Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Who Assures Quality?

Who “assures quality” on your projects?

Who assures quality? Is it the team of testers are left out of conversations when features are first being discussed, instead of providing their valuable input on overall complexity, risk, and their impact on business value? That same team of testers who aren’t co-located with developers and do work in parallel, instead of pairing up with devs as the work is being done? Those testers who work on testing as an event after development is complete instead of working on testing as a constant activity starting long before developers write code?

Who assures quality? Is it the team of developers who get technical solutions handed to them instead of being involved in determining how to deliver business value? That same team who spend time fighting organizational-mandated friction-inducing processes instead of focusing on writing code? Those same developers who are pressured in to shipping code faster versus supported in learning how to build well-crafted code that’s maintainable and lends itself to fast delivery of value?

Who assures quality? Is it your business analysts and program/project managers who are told to act as customer proxies without having true, constant interaction with those humans who have real needs? Those same BAs/PMs who are constantly re-directed by management who thinks that “Agile” is an excuse for poor planning?

Who assures quality? None of these folks I just spent half a page talking about.

The only person/role/group that assures quality is the people who write the checks for the work being done. The stakeholder is the sole person/role/group that can assure quality.

Stakeholders assure quality in many ways, including:

  • Providing enough funding to ensure each role (PM/BA, dev, tester) is adequately staffed
  • Giving enough time on the schedule to allow systems to be built in a solid, maintainable fashion
  • Ensuring project teams have the resources (resources, damnit, NOT people) to do their jobs
  • Working out a reasonable priority for value, and not reprioritizing at a whim

Delivery teams help the stakeholder assure quality by:

  • Providing useful information to the stakeholder about the project’s state
    • Useful information, NOT counts of bugs, number of test cases, lines of code, etc., etc.
  • Ensuring the stakeholder knows the impacts of reprioritizations and scope changes
    • Also, understanding that those changes are often actually important
  • Holding each other accountable to creating high-value, well-built systems


I’m far from the first person to write about this. I’m just the guy who woke up today with several mails in my Inbox that touched on this subject.

Go back to work now. Have a conversation about value in production, and what that really means. Then go ship value. It feels good. Honest.

No comments:

Subscribe (RSS)

The Leadership Journey