Software Quality and Agile

Often when we talk about agile software development, we mention how important quality is. In this post, I’ll run quickly through some thoughts and practices on how agile tries to guarantee this so-called higher quality.

When I first started using agile (eXtreme Programming in my case), one of the things that called for my attention the most was its focus on Accuracy and in avoiding Waste. This means that when developing software using an agile methodology, we always try to build exactly what the client/user want. Nothing less, nothing more. Having developed some things before using methodologies closer to traditional ones, I was urging for someway to stop doing useless work and wasting time (diagrams that would never be touched again anyone?). Agile seemed to be a good bet.

But this all is a little bit abstract. Like I said here, this is just saying that we will try to bring the most value to the client. Now looking into something more practical, there are some interesting things that we can use in a daily basis that also help us improve software quality, among them:

  • Pair Programming: two developers, instead of one, work together to solve problems. I talked previously about this here.
  • Pair Rotation: to avoid that the pairs get “accustomed” to its pair, we can constantly change the pairs that works together. This also helps leveling up the team knowledge and experience.
  • Tests: this is another invaluable practice that should be done in a daily basis. There is too much to sum up in a few lines. I’ll just mention two types of tests: unit and acceptance. We use unit tests to make sure the each individual feature of a system is working, and acceptance tests to guarantee that the whole system is ok, from a perspective similar to what the actual users have.

That’s it for now. I have a few other topics to write about in the pipeline, but if you have any ideas / suggestions for things you would like to see here, please don’t exitate to post a comment!


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