Monthly Archives: November 2014

World Quality Month at Valpak

In recognition of World Quality Month and as it pertains to Agile (of course), I’m posting for you a write-up from Valpak’s QA Manager that was published in our weekly internal newsletter, “Monday Memo”.

See how quality is making IT better

We continue to celebrate World Quality Month in November, the inspiration of the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Here’s another example of how quality is making our company better. This one comes to us from Carl Paret (Quality Assurance Manager) in our IT Department:

Ever since IT’s formal adoption of Agile methodology as its software development model three years ago, there has been a recalibration of how all involved should view quality. Similar to what Juneau Colleur described in her segment last week in Monday Memo on quality at the VMC, we too had to find a way to embed quality into our processes.

The notion that quality should be owned by everyone — not solely by individuals whose functional titles bear the word “quality” — is a concept that continues to be evangelized. Stephanie Davis (Director of Agile Leadership) and Jim Gaines (Business Analyst III) led the effort of having Business Analysts and Agile Project Leaders get better versed about concepts of Agile Acceptance Testing — where the team seeks to identify gaps at the time the work scope is being defined.

Under the direction of Bob Damato (Director of Software Engineering), Development Managers have their Developers adopt well-established, test-first development practices. Under this paradigm, they include code-level tests as they add or modify code modules so as to get quick feedback if changes they introduce cause unexpected failures elsewhere in the system. Meanwhile, the IT Quality Assurance team is increasing its use of automation testing tools to help execute tests faster and more reliably given our short iterative cycles.

As with the rest of our Agile journey, this evolution of quality is a work in progress, undergoing refinements as we learn from misses, and embracing what is proving successful. This, in the long-term, should only make us better and allow us to delight the customers for whom these applications are created.

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