Let’s talk about a quality-driven approach instead
First, let me clarify that I’m highlighting a team’s focus here. Dates are important and dates will never go away. Our teams still need to meet our committed dates. Instead, I want to discuss the benefits of focusing on quality while managing to hit our dates.
Teams that focus on quality are more concerned with delivering software that is reliable, secure, and scalable. These teams often take a quality-driven approach to software development, focusing on testing, validation, and collaboration to ensure that the software meets the needs of stakeholders.
When the business wants to reduce time to market, it’s not easy to balance meeting deadlines with developing high-quality software. Quality-driven delivery teams take time to thoroughly test and validate their work before releasing it.
While this approach can give the perception that teams are slower, the proper set-up enables these teams to deliver better software that meets the needs of stakeholders. They also reduce the risk of technical debt and other long-term issues. Ultimately, a quality-driven approach can build a strong foundation for the success of the organization in the long-term.
Here are some signs that your teams are quality-focused.
Missing Coverage is a good metric to use to gauge the team’s focus (i.e., on date vs. quality).
For every release, the delivery team should work on ensuring that testable user stories/bugs have corresponding test cases associated with them. The “Missing Test Cases” metric should be as close to zero as possible. That’s a good indicator that the team is quality-focused: they’re doing proper sprint planning, with adherence to the right quality assurance processes.
Single Pane of Glass
Quality-related release metrics can be disjointed and require explanation. In order to create alignment between Delivery and Product/Business teams, create release-specific “Defect Removal Efficiency” (DRE) visuals.
The dashboard above shows not only the total number of issues, but also identifies potential defect leakage and process improvement opportunities. For example, delivery teams could look into Integration vs. Test environment delivery and quality processes to understand why the number of defects has doubled.
There are a number of additional graphs and charts that teams can use to visualize quality, but tracking coverage and DRE data typically allows teams to quickly pinpoint potential problem areas.
A large number of defects and missed deployments is usually a good indicator that teams are focused on date-driven delivery and rushed development. In the long run, this leads to a large amount of technical debt, unhappy customers and negative brand image.
Alternatively, teams that practice a quality-driven approach, allocate time to do proper design and focus on building and practicing a QA-first approach usually achieve predictability when it comes to delivery and quality.