Embracing Whole Team Quality: Making Myself Obsolete

A story of the concrete steps we took to a shared responsibility for quality and the effects it had.

This talk focuses on Whole Team Quality and what steps we took to fully embrace it out of necessity (due to having to cut my hours drastically & suddenly due to pregnancy), and what benefits we reaped.

The initial initiatives we had already begun were accelerated and my testing role refocused on quality coaching and supporting the team to build in quality from the start. We increased traceability, did clearer risk assessment and mitigation, took unit testing and development reviews more seriously. We increased exploratory testing across the whole team and cut red tape wherever possible (aka: we removed the testing as a gatekeeper role as much as possible).

This resulted in successful releases, limited outages in production (as in: no more than before), quicker turnaround for issues that did crop up and a true shared sense of team responsibility. The interviews for my replacement during maternity leave were held and the realization sunk in that the testing role for the team needed no replacing. It was all the “extra” things I did in my overarching role: building a testing community in addition to the scrum master community, the quality strategy, focus on risk mitigation instead of bug finding & gatekeeping that were the essential aspects of a role they wanted to replace. The things that were considered ‘nice-to-haves’ before, as the “real” time got taken up by doing the “testing” work, were now realized to be essential in continuing the journey towards a culture focused on quality. The team was chosen as the pilot team for starting with CI/CD and DevOps upon my departure. Whole Team Quality was truly embraced and I really did make my old role obsolete before enjoying my maternity leave.