Build Quality In


A couple of months ago the good guys at LeanKit asked me to explain how we managed to get to Continuous Delivery in PaddyPower while I was working there.

I was very happy to do that and wrote the piece as a Guest blogger on their site. If you are interested you can find it here.

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7 thoughts on “Build Quality In

  1. Gus,
    I really like the tie-in between quality and continuous delivery. I’ve observed this benefit as well that smaller releases improve quality output for many reasons. I also liked the test environment and repeatable process focus.

    What really caught my attention was this statement – “We soon realized how much we had left to individual interpretation — and the extent to which this had caused most of the defects we found in quality control activities.” – and it’s proposed solution – “The more we improved the collaboration within the teams, the more the business knowledge grew within its members. This allowed for easier decision making”.

    Using Gherkin to define requirements has helped us to improve this communication and with achieving a more common understanding of what is intended and why, but there are still gaps in requirements. Cross-Functional teams have also helped a great deal. I am also helping us move towards “3 amigos” collaboration. What we still struggle with within these teams is recognizing assumptions for what they are, then questioning those assumptions until nothing relevant is left undiscovered. Although many team members may be questioning why internally, those questions may not be expressed for reasons relating to culture. I read the Lean Coffee article you linked in. What else have you found that works to encourage assumption questioning?

    I really appreciate your willingness to share your experience so readily.

    • Hi Terren, thanks for your feedback, really appreciated.
      I think you are on the right track as the “3 amigos” are the key to powerful questions. People with a different approach to work and how they see the product, working together, are very powerful and will generate important conversations.

      If the culture gets in the way, it can be an extra problem. At that point you need to try understand why people don’t ask the questions.

      Generally, it is a perceived lack of safety, but the reason might vary.

      To encourage questions, you need to show that it is safe to do so. If I am facilitating a meeting and somebody asks a question, sometimes somebody else will try to just to stop it because it is a “stupid question” or similar reason. In that case, I will make sure that the person that asks the question, gets heard, and gets the respect of the room. If people are afraid their questions will be considered “stupid” they won’t ask them.

      I also encourage asking questions by asking many myself, when people see that my questions are heard, they will feel safe to ask them themselves.

  2. Gus,
    Thanks for confirming the means to an end that I was considering. Asking a question can leave you vulnerable to ridicule, whether expressed or not, which can lead to insecurity, which can hinder future questioning, at least in the presence of others. An environment of safety will allow open questioning and expression.

    I plan to foster this safe environment within our team communications. Improved communications are critical to issue prevention. To your point, build quality in by preventing issues – prevent everything you can, detect everything else.

    I’ve found that your thinking really aligns well with my past experiences and current challenges. Thanks again.

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