The Cost of Quality: Agile vs. Traditional PM

Dr. Rico has been a leader in support of major U.S. government agencies for 25 years. He's led many Cloud, Lean, Agile, SOA, Web Services, Six Sigma, FOSS, ISO 9001, CMMI and SW-CMM projects. He specializes in IT investment analysis, portfolio valuation and organizational change. He's been an international keynote speaker, presented at leading conferences, written six textbooks and published numerous articles. He’s also a frequent PMI, APLN, INCOSE, SPIN and conference speaker. For more see

Code inspections are viewed as one of the most effective means of quality control among IT developers. They usually involve some sort of manual or static review of software source code before testing. They are an efficient means of finding software defects and result in high-quality software-based products and services. Today, they are a best practice among traditional software developers and explicitly appear as a formal phase or activity in the waterfall life cycle.

However, code inspections are an implicit, often unspoken best practice among agile project management teams. This silence has caused some people to question the quality control of the agile project management paradigm. Surprisingly, agile teams have not forgotten to mind the Ps and Qs of quality engineering--and not only continue to perform code inspections, but perform them more often. This results in even greater quality than traditional project management teams.

Code inspections are an effective means of quality control created by Michael E. Fagan of IBM in 1972. They are highly structured meetings in which a small group of peers are tasked with identifying as many defects as possible by reviewing software source code. Computer program statements are analyzed one at a time to identify as many defects before testing as possible. The use of dynamic debugging and testing alone is an inefficient means …

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'Human existence must be a kind of error. It may be said of it: "It is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens."'

- Arthur Schopenhauer



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