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Agile Testing Days Berlin - Day 2

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2010/10/11

Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 1 (French version : Jour 1 on
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 2 (French version Jour 2 on
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Days 3 (French version Jour 3 on

Second day of the conference at the Seminaris Center of Berlin, and what a day !

Mickael Bolton’s keynote « Testers : get out of the quality assurance business »

Mickael Bolton is famous among the testing community and likes to define himself as an “Agile Skeptic” (in a positive way). He started his presentation by providing us with his personal view of what agile means: the agile manifesto and the adaptability. “Why to test?” “What is quality?” These two key questions allow him to clarify the tester activity, an activity primarily focused on adaptability and value, not on quality assurance.

“Our role is to test”

Mickael Bolton- Keynote

Mickael Bolton- Keynote

So, the tester’s role is actually to help people to consider various possibilities to solve problems:

“Testers are skilled investigators … we are sensory instruments”

“Testing is an on-going, continuously, re-optimizing process of exploration, discovery, investigation and learning”

Then Mickael explained his position on recurring questions: acceptance tests (that he prefers to call “rejection checks”), regression tests (”still the biggest risk with agile practices ?”), exploratory testing, automation (”only a tool”).  His opinions were very clear-cut. Very interesting !

“Gojko, c’est de la dynamite !”

Initially just a conference session « Top 10 reasons team fail with ATDD and how to avoid them ». The room was full…

Gojko Adzic Session

Gojko Adzic Session

Then Gojko “dynamite” Adzic entered the arena using skillfully irony and second degree in a thunderous show of 30 minutes. ! Not much to add: rather watch these selected pieces!

(video from Rob Lambert, The Social Tester)

Presentation slides

Not so easy to move on …

Anko Tijman did it with a good session :  “Mitigating Agile Pitfalls.”

He started his presentation with a description  of some agile values: teamwork, simplicity, flexibility, feedback.

“If you don’t apply these values you’re missing the point of agile testing”

The critical issues he identified: customer involvement, testing as a team, test strategy, requirements and tools. This is what Anko discussed with the 5 Pitfalls of Agile Testing, and the various options to mitigate them.

Anko Tijman - Agile values

Anko Tijman - Agile values

  • Pitfall #1: Not testing with the Customer
  • Pitfall # 2 : Not testing as a team
  • Pitfall #3: Unbalanced Test strategy
  • Pitfall #4 : Requirements (misunderstood) (with the following mitigation actions:

” Ask ! “Ask! Meet ! Meet! Discuss ! Discuss! Acceptance TDD”

  • Pitfall #5 : Tools (not delivering value)

“Tools are not always the answer”

Well, not necessarily new, but things are said. Finally, Anko explained the elements that what make agile testing successful:

  • Build strong relationships
  • Focus on teamwork and collaboration
  • Share knowledge


Afternoon keynote: Agile Testing Certification - How could that be useful ? (By Stuart Reid, founder of the ISTQB).

A hot topic in Agile Testing community. At this conference, a large part of the attendees had a certification in testing. The testing certification (ISTQB) seems very popular in Germany…

Stuart Reid - Keynote - Answer to Gojko :) (Conference private joke)

Stuart Reid - Keynote - Answer to Gojko :) (Conference private joke)

Stuart started by saying that the title of his session was a question and that he just wanted to open the discussion. He  first gave an overview of existing certifications (both agile and testing). 2 or 5 days Agile Alliance certifications “took a shot”.

“Certified ScrumMaster … Certified…  Master in 2 days … Profesionnal in 5 days”

Then Stuart spent the 45 minutes to discuss the who, when, why, how  of  new (potential) agile testing certification and course…  To be honest, I’m not convinced by the speech and not convinced by a new agile testing certification.

Two sessions for which I expected more …

Descriptions of the sessions “The secret sauce of agile testing in Distributed Teams” and “Implementing collective ownership test” interested me.

For the first presentation, my opinion is that the real discussion about  ”agile testing with distributed teams” has been slow to arrive without being really detailed.

Cirilo Wortel

Cirilo Wortel

Based on a project success story, Cirilo introduced the challenges he had to face (skills, culture, communication but also distance, infrastructure and language). Nothing really new, but this kind of feedback is always interesting. The closing:

“Now for The Sauce …

Testers make a killer proxy!
Testers speak the functional language
They Know The Domain
They have a user view
The have a birds view

“It boosts communication !”


The presentation of Eric Jimminck left me a bit perplexed. It started well with relevant reminders on ATDD and its core principles.

Eric Jimmink - ATDD process

Eric Jimmink - ATDD process

Collective test ownership means maintaining all the tests as a team, throughout the process in a cross functional approach

“Learning More About Each Other’s work and Speciality”

Eric’s conclusions on the organizational impact of such an approach were interesting, however the three examples described did not convince me. I did really not understand what he wanted to demonstrate. Key benefits? Key points?

But, I totally agree on the necessity to transform the way we do requirements on a project, and the necessity to practice ATDD

“ATDD is not an optional practice”

And a very good keynote: Janet Gregory “About Learning” (for testers)

The last keynote of day lived up to its promises. With precision and effectiveness, Janet first made the parallel with childhood, where learning and curiosity are KINGS!

“The motivation (to learn) that kids have is pure”

“Testers need curiosity”

Janet Gregory Keynote (you see Lisa Crispin and Linda Rising)

Janet Gregory Keynote (you see Lisa Crispin and Linda Rising)

Why people want to learn? What skills do they need ? Janet insisted on these general but critical skills: problem solving or system thinking. But, she did not forget two agility core values: Feedback and Communication.

“If it’s constructive the feedback is received so much better”

And I agree completely on the crucial role on these two elements for the agile teams.

Agile principles (delivering value, learning from mistakes…), specific skills like automation, vocabulary, test design, metrics and tool usage were also discussed

When, how and where to learn ? this was finally what Janet Gregory shared with the conference attendees. Some core ideas:

“Learning by doing”

“Lots of tools in your toolkit makes you prepared to solve any problem appropriately, not always use the hammer”

“Sharing the knowledge to learn… teaching is the best way to learn”

My ROTI (Return On Time Invested) for the day :

Return On Time Invested - 4

Return On Time Invested - 4

Mainly for Gojko”Dynamite” Adzic session, Keynotes and Global atmosphere of the conference

See also :

Agile Testing Days Report : DAY 1

Agile testing Days Report : Day 3 (OpenSpace)

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