Wednesday, April 10, 2013

For Your Quality Customers, Add Value with Every Change

Who are your customers?

Of course, you’re developing software for the end user. The other members of your team are the first customers though.

I’ve written about many techniques of advanced software quality that can reduce risk and strengthen your quality story. This is how the Test team can best add value and make the Devs more productive, meaning that you can ship faster and with lower risk!

To inspire trust and reduce risk to the team, every change set that goes into the product must add quality value, that is, information about the quality of the product.

The problem is, very few software projects are starting anew. Most have some quality infrastructure, maybe some copy/pasted scripts, maybe a set of test cases that are run manually. The team members are customers of this existing infrastructure.

So, existing quality assets such as these must be maintained or replaced. At every change to documents are code, value is added, never taken away.

This is important for the same reason that failures in test code, or failures that are perceived as being due to test failures, must be fixed ASAP: the quality knowledge of the product must always advance and improve. If it does not advance, due to dropped coverage from “old” test infrastructure or tests that fail so often they’re perceived as not worth fixing, then parts of the product are not tested anymore, and knowledge of and stability of the product is lost. This kind of project rot must be avoided.

Every change and every addition to product quality infrastructure, no matter how sophisticated, agile, actionable, self-reporting etc. must add to existing knowledge of the product.
This makes a strong and productive team: mutual respect and attention to keeping the quality moving forward.

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