Posts Tagged ‘DoD’

Quality is not absolute

2009-05-25

   I have heard a lot of people talking about the execution of tasks related to quality and many absolute rules on the subject.

   I always hear about the subject on rigid terms and I don’t think people really ponder the variables related to the subject.

   First, a brief introduction on the polemic subject:

   A team wants to do a task that is related to the quality of the code, let’s say, improve the unit test coverage. On one side, people say this is part of doing the tasks, and are not open to discussion. The team should just goes ahead and do it. On the complete opposite side, there is a pressure from the customer to have the product ready within a certain time-frame and he does not care about quality.

   Similar discussions are something that can be seen on a day-to-day basis in most projects, and in my view, putting it simply like I did above is very one-dimensional and limiting.

   From the little I learned from manufacturing industry, for every material, there are different quality standards demanded by the factories from their vendors. There is a definition on what is the quality standard prior to production, and depending on the usage of the material, the standards are different.

   Suppose you are buying steel to build a popular vehicle, your iron needs to be assessed under a series of tests so you can be ensured that the car will be safe to the general population. If the iron is to be used in a formula 1, the requirements and the quality level must be much more demanding.

   The formula 1 will be running above 300Km/h under extreme g forces, and the popular car will not. It does not make sense to use the same quality on both cases.

   I once visited a rice farm in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, here in Brasil. The rice farmed there goes into different rice brands in the supermarket, and those different brands sell with different prices and quality standards. The top brand comes from that farm, and also some not so good brands. And when you look at the rice, it came from the same farm, but they do not have the same quality.

   One of the brands go through extra processing, leaving only top quality grain in the shipping. The other does not, and is of course cheaper.

   With this, my point is that quality is not an absolute concept. Quality must be adequate to the purpose it serves!

   The company producing software must determine standards for quality that the team must maintain rationally. The team must have the freedom to maintain the agreed level of quality, but not above that. If the PO pressures you to go below the “minimum” level of quality, the ScrumMaster must defend the team so they can do their job and the technological deficit is held bellow a certain level.

   If the team wants to do a task that goes above the required level of quality, that decision IS up to the PO. It does not matter if the Team is capable of delivering NASA quality when you need to do a short lived system for a small marketing campaign.

   It is important to be mindful, there is a minimum, and everyone must try to understand what that minimum is. Lots of times, this minimum comes in the discussion of the Definition of Done, and sometimes on non-funcional requirements on the ProductBacklog.

   On the first example I gave, the team improving unit tests, if the agreed coverage is 80%, and the team has 80% but wants to spend a week getting it to 95%, it must have the involvement of the PO.

   If the level was 75%, below what was agreed upon as the minimum level of quality, then there is no discussion, it must be done or else the task itself is not Done.

   This minimum does depend on the project, and going above it, if it is not effort free, must have the agreement of the client. That’s how I see it.

Scrum Gathering Lectures Part I

2009-05-20

In this post I continue my comments on the lectures I attended to at the “Scrum Gathering 2009 Brazil”.

  • Scrum e a crise mundial: Por que Scrum é a melhor opção para projetos em tempos de crise  – Rafael Sabbagh PUC Rio and Marcos Garrido – Palm I (Morning Session of the 12th)
       The presentation seemed closely related to the future dissertation of Rafael Sabbagh and Marcos Garrido, both doing their Masters in PUC Rio. The main line was that Scrum is easier to sell to clients in times of crisis, and this is a particular good time to do that.   On the good side, it was one of the few presentations with low demand on the knowledge of Scrum from the people watching. The bad, in my opinion, was that the presentation did not really define itself as being directed to clients or as being directed to the sales force. I also missed the traditional graphic with the ROI over time.

 

The early delivery of value by using Scrum.   

The early delivery of value by using Scrum.

   I also think that the theme itself is very relevant but kind of bold because the presenters are not from the sales department. As a personal, very personal choice, I would not dare do this without most of the slides coming from the commercial department.
   After the presentation the discussion was very good, and kept going and going, no one wanted to leave the room.

  • Keynote Address – Ken Schwaber, co-founder Scrum & President Scrum Alliance – Grand I & II (Virtual Presentation)
     
       It was one of the usual presentations from Ken Schwaber. Usual to him, awesome to the rest of us! The crowd went wild when in a question (pinning Ken versus the PMI presentation earlier) where Ken answered that the project was done by the ProductOwner, ScrumMaster and the Team, so, there was no place for a Project Manager. 
       Of course the ScrumMaster is a Project Manager, but it was a great stunt that few are capable of pulling out. There was lots of cheering in the audience here.
    We also did the command & control exercise following Ken’s instructions. It was done to illustrate the power of self-management, and this often gets me thinking that at the end of the day Ken is all about being ethical in the workplace. The exercise itself was kind of awkward because most of the audience had done it already. 
    Bottom line, if you get the chance to see him speaking, don’t miss it. It’s simple, not pretentious, very valuable and, to some extent entertaining.
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  • Usando DoD (Definition of Done) para amadurecer a qualidade do produto  – Gustavo Coutinho, Provider, e Luciano Felix, CSP Especializa Treinamentos – Palm II
       This presentation was about the Definition of Done and it’s correlation to the technological deficit created during the execution of most projects. The approach of the presentation seemed to follow the actual thinking process the guys at Provider Sistemas went through it respect to the DoD.
       It makes it look tough, like the Definition of Done became a major item for them as can be seen on slide 31 with DoD at the center of the Scrum Activities. My view is that they like this part of Scrum best and it really works for them.
       In the presentation there is a suggestion of DoD multi-levels where there are requirements for the tasks, the Sprint and the Release. My view is that the DoD levels referring to the Sprint and the Release should be tasks, and enforced by the ScrumMaster because it relates to the company culture. Generally speaking, these are technological deficits that they think make sense grouping by each Sprint or Release. This is the case of a full integration of the software where they might do it only once in a Sprint.
       In any case, my observation does not mean any change in the actual tasks, only on how to call them because they “made up” a new taxonomy where as in my view there was no need to (If it works, that’s what matters).
       On the second part of their presentation, they introduce one group dynamics exercise designed to find out good items for the DoD for a project or as standards for a company. It’s really worth a look. Check out their presentation on the link above.