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26 - 27 June 2014 in Prague

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No trust, no quality

The first "rule" in the Agile Manifesto is "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools".

An Agile team is group of people who share the same target - to deliver real value to the customer. But we need to think in wider than that to succeed on the journey and to enjoy it. That is the goal, isn‘t it? The wider group of stakeholders includes

  • Delivery team (Developers, Testers, QAs, Analysts, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, etc.)
  • Customer representatives (End users + Personas, Analysts, Testers, Product Owners, etc.)
  • Management roles on both sides
  • Sponsors
  • And many more...


It is really quite a lot of individuals and all of them need to interact, understand their responsibilities, expectations and to find the best way how to achieve the team's goals. People are not used to trusting each other. We are individuals and we were taught to be strong and independent.

Roles are not as strict in Agile as we are used to in Waterfall. It is more about activities but still everybody is specialized in some way; it is a matter of skills, experience, hobbies, mindsets, etc.

Quality is a team responsibility but it is built on personal responsibilities, clear expectations and commitments. We need to build trust in our teams to make it real. It is not easy to do it and it cannot be done over the night. Building trust is a step by step process where climbing up requires small and regular steps. On the other hand losing the trust is so easy.

Missing trust is the reason for most of the unnecessary processes, activities and artefacts – many of them closely related to testing:

  • Testers as safety net for Developers (Nobody trusts that developers are capable to provide good quality code)
  • Step-by-Step test cases (Nobody trusts that testers test properly so test cases are evidence that testing was done)
  • General assumption “Customers do not know what they need” (We do not trust customers so we are not focused on understanding their real business needs and motivation)
  • Nobody trusts the management


Would you like to improve quality? Start with the trust.


Vojtěch Barta, Vendavo, Czech Republic

Vojtěch Barta

Testing, Agile, Requirements - my work, my hobbies.

I have enjoyed doing this for 7 years already, and I am still having fun.

I lead the Vendavo test team currently focusing on Agile transformation.

I believe quality should be defined by satisfaction of all stakeholders. I found it is far behind requirements, implementation, testing, etc.

Of course, these are all still important activities but you are as good in them as you are good in other aspects Agile encourague you to do, like communication, interaction, trust, commitment, business understanding, etc.