That sounds risky!

Photo Credit: (nz)dave via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: (nz)dave via Compfight cc

 Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
Steve Jobs

Recently I went to Des Moines Area Quality Assurance Association or DAQAA meeting where they spoke about Product Risk Assessment in Agile.  As a software developer I have never done a Product Risk Assessment myself.

Although working with various Quality Assurance and Quality Engineers we have discussed risk in planning our testing strategy.  When I worked with Traci Clarke at Dice she would ask me as a developer, “What changes do you want us to focus on?”  She would also ask our Product Owner a similar question to understand development risk as well as product risk.  These are quite different and a few people brought this up during the discussion.

The presentation and discussion was led by Laura Kelly of Principal.  She spoke about the Product Risk Assessment in Agile as compared to the more structured risk assessments from a waterfall perspective.  As companies transition from waterfall to an Agile approach she discussed how we must as the Agile questions, specifically, “Is value derived from this activity?”  The waterfall approach can add a lot of activities that many times appeared to be too much activity.  Agile asks this question and lets teams figure what items do add value and do them.

The discussion started next was very interesting to see how different companies approach risk and how they handle it.  Some one explained how they add a step when reviewing the User Stories they Story Refinement and ask questions about the quality characteristics that are needed.  This can help the Quality Assurance associates determine the style and type of testing required.

Another individual shared that during Estimation or Sprint Planning meetings they estimate in Story Points and add an accompanying measurement called a Risk Point.  This additional item was helpful to the Product Owner to see where high risk might prevent some stories from getting completed or delayed.

One of the final items discussed where the differences of Product Risk and Project Risk and how we need to look at them differently.  I have to admit I was ignorant of the terms and their meaning.

What is Product Risk

Product risk is the risk associated with the software or system, the possibility that software or system may fail to satisfy end user/customers expectations is known as product risk.

What is Project Risk

As we know that testing is an activity and so it is subject to risk which may endanger the project, so we can say that the risks associated with the testing activity which can endanger the test project cycle is known as project risk.

These two definitions come from Software Testing Mentor’s website.

It was a great overall meeting and I got to learn some new things and see some friends.  It is always fun to look at something from a new perspective.

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