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Managing Risk & Quality with Scrum

It’s a strange, yet wonderful, world, our world of Software Development. Where success is often considered a coincidence, a lucky shot and too anecdotal to believe. Although I have a proven track record of successful projects with Scrum (figures and data included) I still try to present various angles to my results. Here’s my perspective on Risk & Quality


In a traditional project, a number of phases and activities are typically performed separately and sequentially, upon the belief that extensive descriptions, signatures, sign-offs and hand-overs assure a good result. However, as practice shows, users and customers don’t realize what they’ve asked, described and signed until they get their hands on it. In the absence of that, risk just piles up. And when the usable application finally becomes available, all additional work, rework, tasks or activities will immediately force the project out of time and out of budget.

In our Scrum projects we slice the work in timeboxed iterations (Sprints). We re-organize the typical IT activities drastically because we perform them daily, in parallel and in every Sprint. We build and demonstrate working software at the end of each Sprint. Feedback and change is processed in the next Sprint, keeping us at all time in line with (changing) expectations. But, it’s true, we do not spend countless effort and time on upfront work. Risk therefore seems high at the start, but upon delivered results it will quickly decrease and keep steadily decreasing:


The ultimate evidence of quality is in working software. As we deliver that frequently, functional quality can be easily determined (and quickly improved). Business Value therefore continuously accumulates where in a traditional approach it is more delivered as a big (disruptive) burst.
The underlying technical quality of the software is assured by the daily, integrated testing and the application of good ‘engineering standards’. We implement these standards with our (daily performed) “Quality Loops”:

Here’s a movie

When creating a presentation on the above, I started a little experiment with the recording option of PowerPoint (version 2010) and succeeded in creating a movie of my presentation. And however improvised and somewhat rudimentary it may be, I’m just gonna leave it like that…

2 thoughts on “Managing Risk & Quality with Scrum

  1. what app do you use to draw the diagram above?

    1. Kate, I am a total zero on graphics, so I do everything I create with… PowerPoint. The only ‘tool’ I have some control over.

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