So while our profession starts to divert towards the promises of Innovation and Social Responsibility, a portion of our natural domain is left "undefended". Consider the IT industry (software, systems, technology, automation, etc.).
In this field, Quality is still synonymous with Software Testing. A job posting for a QA role seeks someone with testing experience or product development capabilities in various programming languages - a very tactical role. Often, developers or analysts are relegated to testing in order to build their skill set to a point where their product familiarity qualifies them to develop or conduct analysis for product development.
Those positions which relate to management systems or continuous improvement, areas which should be the natural constituency of Quality, are instead earmarked for those with Project Management or IT Governance backgrounds. The Project Management Professional (PMP) designation is explicitly required for many Quality roles within the software industry, even though Quality comprises less than 10% of the PMP Body of Knowledge.
While the Quality profession embarks on new pursuits, it must also reinforce and fortify its areas of competency.
- Limiting ourselves to tactical roles is not an option, as it will prevent our profession from the necessary advancement and growth to attract long-term involvement.
- Pursuing speculative and loosely defined competencies like Innovation and Social Responsibility will build a foundation for future endeavors, but will not address present and immediate needs for career and professional development.
As professionals it is not enough to possess knowledge. We must assert our presence and reposition our role to take on greater influence and responsibility, moving from tactical control roles to more influential executive and governance responsibilities. As Quality Professionals, we have the capability and skill set to raise our profile, embrace those areas which should be within our natural scope, and fulfill the promise and potential of our noble profession.