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Colin Breck from Tesla on Quality Views to Expose Technical Debt

| Podcast with Colin Breck Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 10 Followers on Jun 19, 2017 |

This is the Engineering Culture Podcast, from the people behind InfoQ.com and the QCon conferences.

In this podcast recorded in London Shane Hastie, InfoQ Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Colin Breck, an Engineer from Tesla, about using quality views to expose and prioritize technical debt.

Key Takeaways

  • When systems are not customer facing, quality is not directly obvious and is frequently overlooked
  • Quality views provide a visual way of exposing quality in a system block diagram
  • Quality is a subjective – the value is in the conversations rather than the numbers
  • Quality views can help plan and prioritise development of features in the product and paying down technical debt

Show Notes

  • 0:30 Introductions
  • 1:10 Background in industrial control and monitoring systems
  • 1:40 Where the idea of quality views came from
  • 1:55 The challenges of exposing the quality of systems that are not customer facing
  • 2:05 Finding a way to show quality when there is no UI, and
  • 2:15 A mechanism to show changes in a system over time
  • 2:50 A tool to have continual conversations about the overall quality of a system
  • 3:30 An experiment using multiple quality factors
  • 3:50 Simple scoring mechanism and mapping to a colour gradient drawn on a block diagram of a system
  • 4:20 Quality is a subjective – the value is in the conversations rather than the numbers
  • 5:15 Adoption is most effective when adopted bottom-up rather than top-down enforcement
  • 5:50 Using quality views to help plan and prioritise development of features in the product and paying down technical debt
  • 6:45 Positive reactions to using quality views
  • 1:05 Story of a product manager using a quality view to identify significant risk in an overall system
  • 8:30 Ways this can be misused
  • 9:10 Quality and features are not either/or – quality views
  • 9:45 Starting conversations around systems that have technical debt that was not well recognised
  • 10:15 Striking the balance between new features and improving quality
  • 11:20 Adoption by other teams and groups – asking for feedback
  • 11:50 There could be multiple quality views – identify the quality measures that matter
  • 12:30 The challenges of subjective evaluations across teams

Mentioned:

  • Tesla
  • Michael Feathers

About QCon

QCon  is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 7 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Shanghai & Tokyo. QCon San Francisco is at its 11th Edition and will take place Nov 13-17, 2017. 100+ expert practitioner speakers, 1300+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit qconsf.com  to get more details.

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