Velocity vs. Quality: Tradeoff, Balance or Win-Win?
“Agile isn’t a speed play. If you play the game with integrity, passion and balance, it can become an awesome speed play. But (speed) isn’t free.” — Bob Galen
The velocity/quality conversation comes up at some point in all projects. The need to cut corners on quality to deliver more features (thus increased velocity) is due to factors like faster time to market, launching ahead of the competition or delivering functionalities more frequently for customers. Organizations also reduce velocity by increasing the development timeline to build more stable and quality products.
Project managers are often faced with these situations, and product owners often make decisions on balancing the need for both—but there is no silver bullet to achieve profound results by increasing both. Overall process improvement can certainly help in moving toward delivering great products with quality—and eventually lays the foundation for more frequent releases.
Releases can be made frequently given the extra capacity gained through continuous integration and development (tools adoption), thereby increasing velocity; or quality can be increased by paying down technical debts, fixing defects and stability issues with the product, etc.
Michael “Doc” Norton has spoken about three laws that influenced him while he was looking
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