Agile Defect Management: Focus on Prevention

David Jellison, Constant Contact

Efficient agile organizations focus on defect prevention rather than downstream defect discovery because discovering defects during or after testing adds to development costs. Delaying discovery and repair of defects can make an agile team feel like they are operating in a mini-waterfall. Sharing his experience with Scrum/Kanban teams, David Jellison describes how grouping defects into two major categories-work-in-process defects and escaping defects-reduces development costs and improves reliability in the field. Dave illustrates how to manage problem discovery early and minimize the existence of escaping defects. Treating escaping defects as the exception rather than the norm results in a much smaller defect backlog and increased customer satisfaction. This approach encourages increased collaboration between quality engineers and developers, and shifts the focus of team measures from defect counts to product delivery velocity and cycle time, with increased confidence in quality as the work is completed.

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