DevOpsDays Silicon Valley: Continuous Quality

DevOpsDays Silicon Valley was the biggest DevOpsDays event yet.  The event had a more professional feel than previous events I have attended. This is not to say the other events were unprofessional, just that the layout and facilities were in a more traditional conference setting.

Attendees from “enterprise” companies were out in force to learn more about DevOps and there was an excellent open space session about DevOps in the enterprise, which was well attended.

The one session that really stood out was Jeff Sussna’s (@jeffsussna) session on Continuous Quality, which was fantastic.  Over the past few years, great advances have been made in the Dev and Ops spaces but QA has been somewhat overlooked.  The shift in focus from Quality Assurance (which frequently means validation of fixes) to Quality Engineering sets the stage for Continuous Quality.

I agree with Jeff that QA engineers are customer advocates and should be brought into the design process as early as possible. However, as always, keep in mind that the way someone is measured influences behavior. I have witnessed people trying to influence a design so that it is easier to test, not easier to use.  Fortunately, the move from Quality Assurance to Quality Engineering will result in the focus changing from simply verifying that a fix has been done to really being an evangelist for the end user.

This leads me to something that is key to success in a DevOps initiative.  Incentives must be aligned.  If QA is measured by the amount of defects that have been verified as fixed then they will prioritize that first.  The same if Dev is tasked with making changes and Ops is tasked with ensuring stability; each will focus on meeting their own goals, which will frequently conflict.  By ensuring that goals are aligned with business outcomes and are shared across teams, conflict will be reduced and Dev, QA and Ops can all focus on delivering quality products to customers faster.

Jeff’s slides can be found on

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