A Forbes article describes how Tesla personalizes the driving experience for each of its customers. The vehicle can potentially reconfigure itself to an occupant’s preferences, based on the sensor data collected. The camera system in each car identifies and sizes up the occupants, adjusting the settings to optimize comfort and ease of use. This includes infotainment, suspension, braking, seat positioning, air conditioning vents, and more. Regular software updates further enhance the experience continually. It is no surprise then that Tesla has the highest customer satisfaction rating amongst all car manufacturers. Almost 91% of Tesla customers plan to buy another Tesla as their second car.
Tesla’s dynamic personalization product puts the user journey and experience at the center of product development. It rapidly deploys features based on the dynamic backlog generated by customer feedback, making it an excellent example of a product centric value delivery (PCVD) approach.
Tesla is showing the way forward for companies to deal with the ever-changing landscape of business where every company is constantly on the brink of being disrupted. The only way to stay ahead of the curve is to be agile and responsive to customer needs.
Why PCVD is an Optimal Approach to Ensure Continuous Value Delivery to the Customer
PCVD is a mindset and approach to product development that focuses on delivering value to customers, continuously and iteratively. This approach shifts the focus from meeting deadlines and budgets, to delivering value that meets the needs of customers at every touchpoint in their journey hence enabling customer-centricity across the value chain. It establishes a new system of organizing people, with an emphasis on continuously delivering value. It ensures a continuous workflow to product teams and delivers continuous value to end users. PCVD empowers teams to decide what is best for their product and customer while aligning the business strategy and the objectives and key results (OKRs) to software development and execution. If one is looking for a way to improve the product development process, PCVD is an excellent option to consider.
How to Structure Teams Under the PCVD Approach
The PCVD method of organizing people starts by understanding the customer journey, mapping the value stream to the user experience, and then aligning the team structure with the value stream. As against a project-centric model, in a PCVD model the team structure is organized around end-to-end user journeys. The business as well as planning, building, and running teams are all grouped around a specific user journey. This collaboration helps create products that are of growing value to customers.
The teams in a PCVD model are autonomous, outcome-focused, persistent, and cross-functional. They have the freedom to make decisions, take action and are focused on achieving specific outcomes. These teams are committed to seeing projects through to completion, bringing together people with different skills and expertise to get the job done right.
Differentiating the Role of Quality Engineering in PCVD
Collaborating with businesses: Quality engineering (QE) is the custodian of OKRs. This team leverages deep domain knowledge and collaborates with businesses to define OKRs. They also identify backlogs along with relevant IT and QE metrics and capabilities. The group product QE leads, and product QE analysts play a critical role across capability, feature, platform, and enabler teams to ensure perfect QE alignment with OKRs.
Simulating end-user personas: A QE team with a PCVD mindset simulates end-user personas while developing automated QE solutions. The focus is on the customer experience across the entire journey. This allows them not only to validate what has been developed, but also continuously enhance product backlogs.
Continuous feedback: It is imperative for QEs to provide immediate and continuous feedback to business and developers, for uninterrupted value flow to the end user. This can be achieved by leveraging AI and hyper-automation throughout the product lifecycle, and automating regression and progression testing to nearly 100%.
Quality Engineering in PCVD is a specialized function. Full-stack SDETs with multiple skillsets across programming, automation, site reliability engineering, data, and DevOps pipelines, are required for each Scrum team or agile pod to deliver this continuous value. Ideally, there are two SDETs for every 8 to10 members on an agile team or pod. Throughout multiple sprints, they are expected to implement the following (tools indicative):
- Behavior-driven development (BDD) and test-driven development (TDD) methodologies
- API and microservice automation using Catalon or SoapUI
- Functional UI automation using Java or Selenium
- Performance testing using JMeter or Load Runner
- Security testing using static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) tools
- Test data tools such as IBM Optim
- Continuous integration in the DevOps pipeline for uninterrupted testing
- Mobile quality engineering using Appium or Perfecto
- Overall test management using Zephyr or Jira
Modern-day end users are demanding and have high expectations of the products and services they use. One of Edward Deming’s 14 principles of quality management is, “build quality in”. It implies that automated tests should be triggered consistently at multiple levels (unit, component, integration, and acceptance) every time a change is made to the product. To achieve this and continuously deliver value to end users, it is essential to have an integrated quality engineering ecosystem in a product-centric value delivery operating model. This ecosystem should include SDETs, product QE leads, test environments, tools, and processes.