Home > Agile stuff, Scrum > Prioritizing the backlog on Quality

Prioritizing the backlog on Quality

After my talk at JFall about EasyB and Agile requirements I had a discussion with a very respectful guy about some things I said during my talk. The discussion was about whether building up quality over time is a good or a bad thing!

In my talk I stated that some features like for example an engine, brakes and a steering wheel are all MUST if you are building a car.  So it’s silly to prioritize them. As far as I know, you just don’t have a car if you don’t have these features. We all know that in order to have the most business value when the budget runs out or the deadline is there, you should prioritize your backlog! So in this case, what are you going to prioritize…..?

Well, it’s real obvious, you can prioritize on quality. I am not talking about software quality here, I am talking about the quality of a feature. If we define that horse power is a quality of an engine then an engine of 400 horse power, is of higher quality then an engine of 100 horse power. The difference in this quality is expressed as a difference in time and cost to develop! So, it’s better to build a engine of 100 horse power, and the rest of the MUST things at lower quality first so you have at least a car.
Once you have that you can start building up feature quality and see how much luxury you can add within the given time and budget. If you build your features up to the most quality one by one, chances are you’ll end up with a car having 400 horse power and super brakes but no steering wheel!

In my opinion we were arguing about the definition of quality. While I was talking about feature quality, I guess he was talking about the quality of the product you deliver at the end of a sprint! In almost every situation you want your sprint result to be of the highest possible quality ofcourse. That’s what Lean and Scrum tells us right!

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