One of the more popular reasons the Collaboration Leadership Team hears that their customers want to adopt Agile or Scrum is to increase quality. This is something Angela Johnson, Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach addresses in this post based on recent customer interactions.
Traditional System Development Life Cycles (SDLC) see Quality as a separate function, a separate department and position this activity at the end of this cycle. Beyond that, “user acceptance” is dead last after the people with the quality title have given the product their stamp of approval.
Agile methods such as Scrum do not see Quality as something one person or department is responsible for. It is seen simply as work we need to do within the Sprint in order to have a potentially shippable product increment.
The User’s Acceptance is not an afterthought, but rather we start with what their acceptance is capturing the Definition of Done at the beginning of the process. The team doing the work constantly tests or checks what they are building against this definition, thus moving quality up in the process. Testing is not seen as a one and done activity at the end.
This way, we adopt a mindset of preventing defects as opposed to hunting for them at the end. Many companies who hopped on the Waterfall movement or adopted SDLC wholeheartedly laid down physical infrastructure to “mirror” steps in that lifecycle and segregated people by activity. Structurally, this delays the delivery of business value since users or customers can only use the product when it’s in their hands. When it’s in a development environment, quality assurance environment, integration environment, etc. no value is being realized by the customer.
Waterfall certainly did not tell organizations to structure or to build out environments in this manner. Companies chose to do this to support the way they chose to work. Likewise if companies choose an Agile or Scrum way of doing work, they may want to revisit how they are structured and their environments as they may prohibit this new way of working.
In Scrum we look to the ScrumMaster to not only coach the team on working together to truly get to done but to also coach the Product Owner and to coach the Organization.
If you want to learn more about how Scrum moves quality up in the process, join us for the next Certified ScrumMaster workshop: click here to view our upcoming classes and register for our next CSM or CSPO course.