Welcome to the 11th installment of My Crusade for Agility. In my ten previous posts I’ve discussed just about everything I can think of relating to championing agile adoption at my place of employment. This is a very exciting installment because we just finished our first development sprint. We definitely have room for improvement. This week was a very unfortunate week to be ending a sprint, and maybe last week was an equally bad week to start one for lots of reasons.
The reason that this was an unfortunate timing for a first sprint is because:
QA testing is a very important thing that needs to happen. Since we finished the development work with 2 days left we, the developers, could take off our developer hats and put on QA tester hats, however developers don’t make good QAs. I say that because if I write some code, then QA test that same code there is a good chance that I am going to be aware of the brittle bits and intentionally avoid them. The whole “switching hats” idea that I mentioned before starts to seem pretty waterfall-ish. We do not currently have a dedicated QA testing team member, hopefully we will one day.
I think our biggest issue that needs to be resolved, at this point, is our broken feedback loop between completing development and QA testing. The reason that loop is broken is pretty obviously a gap in staffing. There just isn’t anyone at our disposal who can dedicate their time to quality assurance. Unfortunately, adding to staff is completely out of my control (not a responsibility that I want, btw).
Finally, because I’m going on vacation our retrospective is probably going to be delayed. I think it would be ideal to deliver all of the QA tested and signed-off-on changes sometime on the 9th day of the sprint, have the retro meeting that afternoon or on the morning of the final day then demo everything on the final day. That, unfortunately, is not going to work out this time (for me at least - maybe this is something that the rest of the team will do while I’m gone).
At the end of the day, and the end of this post, I think sprints are going to be a huge win for my team. Adding a full time QA team member would help improve our process significantly, but in the meantime there are plenty of things that we can improve. I plan to write more about our first sprint after we have discussed it as a team, so tune in next time for the 12th edition of My Crusade for Agility.