STARWEST 2024 Concurrent Session : Advocating Quality When Collaboration Becomes Groupthink


Wednesday, October 4, 2023 - 2:45pm to 3:45pm

Advocating Quality When Collaboration Becomes Groupthink

Does your agile team overestimate its velocity and capacity? Is the team consistently in agreement with little discussion during daily standups, iteration planning, or review meetings? Is silence perceived as acceptance? If so, collaboration may have become groupthink. Advocating for quality can be challenging for testers in this situation. Aspects of the agile team that are meant to foster collaboration including self-organization and physical insulation may also set the stage for groupthink. Groupthink is the tendency of groups to minimize conflict and reach consensus without fully analyzing all aspects of their ideas. One way to mitigate groupthink is by using CDE. Container Difference and Exchange are factors that influence how a team self-organizes, thinks, and acts as a group. In this session, Gerie Owen will review the factors leading to groupthink, show how to recognize the symptoms, and develop some ways of preventing it. Then using CDE theory, Gerie will show what managers can do to positively influence the agile team without interfering in its self-direction. Attendees will learn how to apply these concepts to their own teams, use them to become high performing teams, and testers will learn how to manage groupthink in their pursuit of quality.

ZS Associates

Gerie Owen is a Lead Quality Engineer at ZS. She is a Certified Scrum Master, Conference Presenter and Author on technology and testing topics. She enjoys analyzing and improving test processes and mentoring new Quality Engineers as well as bringing a cohesive team approach to testing. Gerie is the author of many articles on technology including agile and DevOps topics. She chooses her presentation topics based on her experiences in technology, what she has learned from them and what she would do to improve them. Gerie can be reached at [email protected].