HBO’s Westworld and Your QA

Fans of HBO’s newest hit series Westworld might love it for the suspense and intrigue, but technology and marketing geeks can also appreciate the emphasis on quality assurance at the sci-fi theme park.  In the world imagined by co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, QA is a department that shares equal power with the development teams in Behavior.

Elevate the role of quality assurance staff…

It’s an interesting take on the oft-repeated notion that quality can’t be inspected into the end of a project, sometimes known as the “shift left philosophy.”  Real-life companies can take a lesson from the show by considering organizational structures that elevate the role of quality assurance staff and view them as equal partners with developers and other implementation teams.

This partnership approach will help in two critical ways.  First, it will highlight quality needs from the first to the last stages of every project.  This simple structural change should not be underestimated — simply ensuring that there is adequate time in a project plan for proper testing will be a big help for some organizations struggling with quality.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, projects will benefit from a broader diversity of skills.

QA professionals can offer a different perspective than project managers, developers, designers, etc.  This helps improve the overall results by broadening the resources available and integrating fresh ideas early in the project lifecycle.  It will also help ensure that the specifications and other early-stage assets are fully in line with the user requirements and the overall goals of the project.

Following the proper testing scripts might not prevent a robo-apocalypse…

Of course, Westworld also indicates a few potential pitfalls for either not listening to your QA team or bypassing testing protocols entirely.  In the early episodes. the initial impetus for the story was the premature deployment of the enhancement that allowed the hosts to experience “reveries.”  Anthony Hopkin’s Dr. Ford character inserted a few lines of code immediately prior to release and the full regression testing wasn’t performed.  While most of us are managing websites, apps, or marketing campaigns instead of  potentially murderous robots, the lesson should still resonate:  Nothing should be deployed without following all applicable testing protocols, and even small, seemingly innocuous changes to code can have negative repercussions.

While following the proper testing scripts might not prevent a robo-apocalypse, it can certainly improve the experience of your customers.

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3 comments

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    poker | 5 months ago Reply

    First off I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I've had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Appreciate it!

    ca cuoc bong da | 5 months ago Reply

      Great question; I think it is going to be different for everyone, but personally I try not to worry about having all of the details worked out in advance. I try to start with a simple idea and then just write what comes to me from there, figuring you can always go back and edit. Thanks for your kind words and good luck.

      ChristianTwisteAdmin | 5 months ago Reply

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