Agile Quality Tip #10 - Use Automation to Optimize Stand-Up Meetings

Posted on Apr 14, 2011

As we wrote previously, our current series of posts is covering 10 brief quality tips designed to help you extend well-known agile quality practices to ensure that your software satisfies business needs—effectively and efficiently.

Tip #10 is "Use Automation to Optimize Stand-Up Meetings."

Stand-up meetings are an important part of agile processes—and are an ideal forum for keeping quality issues at the forefront of development. To keep these meetings at the recommended 15-minute length (and still free up some time to cover quality), it's important to streamline what's covered and take more involved issues "offline." 

Two strategies that help you optimize these meetings are:

  • Automated task distribution and tracking.
  • Automated peer code review workflow.


Automated Task Distribution & Tracking

task managementMany of the most boring and tedious aspects of stand up meetings can be eliminated with automated task distribution and monitoring.

Using a software development management system such as Parasoft Concerto, the manager or scrum master converts requirements and issues into actionable, measurable work tasks which are then automatically distributed directly to the responsible developer's IDE (according to manual assignments or predefined guidelines).

When a developer is ready to start working on an assigned task, he or she marks it as "in progress," works on the task as normal, then marks it as "done" when it's completed. Without interrupting the developer's workflow, you can automatically track which files are related to the given task and how much time is spent working on these files. Real-time status information is always available in the system.

This tracking is key for evaluating the team's current progress and capacity in preparation for the stand-up meetings. It also keeps QA well-informed about what's ready for testing.

Peer Code Review Workflow Automation


Code review typically involves long tedious meetings that require a tremendous amount of preparation.  An automated code review system can help the team streamline code reviews by automatically:
code review automation

  1. Identifying updated code from source control or the local file system.
  2. Matching the code with designated reviewers.
  3. Alerting the reviewer & allowing him to review the code within his IDE.
  4. Tracking the progress of each review item until closure.  

The team is then free to focus on the actual peer review: a creative process that cannot (and should not) be automated.

Code reviews do not necessarily need to cover every line of code. For instance, some teams might prefer to review only the most dangerous segments of their code (e.g., the most security-sensitive or deadlock-prone areas of the code base). The expectations regarding code review should be discussed with the team and set in the quality policy.

 

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Want to ensure that your code review process isn't a burden on developers & a waste for management. Get our 20-page Code Review Starter Kit.

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