CHOW #22– Firefighters cry for help

Nitin is a director in a large company responsible for many applications. Business is highly demanding in requests for changes in response to market feedback as well as to test their ideas.

Nitin’s teams have started following agile from the last couple of years – and things have improved. Especially in understanding why requirements have come in and visibility into the impact that business hopes to create in the market.

However, there is frequent tension too – while there is acknowledgement that teams are trying their best, releases often contain defects that must have been noticed earlier, and no defect fix seemed permanent. Businesses have complained that issues that they thought were fixed re-surfaced later causing much embarrassment with end customers. There is a huge sense of disappointment that agile adoption has not delivered on its promise.

Teams are trying out different things, especially focusing on improving test coverage; but data preparation for testing is difficult and takes up time from experienced manual testing staff. Deployments are always a heroic effort – even with detailed checklists. There is a lingering bitter feeling of development teams failing on their promise for defect free deliveries and slow progress.

Nitin has decided to take  a deep breath and look at it with a fresh eye? What do you suggest him to explore?

Suggested solution:

A few things that Nitin could start immediately are:
1. Get his teams to understand critical paths in his application stack for the business and improve automation coverage in those paths. Teams must get the automation suite to run in development against builds as regularly as possible. This should give developers and testers adequate time to react to any inadvertent impacts to fixes they already create

2. A longer term movement towards DevOps; streamlining the flow of software from requirement to development to operations will be useful. Such a movement will cover quality of data, build automation, test automation coverage, automation of application deployments and environment automation. Nitin must take a progamme approach to DevOps

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