Managing Quality in Agile Projects: Your Three-Part Checklist

Paul Carvalho is dedicated to helping development teams deliver high levels of quality with confidence. He inspires collaborative, agile, test-infected teams with a holistic approach to quality. Paul launched the company, Quality Driven Inc, to bring his quality development experience and knowledge to individuals and organizations through consulting, training, coaching, writing and speaking internationally. Paul is passionate about understanding human ecosystems for delivering great products that satisfy and delight customers, which he finds to be a natural fit with the agile community. Connect with him through Quality-Driven.com and say hello on Twitter @can_test.

Managing quality during a software development project can be difficult and time consuming when you have been misinformed about true quality indicators and practices. Actively managing quality on an agile project can be both simpler and harder than traditional approaches. Why? Because we need to change some development practices, expand our idea of the development team and create new ways to provide valuable insights.

Here are some basic practices to save time and unnecessary rework, and improve stakeholder satisfaction before and after delivery.

The Nature of the Beast
The problem is that software development isn’t a simple construction project (like building a shed) where we already know what we’re doing and how to do it. Software development has us inventing new solutions with every system change, and trying to figure out how to not break all the previous solutions in the process.

In traditional waterfall projects, quality control takes the form of various checks, balances, metrics and review meetings. While some activities may be effective at preventing escaped defects, they are generally passive activities that happen only after some work has been done. Assigning numerical values and targets to some of these activities provides a false sense of hope and often have no correlation to the quality of the deliverables in production.

In contrast,…

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