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Who Owns Quality In Scrum Team

by StarAgile

March 01, 2020
Category Agile and Scrum


Each process becomes complete after the final check of its features. It may be a development of a product, design, delivery anything; this check plays a vital role that confirms the worth of the entire time spent, money spent on a particular work. In that context, let us understand what quality is according to scrum. How to evaluate, what and who is responsible for the same.

In the figure given below it clearly explains the process which is a constant improvement flow going through a sequence of stages and is repetitive until the task is completed and ready for delivery.

What is Quality in Scrum Team

In a scrum context, it is nothing but the end-product performance. However, it does not simply become that as there are two aspects to it. One is from the team perspective and the second one is with respect to the end-user angle. The former one is a quantitative measure and called intrinsic as it depends on the internal team namely the developer, product owner (PO), scrum master (SM), etc. 

The latter one is extrinsic as it is confirmed by the user. It is a qualitative measure. In general when anyone looks at the surface level, then they think that quality in scrum team depends only on the customer feedback. But that is not correct as the internal team also should attest to the quality. 

Who is responsible for Quality in Scrum Team? 

Having said that the internal team should confirm the excellence, then who owns the quality in scrum team. Again at the outer level, when you look at it, most of you will think the PO is the owner for quality. But, that is also not true and hence let us see the role of each individual in a scrum team with respect to quality. 

We are aware that there are 3 key players in every scrum project namely the 

1. Team – Developer, testing engineer 

  • This team is a self-made team and hence they have their own checkpoints to check and confirm the worth of their work and results. Only when they feel satisfied, they share the details with the rest of the team. 
  • Scrum supports cross-functional skill enhancement and this also aids every individual to assess quality. 
  • The team will deliver the increment correctly and they are responsible to create the Definition of Done (DoD). 

Thus the entire team is accountable for the quality of their work in collaboration. 

2. Scrum Master

The scrum master act as a link between the team and the PO. Therefore this person will have the responsibility of delivering quality increments. The meetings organized by the master will allow the team to exchange outcomes. There is an option open to all the team members to share their feedback thereby improving the eminence. 

3. Product Owner

Overall, the ownership lies with the PO to fine-tune the quality. This person is accountable for the maximization of the product value which has been delivered by the team. 

Further, according to the PO, quality means to deliver the right increment. This precisely means PO is responsible to deliver increments that add value. 

From the above explanation, it is clear that each one has a prominent role in confirming the quality. 

In summary, PO is the key owner to deliver the product to the customer and hence he will own the quality from the end-user perspective. 

DoD and Quality 

DoD contains quality. It is always wise to delay delivery than compromising on the quality. It is important to define the DONE after careful analysis of the complexity of the backlog, team ability, and time available in hand. Never force-fit to make delivery fast which will only backfire and lead to poor quality. Include testing while creating DoD

Extended role of PO

As we have discussed above each person in the scrum team contributes to quality. But PO is the key owner as he interacts with the outside world, the customer. Hence, in reality, this person has the following extended responsibility to confirm the value of the entire team and the product in practice. 

  • PO will sign the design documents and approves the performance requirements. 
  • O’s approval is mandatory for defect approval before it gets added into the backlog. 
  • Testing carried out before production is also approved by the PO.
  • The quality team reports to the PO functionally. 
  • The development team must ensure updating the PO about the cost and efforts that they check to keep an eye on the quality. 
  • PO should make sure to check the code and confirm if it is well-written to avoid maintenance. 

When the PO can manage all the above-mentioned practices in reality, then the quality of the product will surpass customer expectations. 

Tips to manage the best quality 

It is now well-known that the entire team, SM and the PO own the quality. However, we have highlighted the special contribution of the PO to enhance quality. Likewise, we would also want to share a few tips to maintain supreme quality and win over the competition. 

  • The development team should join hands and work with the QA team to fix the bugs. 
  • Both the team should be open enough to take criticism positively and make improvements. 
  • Preferably a developer turned to a quality engineer will add more value to the project as this person can understand technicalities of the code. 
  • Organizations can provide role change to developers and testers to equip both to handle all situations during every sprint. This will also create empathy among the team members and prevent ego clash. Team performance is one of the keys to the successful delivery of the best products. 
  • Never aim to fix bugs alone, but work in-depth and identify the process that led to the occurrence of a bug and fix it in the root. 

Final thoughts 

Getting a customer is difficult. Retaining them is the most difficult task. Only when you deliver a quality output consistently, then you can sell your product. Therefore, make sure you follow the suggestions given above to ensure quality right from the beginning. We reiterate that quality is scrum is not one person's responsibility but the entire team must join hands to identify issues, accept and work towards resolving the same. 


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