Originally published at SQABlogs on { 03:18, 2007-Feb-15 } { Posted in Software Testing}

Some freshers asked me what is a Competency Center or a Center of Excellence and what it does. I can understand that for many it is still a vague term and does not make much sense except that it is group of people of similar technical competencies who meet often, prepare presentations etc. etc. Up to an extent, it is true. And in fact, I have seen different variations of CoE in different organizations I have worked with. Well, I cannot really describe all those here.

A Center of Excellence is a group of people of varied technical competencies that work as a team and towards a goal of leveraging their competencies across the organization for different engagements.  In this article, we will be focusing on Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE).

A Testing Center of Excellence centralizes all testing resources, their capabilities and the processes in order to provide one-stop shop experience to different engagements of the organization.

A TCoE not only brings the human capabilities together, it also centralizes various testing methodologies and processes spread across different engagements of the organization. This provides the organization an edge over other organizations that do not have a group specifically working as a team towards achieving an objective. On the other hand, clients of a CoE get the benefit of getting best services from specialists of a particular domain.

A TCoE is normally consists of following:

1.     People
2.     Automation Tools
3.     Domain Expertise
4.     Policies & Processes
5.     Best Practices Databases

Since People make the most important part of the CoE, this group may include:

  • Head of Testing Division
  • Test Managers
  • Test Architects
  • Test Automation Experts
  • Test Leads
  • Domain Experts
The CoE group may or may not have a coordinator depending upon the requirement and the size of the organization.  If there is a need of coordinating various activities of the Testing within the division or the organization, a Test Coordinator works as a facilitator for those divisions to achieve the common objective.

About Test Team Members, they are not directly involved with TCoE, but they are involved in dotted lines and whenever there is a need of some specialization that is available among team members, it can be used.