So this was the problem we were seeing:
QA field jam packed with stories?
Finding out about issues (stories created during sprint) at the end of the sprint?
Seeing hangover at the end of your sprint?
Maybe your QA got sick.
Maybe your QA was more busy than normal with support requests.
Maybe your QA was spending time writing acceptance criteria with the PO for the next sprints set of stories.
Or, maybe we need to stop thinking as the QA as the only person who can QA work.
Acting as teams, not individuals
Scrum is about teams & that means we ultimately need to think about what WE as teams are trying to accomplish. Team goals should be the most important thing in any Scrum team.
That’s what makes Scrum so powerful, you got this disciplined timebox with a specific focus, a goal, which a team work together to deliver.
When we focus on our individual goals over the team goal the Sprint goal suffers.
Delivering the message
When I saw the QA bottlenecks, I asked at the stand-up:
Looking at the board this morning, we need to ask ourselves that question. What can we possibly get through to Done today?
It was my way of hinting that there is plenty in the QA section available to be tested.
The bread and butter of any optimised approach to delivery is focusing on whats in progress to increase throughput.
Something that Kanban principles push hard.
So we can ask the team to focus on getting ‘In Progress’ cards delivered first before picking up new Sprint backlog items.
Developers can QA each others work, so checkout the QA section first to bring down that bottleneck & get stuff into Done.
But we can still reinforce this message to create the right behaviour!
How to visually bring the message home
Change your board.
Remove your QA section.
Here’s one I prepared earlier:
Now when a developers done with his user story, he/she can push it just a notch to the right which means the story is STILL ‘In Progress’.
That is a subtle but powerful visual representation which says “Hey just cause we have done our part developing stories, the stories are still In ‘Progress’.