Creating a Culture of Quality in Scrum


Photo by Ashley Burton

Eric Nusbaum, one of our community members and a Dallas Agile Leadership Network board member, presented on how to create a culture of quality in scrum–a very popular topic based on the 100+ RSVPs we received!  The keys are in the team culture, bringing QA and development together, and communicating the value of quality.  Failure is never a team’s goal, but failures happen; a leader’s reaction to such failures affect the culture of the team.  Eric referred to a great quote by Thomas Edison on his many failures in inventing the light bulb:

Young man, why would I feel like a failure?  And why would I ever give up?  I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work.  Success is almost in my grasp.

So how do we talk about failure in our organizations?  Tests will fail (sometimes by design), builds will be broken… let’s establish a culture where failure encourages learning.  In scrum, the entire team is responsible for the quality of the product.  But in many organizations developers and QA are still considered separate groups, and leaders need to break down those barriers to bring them together on teams.  Then Eric reviewed the Agile Testing Quadrants, and afterwards we broke into multiple groups to discuss how each role contributes to quality.  Whether a person was on the team or not, he could contribute to or influence quality.

Eric reminded us that change is not easy and covered the Satir change model with the group, then tackled some of the challenges faced when trying to create a culture of quality within a team.  All in all, it was a great session!  Eric kindly uploaded his presentation deck for us to share, and he provided some additional resources for further reading:… – Steven Smith’s blog has a really great article talking about the Satir Change Process Model with a more in-depth look at the five stages.… — Brian Marick’s original (WAAAY BACK) post about the Four Quadrants of Agile Testing and his plan on how to approach them. – James Bach’s site that really talks a lot about Exploratory Testing and how to approach it. – Cem Kaner literally wrote the book on software testing (or at least the best selling one of all time).… – Roy Osherove’s blog on MSDN with really great information on Unit Test Theory and Methodology. – Elisabeth Hendrickson great author who has some fantastic blog posts about TDD and Agile Testing methodologies.


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