Balancing Agility and Security in Software Development - Interview with Gert Leenders

  • May 28, 2024

In our latest podcast episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Gert Leenders, an expert in quality assurance and agile methodologies. Gert shared his valuable insights on how to foster a culture of quality within large organizations and the importance of collaboration and risk management. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation.

Video Interview

Watch the video interview with Gert Leenders on YouTube:


The Structure of Quality Assurance in Large Teams

Gert emphasized the importance of having a well-defined structure for quality assurance in large organizations. He explained:

"In the company I currently work for, we have over a thousand people, grouped into maybe 100 teams. Each team is part of a business unit, and there is a lead responsible for quality assurance within that unit."

This structured approach ensures that quality assurance is managed at both the team and enterprise levels, allowing for effective oversight and accountability.

Escalating Quality Issues

When it comes to addressing quality issues, Gert highlighted the need for a clear escalation process:

"If a lead identifies a quality issue, they should be able to start conversations to mitigate it with their area manager. If unsatisfied, the issue escalates all the way to the CTO, ensuring that problems are addressed at the highest level if necessary."

This process ensures that quality issues are not overlooked and are handled with the seriousness they deserve.

Balancing Agility and Security

One of the key challenges in software development is balancing the need for agility with the need for security. Gert shared his approach to this dilemma:

"Sometimes, we need to ship very fast with low security, but we do this knowingly and document the risks involved. It's about making informed decisions and understanding the trade-offs."

By documenting risks and making informed decisions, organizations can maintain agility without compromising security.

Promoting a Blameless Culture

Gert stressed the importance of a blameless culture in fostering innovation and quality:

"We are always blameless and convinced of the good intentions of people. We try to understand why issues occur and work collaboratively to resolve them."

A blameless culture encourages open communication and continuous improvement, which are essential for maintaining high standards of quality.

Looking to the Future

Gert also hinted at exciting future projects, including a new website focused on cloud migration:

"I'm working on a website about how to move to the cloud, specifically AWS. It will explain decisions from day one and provide guidance on non-technical aspects of cloud migration."

We look forward to seeing more from Gert in the future and learning from his extensive experience.

Connect with Gert Leenders

To learn more from Gert Leenders, you can find him on LinkedIn and follow his blog at Element 7. Stay tuned for more insights and practical advice on quality assurance and agile methodologies:

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