growth. This unique strategy challenged conventional hiring norms, proving that dedication and a commitment to continuous learning can cultivate talent from within.

The QA team spearheaded organizational changes, setting the stage for company-wide adoption of best practices. They were the first to embrace Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and Individual Development Plans (IDPs). This openness to innovation and change positioned the QA team as trailblazers within the company.

Today, SSG boasts separate automated and manual testing teams within its QA department, comprising over 15 QA professionals supporting a team of 30 developers. The journey doesn't end here; the company remains dedicated to continuous learning, growth, and the application of best practices.
In the fast-paced world of software development, quality assurance (QA) plays a pivotal role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality products that meet user expectations. However, for many companies, particularly those in emerging markets with limited exposure to QA expertise, establishing a strong QA culture can be a challenging endeavor.

This is the story of our company, a product IT company based in Azerbaijan. As we experienced rapid growth and an increasing number of bugs, we realized the urgent need to establish a dedicated QA team and cultivate a QA-driven culture within our organization.

We were unaware of the importance of QA in ensuring software quality, and our development process lacked a formal QA structure. This resulted in a proliferation of bugs and a less-than-ideal user experience.

The realization that QA was essential for our company's success prompted us to embark on a journey to transform our software development process.

We sought out individuals with a passion for quality and a knack for identifying and resolving software defects. Despite the limited pool of QA professionals in Azerbaijan, we were fortunate to assemble a team of highly motivated and skilled individuals.

With the arrival of the QA lead, the company received a comprehensive education on the significance of QA in software development. The QA lead explained the nuances of both automation and manual testing, offering insights on how to identify, cover, and resolve issues effectively. This marked the beginning of a transformative journey.

The QA lead took a holistic approach, reshaping the company's development and product delivery processes. Every stage of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) became an integral part of the QA strategy, enabling the identification and rectification of gaps and mistakes. The company embraced this change, giving the QA lead the freedom to implement what he deemed right—a decision that would prove instrumental in their success.

We adopted a collaborative approach, involving our QA team from the early stages of product development. This enabled them to provide valuable input on requirements, design, and implementation, ensuring that quality considerations were embedded throughout the development lifecycle.
Vugar Jafarov
QA & Testing Engineer - Supervisor
We elevated the role of QA within our organization, ensuring that our QA team was a visible and valued contributor. We gave them a seat at the table during planning and decision-making processes, recognizing their expertise and contributions to the overall success of our software development initiatives.
QA: A Visible and Valued Contributor
● 80% reduction in the number of bugs in production.
● 15% increase in customer satisfaction.
● 20% reduction in time to market for new products.
Key Achievements:
Our journey to raising QA culture has been a transformative experience. We have emerged as a QA-driven organization, committed to delivering high-quality software that meets the needs of our customers. We encourage other companies to embrace QA as a strategic advantage and embark on their own QA transformation journey.
● QA is an essential investment for any software development company.
● QA should be an integral part of the development process from the outset.
● Collaboration and communication are cornerstones of a successful QA program.
● Automated testing can significantly enhance testing efficiency and effectiveness.
● A culture of continuous improvement is essential for achieving excellence.
● QA should be a visible and valued component of the organization.
Lessons Learned:
SSG doesn't just want to succeed; it aspires to contribute to the broader QA culture in Azerbaijan. By sharing its story and best practices, the company aims to inspire others in the industry to embrace QA, fostering a culture of excellence and innovation.
Contributing to QA Culture in Azerbaijan: