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Agile Testing

Accelerate Your Development Speed – Built In Quality

“Inspection does not improve the quality, nor guarantee quality. The inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product. Quality cannot be inspected into a product or service; it must be built into it.” – W. Edwards Deming.
A big number of bugs that are discovered in testing processes are easy to prevent. The fact that such bugs are discovered at the testing stage, which is usually at the end of the process, shows that the developers did not perform primary quality check of their work. This wastes the time of both testers and developers, reduces motivation and efficiency, and slows development. The costs go up significantly as a bug moves through traditional SDLC. For example, IBM estimates that if a bug costs $100 to fix in the Gathering Requirements phase, it would be $1,500 in the QA testing phase and $10,000 once in Production.
While we can’t expect to test everything and go our entire lives deploying a product that’s 100% error-free, we can make strides to safeguard software as best we can. Built-In Quality is a core principle of the Lean-Agile mindset. It helps avoid the cost of delays associated with the recall, rework, and defect fixing. The Built-In Quality philosophy applies Systems Thinking to optimize the system, ensuring a fast flow across the entire value stream, and makes quality everyone’s job. Built-In Quality practices ensure that each solution element, at every increment, meets appropriate quality standards throughout development.
One way to drive forward Built-In Quality is to adopt the Zero Bugs approach.
Without Zero Bugs approach, you typically have the overhead and increasing cost of fix, as well as a culture in which people are used to bugs being a standard part of their environment which only makes the backlog of bugs grow (the broken window theory).

Zero Bugs Approach means applying a policy where the team keeps a very low (optimally zero)  threshold of open bugs. Once the threshold is reached, the team “Stops the line” and fixes the bug(s). Developers and Testers are pairing and therefore part of the bugs isn’t even reported in the bugs management tool and is fixed immediately. There is no Severity indication as a bug is a bug. Once you implement the Zero Bugs approach, you will no longer have to manage and prioritize a never ending backlog of bugs.
Progression bugs, which are related to new functionality, are fixed immediately as part of the Story Definition of Done. Regression bugs are negotiated with the Product Owner who decides whether to fix the issue or to obsolete it. If the fix doesn’t risk the iteration, the bug will be fixed immediately. If it might risk the iteration, then the PO prioritizes the bug vs. the team’s backlog,  and the bug will be fixed at the latest as top priority of the next iteration.
The Zero Bugs approach is just one of many ways to install a Built-In Quality culture and to shift left the quality awareness.
AgileSparks offers a 1-day Built In Quality course for tech leads that covers how leading software companies are changing their approach to quality, in order to achieve speed and continuous delivery. This course pushes the boundaries of the quality mindset and challenges the thinking about quality ownership within the team.

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Insights

Forward Looking Kanban Board

The Kanban method is built around improving the flow of product development. It works very well when you work according to priority. It also works well when some items have schedule constraints. When many items have schedule constraints this becomes an issue.

The Motive

I was having a discussion with one of my clients and they raised the issue that what was going on wasn’t clear. Immediately I thought of setting up a Kanban board. However, when we started to do that it became clear that the main issue is how to commit to clients about deliveries.

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Agile Mindset

Keeping The PI Planning Momentum

In his book, “Confessions of a Public Speaker,” Scott Berkun tells us that when speaking, once the lights go out, you have everyone’s attention. Then you need to fight to avoid attrition.

In a similar fashion, at the end of the SAFe PI Planning event you have the entire organization’s attention (read more about it in a small post I published some time ago called “PI Planning Magic!”), and as time passes you start losing it.

The question is how do you keep this attention and energy, climaxed at the final confidence vote where everyone raises their hands to indicate their belief in the plan, throughout the Program Increment (PI).

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Agile Leadership

Experiencing Self-Selection of feature teams

Lately I had the opportunity and pleasure to facilitate a process of designing cross-functional feature teams in a self-selection process. Self-selection is a facilitated way to let people choose which team to work in. It is surprising how rare this practice is sometimes even considered eccentric while practically it is a simple and fast and produces such great results – well-formed teams with more involved and engaged people.

Why teams self-selection?

It’s a fast engaging process that creates the best conditions for a team to reach high performance.

It’s based on the assumption that with the appropriate context, people will choose to work in a team that they feel will make them be most productive, taking into account the personal relationships with the other team members, the complementary skills they bring and their aspirations for personal and professional development.

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Agile Mindset

How To Keep Development Scope From Growing Wild

A big problem with a garden is that it doesn’t stop growing. And so does the scope of a software development project.

A lot of effort is invested by gardeners in fighting the growing garden. They are constantly weeding, pruning, and trimming to control how the garden looks and to make sure it best serves its purpose.

How much are you investing in weeding your scope?

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Agile Mindset

The Critical Difference Between Backlog and To Do (Kanban, Scrum)

When we build a kanban board to manage our work (either practicing Kanban or Scrum) we usually create a Backlog list (usually the first column) and a To Do list (following the Backlog). I’ve noticed that many times the separation between the two is artificial and people don’t always understand the critical difference between the two. I’d like to discuss it here.

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Flow

Avoiding Over Utilization Field Trip

Reinersten’s Book The Principles of Product Development Flow) that when you avoid overutilization (that is, use less than 100% capacity) a system (like a road or a scrum team) that handles items with variation (like cars or stories for software) you get better cycle time – that is, items flow faster through the system.

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Flow

Why “Cost of Delay”?

Don Reinerstern in his book “The Principles of Product Development Flow” writes about the importance of having an economic view when making decisions. This is because we are usually developing products to improve our financial standing (and even if it is not for “making money” but rather for nobler reasons, still there is the economic view).

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Agile Mindset

The Agile Theater

We’ve all seen it. It’s quite an elaborate show with Scrum Masters, Sprint Planning, Daily Standups, Secret handshakes, a lot of artifacts, ceremonies, roles. The recent “broadway”-level productions include bigger pictures, more roles, artifacts.

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