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Top 5 pitfalls that affect the product quality while introducing Agile

Mind these most widespread slip-ups when following the Scrum methodology.
16 August 2019
Agile
The article by a1qa
a1qa

According to the regular CollabNet VersionOne report, 97% of all projects are based on Agile methodologies. It’s no wonder as they help reduce product cost and prepare sought after software.

Scrum is the most widespread Agile framework best suited for medium-sized teams (7-9 members).

The Scrum Guide is aimed at its successful implementation. However, this manual isn’t a silver bullet, and many organizations still experience problems tuning Scrum.

Therefore, today we’d like to focus on the most common process pitfalls. Overcoming them will result in more effective workflow and improved product quality.

#1. Low level of Scrum master involvement

Scrum masters tend to conduct regular meetings and control successful sprint performance.

Although, the Scrum Guide states this role is more ambitious. It includes the support of all specialists so that each member has a deep understanding of the mission to demonstrate impressive results.

Above all, the Scrum master is making the developers feel comfortable and free to work with no interruptions.

Otherwise, they will spend precious time clarifying the requirements with a designer or business analyst, while the testers disturb the DevOps team to relaunch the test environment. This obstacle causes late sprint fulfillment, the lack of proper testing, or poor code quality.

That’s why one should understand the role of Scrum master to find the applicant able to handle issues effectively and collect feedback from all members.

#2. Excessive focus on sprint deadlines rather than product quality

All specialists are responsible for a stable software product launched on time. However, if the focus is made on following the schedule, the code quality will suffer. What’s the reason? Everyone will pay less attention to the proper work of new functionality due to continuous pressure. The defective product of low quality is just a matter of time in this case.

Therefore, it’s vital to specifically focus on the expected result.

Reaching a sprint goal – the timely launch of high-end functionality – should be a major priority. 

#3. Insufficient collaboration with the product owner

The product owner’s main goal is to set tasks and prioritize them. Last but not least is personal involvement in the workflow.

If the product owner follows the daily meetings, he/she will be aware of the project state to early trace vague requirements. And the teams will timely resolve any issues due to the product owner’s involvement.

#4. The lack of effective retrospectives

Retrospective at the end of each sprint allows the engineers to discuss all challenges and concerns. After a thorough analysis, a plan to eliminate further drawbacks is conducted.

If the retrospective is misjudged or held incorrectly, the problems may be defined without proper dealing. This directly affects the product quality as the productivity decreases significantly.

Unresolved issues cause reduced motivation to participate in further retrospectives due to the constant feeling of their uselessness.

The extended plan covering all ongoing concerns is a good way out. By highlighting fixed issues in the real-time mode, the employees will see the progress and stay motivated throughout the project.

#5. The limited perspective on the product

Another common challenge of applying Scrum is planning by short iterations, e.g. two weeks. The inability to think bigger and consider the holistic view on the software product occurs. This leads to problems with choosing the approach to product creation.

Let’s consider a case. During the sprint, the software engineers are preparing a registration form in terms of one service. Further, ten more services with a similar interface will appear.

If the developer knows that, a universal form accepting fields and data types as the core parameters will be prepared. Otherwise, he/she will create a common page that later will have to be enhanced.

To avoid this situation and establish a deep understanding of the product, it’s important to refine a product backlog. How to do it?

Conduct backlog refinement meetings, where the Scrum team removes irrelevant user stories and adds the new ones with priorities.

Such meetings keep the requirements topical and allow the specialists to check the product development plans and eliminate any misconceptions.

Strengthening product quality within the Agile project

The process can be improved by involving a QA team. Software testing engineers communicate with the developers and help clarify vague requirements. Professional quality assurance is another positive enhancement. Software testing engineers detect all the pitfalls and offer the best solutions during the retrospective.

How to boost the testing effect within the Agile project? Here are some tips confirmed by experience:

  • Do not overlook requirements testing

It defines inconsistencies or vague user stories before the development process begins. In the early stages, it will help avoid financial loss and further rework.

  • Test the product throughout the sprint

The testers will identify the drawbacks in the current sprint before they affect the whole functionality. Due to the ongoing monitoring, all the issues are passed to the developers in advance, so they have time to fix them. This factor positively influences a debugging process and entire code quality.

To cut a long story short

Considering these process mistakes, you’ll manage to prepare a high-end product without additional financial or time losses.

To maximize benefits from using Scrum, all employees should cooperate closely, pay attention to Scrum activities and joint team efforts to reach the main objective – release a stable software product able to stand the test of time.

Order a free consultation with the a1qa specialists if you’ve faced one of the situations described above.

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