No More QA

Companies have traditionally organized software-related activites in three silos: Dev, Test/QA, Operations.

The QA effort is realized after a long phase of development resulting in bug spikes and difficulties to plan the work for the development teams during this time.

When companies were engineering software “piecewise” this was the only way. Only when all pieces were finished could you integrate them and test features end-to-end. We’ve however now moved to an approach where products and teams are organized so that features can be delivered end-to-end incrementally. The whole product is engineered iteratively.

Evidences suggest that a centralized QA phase does not bring additional quality in this case, but rather actively harm quality.

As a result, they hired a VP of QA who set up a QA division. The net result of this, counterintuitively, was to increase the number of bugs. One of the major causes of this was that developers felt that they were no longer responsible for quality, and instead focussed on getting their features into “test” as quickly as they could.

There is no such thing as a devops team, Jez Humble

A similar story is explained in The Age of Agile about implementing agile organization at Microsoft.

There was a lot of learning at the start of the Agile transformation at Microsoft. “In the first sprints,“ says Bjork, “there was agreement on doing three-week sprints. The leadership signed off on the idea of Agile, but they were anxious as to how it was going to work. They planned for ‘a stabilization sprint’ after five sprints. However, that encouraged some teams to think, ‘No need to worry about bugs, because we have the stabilization sprint!’ A lot of bugs were generated and all the teams had to pitch in to help fix them.

“in effect,“ he says, “we had told people to do one thing, but we created an environment that prompted some teams to do the opposite. Who could blame them? The teams told us. ‘Don’t ever do that to us again!’ It was an example of unintended consequences.”

The Age of Agile, Stephen Denning,

For once, fixing the problem is easy. Just get rid of you QA phase (not the testers!). Make it clear that there is no additional safety net and that teams must ship features that are “done, done, done.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s