4 things you're getting wrong about quality in agile (and how to get them right)

Quality in agile - that's supposed to happen organically, right? We have processes and activities that are supposed to build quality in and involve the whole team in quality. We sprinkle in some agile magic and abracadabra! We have quality! Right? Wrong.

I'm here to state a potentially controversial opinion that building a quality product requires a dedicated focus on quality across your organization, especially as your organization grows and you try to scale your processes. In particular, if you're doing these things in the name of 'quality', you need to just stop. Maybe not stop doing those things, but stop thinking they completely address quality in your product. Instead, you might want to try building quality into your organization, not just your product.

I'll tell you the story of Olo as we doubled in size (from < 40 to about 80) and how we recognized the need for consistent messaging and processes around quality across our engineering department and how we revamped our focus on quality without resorting to waterfall.

 
 

Outline/Structure of the Talk

This is a new presentation! I anticipate a fairly traditional presentation format, with opportunities for attendees to share experiences either with the whole group or in small groups (depends on room setup). Of course, I'll list the 4 things as humorously as I can, and then highlight one by one how Olo has either re-interpreted or re-invented the practice. Time for questions/discussion at the end.

Learning Outcome

Attendees will leave with the overwhelming urge to immediately examine their current approach to quality and take action to elevate their quality game.

They will understand that processes and ceremonies do not build in quality unless 'quality' is defined at an organizational level and the processes and ceremonies have a quality focus.

They will have 4 specific changes they can consider applying to their organization.

Target Audience

Scrum Masters, Agile Testers, QA Engineers, QAManagers, Engineering Managers

Prerequisites for Attendees

Attendees who are struggling to scale their approach to quality will benefit the most from this presentation. Attendees who are new to incorporating quality in their agile practices will also benefit.

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

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  • Lynn Winterboer
    By Lynn Winterboer  ~  10 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi JoEllen - Thanks for submitting!  Please share the 4 specific changes you are going to recommend. Slides would be really helpful.  

    Thanks!

    Lynn

    • JOELLEN CARTER
      By JOELLEN CARTER  ~  10 months ago
      reply Reply

      The 4 things you're getting wrong:

      1.  You're not talking about quality.  You're talking about definition of done, you're talking about sprints, and velocity, and all the agile things, but not directly about quality and what it means to your business.

      2.  You're focused on automated tests as a magic bullet. Automated tests at best are a change detector.  At their worst, they are invisible work with no accountability for results.  

      3. You have team members who are focused on testing but not on improving product quality outside of testing. 

      4.  You're not measuring quality so you can't improve it.  Likewise, you can't develop a plan to improve it, or to celebrate its improvement.

      How to get them right:

      1. Develop a culture of quality.  Have a consistent, cohesive quality vision for your organization and execute at the team level against that vision.  

      2. Articulate your automated test strategies in the same way you would articulate any architecture, framework, or language strategy.  Make executing the strategy a visible, team-owned activity.

      3.  Empower the testers on your agile teams to become quality advocates - to advocate for a consistent approach to quality across the organization.

      4.  Measure the aspects of quality that matter to your organization at the organizational level.  

       

      Lynn,

      I don't have slides.  As I mentioned, this is a new presentation and requires a bit of work.  I understand you need to see more to make sure you're providing good content to attendees.  I appreciate your consideration regardless of the outcome.


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