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Agile Testing Days 2011: Days 2… a report

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/11/26

DAY 1 was just amazing… see my previous report: Agile Testing days: Day 1 What a fabulous day!

… to me the second day of the conference was less intense.  Keynotes were great but I was a bit disappointed by some sessions I attended…

Esther Derby People & Patterns (Keynote)

According to Esther, a basic problem is that system problems are usually associated with persons and persons with problems attributed to systems.

“If you really want to create change in the organization you can’t only look at events you need to look for patterns”

Esther said that within one team, one can find several groups, several patterns and structures almost invisible.

Then she explained how Agile can help the organization to identify the existing patterns. According to her, there is a necessity to understand patterns of behaviors, then to shift the pattern. Her approach consists in collecting the factors (neutral and potentially measurable), brainstorm them, diagramming the effects, then identify patterns and look underneath the events.

And, always wondering WHY (the most powerful question)…

Interesting quotes:

“In the business world you are paid to be decisive. It’s better to be certain and wrong than uncertain and right.”

“If you want to see what’s going on, you don’t watch the person who’s speaking - you watch the others in the group.”

“Focus on people never brings change”

01derby

A good keynote but not as inspiring as the others.

Raquel Jimenez-Garrido “ATDD and SCRUM Integration from a traditional Project methodology”

An attractive title and the description looked good in the program but after 15 minutes still nothing about ATDD and SCRUM! Worst, 30 minutes after the beginning of the session Raquel was still in the process to describe elements of context! We understood that her team had a lot of motives to change…

Then, she explained the difficulty to achieve the change of methodology, described the problems they faced (for example during a sprint0) showed the Product Backlog used, and discussed the selection of the tools.

02_jimenez-garrido

Her conclusion:

“The application of ATDD techniques was key to improving product quality due to the nature of the project”

Stevan Zivanovic “Do we just Manage or do we lead”

Stevan clearly made a distinction between leadership and management, with these two definitions

  • The leader is a person who rules, guides and inspires other
  • The manager is a person who has the control or the direction of an institution, business business, etc., or of a part, division, or phase of it

03_zivanovic

The talk focused on leadership, what makes a good leadership and its various dimensions…

“Don’t need to be a manager to lead “…

Of course, you don’t,  but personally I expect my managers to be good leaders too, and many agile teams also expect it from the middle management.

04_zivanovic

The elements presented by Stevan were interesting:  the different levels of contexts (culture, organization, team, you…) and what it takes to be an effective leader… But, the radical distinction (I perceived) between manager and leader didn’t make me comfortable. And I was not surprised that at the end of the talk, one person of the audience asked this essential question :

“What is the role of managers in Agile?”

The link between agile management and leadership was not clearly stated. To me (see this blog post on agile & lean management) the Agile Manager needs to show leadership especially for three major activities:

  • Create a relationship of trust, develop an motivate people
  • Create an environment of success and energize change which means communicate the vision, give a direction, adopt the appropriate style of management (see Jurgen Appelo, 7 levels of delegation)…
  • Initiate, support and animate communities of practices

This is what I observe during my agile coaching activities but things I didn’t hear during the talk… However, Stevan is a good speaker and session was good.

Elizabeth Keogh “Haiku, Hypnosis and discovery: How the mind makes model” (keynote)

Elisabeth encouraged, during an interactive introduction, the attendees to create their own Haiku and to discover the Haiku moment (the moment when our mind makes a model)…

05ter-keogh

The most famous Haiku :

Furuike ya

Kawazu Tobikomu

Mizu no oto

In english:

Old pond

a frog jumps in-

The sound of water

05_keogh

Then still in a very interactive mode, she did hypnotherapy on stage (with @huibschoots)…

05biss-keogh

Interesting to see.

“The contexts depend on the context”

According to Elizabeth, we observe data, we filter data, we generate assumptions, we draw conclusion, we build beliefs based on pattern. The problem is that the filters we use are based on our beliefs!  When I change my beliefs I change… Very inspiring.

Then Elisabeth discussed the art of BREAKING THE MODELS and Real options (to me, a very efficient tool), and how this approach helps us to give us different models….

Fran O’Hara “Effective Agile Test management”

Once again a session dedicated to management (testing management oriented)

Some elements of the pitch attracted me like “Test managers want to know what happens to their role when teams are self-empowered and what a test management process looks like in agile context”… and Fran went straight to the point (I really liked it) on the first part of his talk.

“What the test managers do in Agile?”

06-ohara

Very interesting (cultural shift, mindset shift, servant leadership, culture of leaning….)

Fran listed the responsibilities of the Test manager :

  • Support tester capability within the agile team
  • Remove organizational obstacles
  • Agile test Startegy
  • Agile Test process
  • Test tool standardization

To me, the first category “Support tester capability within the agile team” (from firing to training, career development, performance to community of practice) was just too large. It probably needed to be split and discussed more in details…

Then, Fran discussed Agile Test strategies, Test management Process, Test management Issues (including metrics)… Good but … he spoke often too fast for the French attendee that I am :) Therefore he was in the hurry at the end of his talk!

His slide with the “do and don’t” was a good summary: I appreciated.

06bis-ohara

Cecile Davis “Get your agile test process in control”

Another session related to management. Cecile wanted to talk about control, “tight grip or let go?”, and the need for management to find a balance between these two extremes.

07davis

Cecile led the audience through an interactive exercise to find the balance between trust and control (blind / Seeing pairing), a kind of exercise sometimes used in agile training. During the second exercise audience was split in three large (too large?) groups to find out and generate, from a vision and business goals (based on the IKEA brochure), product properties. Well, I didn’t really see the link with agile management, control… not so good.

Gojko Adzic  ” 5 Key challenges for Agile testers tomorrow” (keynote)

A really interactive session with the most influential tester of the year… and real showman!

08-gojko3

Technology evolves, things change fast and so, according to Gojko, testers are now facing new challenges:

1. Shorter delivery phases

Gojko first introduced the “Flickr” example with its frequent deliveries (multiple times a day).

Multiple deliveries

Multiple times a day

Frequent releases (for example every 2 weeks) are not only a trend. There is no crazy website anymore. It’s now a reality that obviously impacts the testing activity.

“At the moment you have done testing more than you need”

“We need to accept certain risks”

To help us, Gojko introduced the Agile Risk Donut…

08_gojko

“If only have 2 sec to eat something which part do you eat?”

In addition to the risk based testing, you need to engage business people, identify business goals and understand where risks are. A good tool for that is “attributes capabilities matrix” by James Whitaker.

2. Agile is now mainstream

Agile is now everywhere with an important inconvenient: we lose more and more the meaning of what is being agile. And often when going agile, the BA becomes the PO, the Project manager becomes the ScrumMaster… and yeah…

“We do Scrum!”

So when working with people, we need to make then ADOPT the principles and ADAPT the practices.

3. (Provide) faster feedback

Faster feedback is not only good but needed. Gojko gave us an example of situation where the tester becomes the bottleneck (doing testing for all programmers) and the way to solve the problem by making the tester teach exploratory testing to developers…

“Your job is to teach the people how to test”

It accelerates the feedback

4. Large enterprise projects

Many companies are trying this scalability. What to do if we need to scale? Actually we need different ways to scale. A good option, according to Gojko is to refer to context mapping (element of DDD, Domain Driven Design, see Eric Evans’s book, from chap 14 :) ). For being involved as an agile coach in such a large projects, I can recommend you Craig Larman/ Bas Vodde approach which is an excellent starting point.

5. Validating Business not software

There is now a huge push in the software value output but

“How do we see we’re delivering business value?”

“How to figure out where is the value?”

Two things help:

  • Effects maps, a very powerful tool, introduced by Gojko the day before
  • Measuring, the key, and for example crucial in the lean Startup approach (Eric Ries)

The good point is that the testing community becomes to be important to the business (to draw the context and to measure)

08_gojko2

Gojko provided us with a useful summary at the en of his talk:

  • adopt principles and adapt practices (I really like that one)
  • teach others how to test
  • help business define and validate actionable metrics
  • look at risk/ value areas. Visualize it!
  • draw up contexts to inform testing

Agile Testing Days 2011: DAY 1 - What a fabulous Day!

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/11/19

The Agile Testing Days (Nov 14-17 2011) is the annual European conference for and by international professionals involved in the agile world. As the French Ambassador of the conference  taking place this year in Potsdam (near Berlin), I couldn’t miss it. So, second participation, high expectations and absolutely NO DECEPTION!

This first day was I think my best conference day ever! So thanks to Jose Diaz, and his team, thanks to the speakers and participants.

After a very good full-day tutorial given by Jurgen Appelo (”Agile management: Leading Software professionals”…. a course that I do recommend in a 2 day format to all managers) and a dozen of games/exercises to try “At Home”…

Jurgne Tutorial.. Metrics Matrix to try

Jurgne Tutorial.. Metrics Matrix to try

the conference Day 1 opened with Johanna Rothman’s keynote…

Johanna Rothman “Agile testers and test managers: Now what?”

This keynote was the first of an impressive set of amazing presentations

Agile management is a hot topic to me since I do more and more agile coaching with line managers. I’ve explored the domain and of course already read Johanna’s books and articles. However, I found this “testing oriented” presentation very valuable.

Agile Test Managers Keynote

Agile Test Managers Keynote

Johanna first discussed the changing role of the testers in the agile organization. The agile tester looks like the First Class Tester (she previously described in 2003), as they, for example, work with developers from the very start of a feature…

“Testers ask questions… are curious”

The second part of the talk was dedicated to Agile Test managers…

“Agile test managers are leaders in the organization”

The key activities:

  • Manage the project portfolio
  • Remove organization obstacles
  • Build trust relationships
  • Lead hiring decisions and process
  • Build the capacity of the organization
  • Build communities of practice

Interesting thoughts

“Have management iterations” (To try!)

“Allow managers to see the system”

“Instead of individual reviews build a trusting relationships share the strategy share the profits”

“What keeps people in job? Trust”

“No micromanagement meet often one on one to build a trusting relastionship”

David Evans “What testers and developers can learn from each other?”

The presentation was efficient and David, as a good speaker, made a good use of analogies:

“Thinking you can improve quality by doing more testing is like thinking you can loose weight by weighing yourself more”

Analogy

An effective analogy

With ease, David focused both on things developers can help testers learn and things testers can help developers learn for the benefit of the whole team. The parallel was interesting. After pointing out ironically that ISTQB certification is mostly useless, David discussed common issues like coverage and concluded with things we all need to learn:

How we learn - David Evans

How we learn - David Evans

“Testers are friends”

“Teams need testers like people need friends” (I like that one!)

Rob Lambert “Do agile teams have wider awareness fields?”

“Not always”

but Agility gives you an environment to be a first class tester added finally Rob.

A good presentation that Rob was able to make interactive. I appreciated.

Rob started by introducing the concept of awareness and distinguished social and personal awareness, which was useful.

“Awareness is the ability to feel, perceive, know and be conscious of yourself and the world around you”

Awareness

Awareness

Other interesting thoughts…

“Awareness is the first step to change…”

“You need to know yourself and you team”

“You need to know your limits”

I like very much the idea of Learning Roadmap (closed but maybe richer than my To Learn List).

Learning Roadmap: What a good idea!

Learning Roadmap: What a good idea!

And finally, Rob pointed out the grower importance of social media and social tools (like twitter) as modern ways of widening awareness. I can just agree :)

Linda Rising “Who do you Trust? Beware of your brain”

Last year, I didn’t notice it immediately but Linda’s keynote gave me inspiration for a year. This time, once again, she did the job, and I must admit that emotion was in the air (and in me) at the end of her speech! She is a fantastic storyteller!

Based on experiments coming from the social sciences field, Linda shows us how quickly we categorize others, how quickly we naturally stereotype and label other people…

“We continually sort others into groups and out-groups”

rising1

The bad thing is that stereotypes and their expectations are not only a source of conflicts but also can affect performance…

“Stereotypes are prophetic”

The good thing when we look at the results of social experiments is that Humans like to be in small groups and quickly develop identity, no matter countries, cultural dimensions or even religions…

“This is the good news we like collaboration”

This is what we call Social Interdependence. The benefits?

  • increased effort to achieve,
  • positive relationships,
  • improved psychological health…

And you know what? agile practices are practices that help. Therefore, sharing a common goal, as well as be trusted and respected are the keys.

“You don’t to be my best friend”

Linda ended her presentation with 2 good examples (”Trench warfare” and “primates”) showing reasons for hope and nothing is carved in the rock.

Happy Ending

Happy Ending

Huib Schoots “So you think you can test?”

This session wasn’t originally on the program. A good surprise!  Huib is an experienced and passionate tester.  His talk was dedicated to the factors that can help you to become a better tester. Huib listed three main activities:

  • Adapt to context (context driven testing…)

“There is no best practice”

  • Collaborate. Most of the job of the tester should be to ensure that the right testing is done (executing tests should be a small part of the activiy)
  • Learn & Practice. Huib pointed out a set of learning options (Books, conferences, testing dojos, week end testing, pair testing, collaborative workshops, peer workshops…)
Passion...

Passion...

“You should train and practice”

“Be passionate” (to me, PASSION makes THE DIFFERENCE)

and one of my favorite quotation of the #AgileTD:

If you want to do a good job I think you should invest in yourself

Be passionate

Be passionate as Huib is

And finally a good question, why don’t we have a Testing coach?

Gojko Adzic “Product Management using Effects Maps”

This session wasn’t originally on the program. A good surprise too!  Gojko presented the Effect mapping, a visualization tool invented by Mijo Balic and Ingrid Ottersten.

Effect mapping supports product management activity by focusing on business goals. It enables high level project visualization, helps to deliver software iteratively (starting by the fastest simple way), and reduces user stories management issues…

“People horribly misuse user stories”

“As a system, I want…  a system doesn’t want anything a system wants to sleep”

The starting point and the first level of the map is always the WHY (the business goal, how the business will be different 6 months from now if we achieve well).

Effect map

Effect map

Then, are drawn the next levels:

  • WHO (can contribute to the business goal)
  • HOW (can they help us)
  • WHAT (we can do as a team to support this activity)

Once the map created, deliver the simplest thing to deliver  (a path) and measure the effect (very similar to the Learn Startup approach introduced by Eric Ries…). IT should be seen as an investisment, not as a cost

The effect mapping, a tool to try…

Janet Gregory - Lisa Crispin “AppendixA: lessons learned since Agile testing was published”

We all know Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, authors of the famous Agile Testing book…

party2

Lisa Crispin... later at night, at the party and ready to announce the award for the most influential agile tester of the year... DO YOU BELIEVE IT?

For this keynote, Janet and Lisa decided to discuss 5 Hot topics related to agile testing:

1 Feature Acceptance

Working feature by feature makes you often forget the global picture: during her talk, Janet used the puzzle analogy and stressed the necessity to understand the business value of a feature to deal with this issue and help prioritization. Establishing story tests but also defining story doneness, feature doneness are crucial.

2 Automation

Collaborate to automate and overcome impossible challenges. In term of test strategy, Lisa and Janet reminded us that context is everything, and so that for example, the well-known test pyramid should be adapted to the specific needs of each organization. According to them, “tests as documentation” is the only documentation guaranteed to be up to date… (as long as they run green).

3 Large Organizations - large Teams

In the case of large organizations, Janet and Lisa pointed out the necessity to consider other teams.

Key challenges : Multiple Teams

Key challenges : Multiple Teams

“You need to extend your family beyond your project team”

I totally agree! (see devops movement)

4 Distributed Teams

The world changes, and today’s the business is more likely distributed. A fact that I can easily confirm doing some agile coaching in various situation like French/ French distributed sites,  French / Indian context or  French/US/ German context. For such a context, my opinion is that reducing the distance is the key… Lisa and Janet presented 3 practices to succeed: establishing relationship, taking advantage of the technology (the virtual team member…) and experimenting!

5 Culture & Continuous learning

Agile is all in learning. Yeap!!! According to Lisa and Janet, culture is even more important that we thought: personal safety and allow people to make mistakes are essential. Janet insisted also on the important role of Play in the learning process. An element I am also convinced…  as well as the necessity to be CURIOUS

gregory2

“I really encourage you to be curious and learn new things”

“I like to see testers to be curious”

The last part of the talk was “attendees” oriented! Janet and Lisa wanted to hear about the stories of the attendees (”the Agile Testing book”, “Testing dojos”, “Twitter”, “Tests & Feedback”…)

And Finally the Party to close the day

Some pictures of the funny party taking place in the evening (during when Gojko Adzic received the award for the most influential agile tester of the year). I enjoyed the show, the performers, the place, liked the beers and the discussions with the frenchies: Laurent, Gabriel, Patrice and Elalami…

party1

party3

So, MY ROTI (Return on time Invested) FOR THE DAY: 5

Agile Testing Days Berlin - Day 3

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2010/10/16

Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 1 (French version : Jour 1 on www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 2 (French version Jour 2 on www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Days 3 (French version Jour 3 on www.qualitystreet.fr)

A rapid feedback on the last day of the Agile Testing Days conference, that took place last week in Berlin.

On the agenda : 3 keynotes and an Open Space Technology through the day.

Good Keynotes

I could attend only two of them.

What does it take to be great? Isabel Evans

A very interesting topic and a very old debate… “… genius, inspiration, perspiration or renewal
Isabel Evans discussed primarily the new skills of  the testers and what is needed to acquire these skills.

Isabel Evans Keynote

Isabel Evans Keynote

Key factors:

  • rewards, self motivation, commitment, and HARD WORK!
  • Perseverance and motivation, a sufficient structure to promote grow

Key factors that  not only apply to testers…

“You Have to fight to get inspiration “

I totally agree.

Isabel insisted also on two precious resources:

  • learning by doing

“we can change ourselves… if we make efforts …”
” most effective learning method is to try and make mistakes - others might laugh at you, but it won’t kill you “

  • Reflective practices is crucial for improvement

In summary, we need to enlarge the skills of testers.

“Reinvigorate your retrospective” by Jennitta Andrea

Jennita began his keynote with a little game : “45 seconds to change 5 things”. The instructions: change 5 things while back 2 back to a partner, then guess what your partner changed. Then she introdued the “Jenga Game”. According to her, this game is a good metaphor for software development.

Jennitta Andrea - Keynote

Jennitta Andrea - Keynote

So the keynote focused on retrospective, and as a coach and facilitator, it’s always good to hear other practices and potential new exercises.

Jennitta delivered her retrospective skeleton.

1 safety (5% of the global effort)
It’s crucial to align individual perspectives to the Same Goal. Jennitta likes to start in a big circle, and continues with appreciations.
Another advice:

“get everyone to say something within the first 5 minutes”

(this is the reason why I use  the checkin exercise with teams ).

Safety Anonymous Poll for safety

Safety, is essential for a team…

2 Discover (30 to 50% of the global effort)

Various exercises can be used for the discovery activity, Jennitta discussed the timeline exercise and the different ways to build it.

3 Analysis (20 to 30% of the global effort)

Continue, stop and start. What went well, what went bad, and what to try out but always within a balanced approach (diagnosis / appreciative inquiry)


4 Plan (15 to 30% of the global effort)

Where do we want to be? How do we get there from here. She discussed various forms of prioritization. According to me, the action plan is the main OUTPUT of the sprint retrospective.
5 Close (about 10%)

Nothing’s really new, it looks like my own retrospective structure but it was interesting.

How to evaluate if requirements specification are good enough for testing : the agile Inspection process and numeric exit by Tom Gilb

I needed to move to the airport  so I didn’t attend this last keynote. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to hear Tom Gild view, in our Open Space afternoon session. He discussed the necessity to quantify requirements, to face the current and common issue with requirements… “they’re not focused on value ”

OpenSpace Technology…

… for the first time on the Agile Testing days.

You know that I like the OpenSpace Conference format very much. I like to organize the event, I like to facilitate it … and I like to participate. It is a special time to discuss the topics that are important to us.

Many subjects

Many subjects

Many topics were covered this time in Berlin, some continue today, for example, Alternatives to certification (one session that I did not attend), a session transcribed by Elisabeth Hendrickson,

Openspace - Affinity !!!

Openspace - Affinity !!!

I was interested in two sessions “Scrum  of Scrums - Improvement communication in distributed large teams” and “Lightweight specifications”. Results: interesting discussions with a small number of participants. For the “usability testing” session, we were only two, Andreas and me but it was late in the afternoon.

In term of organization, the OpenSpace opening was good and done in the (famous) circle. A very good start:

  • with the description of the main rules, the 4 principles of the Open Space Technology
  • with highly motivated people who proposed various and interesting topics.

Then, it was a little more chaotic with a lack of information given to participants, and a apparent lack of preparation (rooms, schedules, facilitation). But sessions were good, and all the participants were very satisfied. It’s the most important.

Nevertheless, I think the OpenSpace day of the conference can be improved : maybe with “the good level of structure to promote grow” (in terms of information, logistics, timing and facilitation), and probably with a better coordination with lunch and keynotes.

My ROTI (return on Time Invested) for Day 3:

ROTI pour cette journée 3

ROTI pour cette journée 3

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 www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 2 (French version Jour 2 on www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Days 3 (French version Jour 3 on www.qualitystreet.fr)

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

Agree!

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 !”

OK…

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)

Agile Testing Days Berlin - Day 1

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on

Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 1 (French version : Jour 1 on www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Day 2 (French version Jour 2 on www.qualitystreet.fr)
Agile Testing Days 2010 : Days 3 (French version Jour 3 on www.qualitystreet.fr)

Tuesday  5th October was the First day of the Agile Testing Days at Seminaris Center in Berlin. About 300 participants ?, 26 nationalities ? attended the conference (José Diaz will be able to confirm…)

The greatest Agile testing experts were given appointment to discuss a crucial topic on any Scrum and agile projects:  TESTING.

Great Keynotes !

No less than 3 keynotes for this first day with 3 women in the spotlight: Lisa Crispin, Linda Rising and Elizabeth Hendrickson.

Keynote d'ouverture

Opening Keynote

Lisa Crispin was in charge of the opening keynote: “Limbo Lower Now: an agile approach to defect management.”

A great talk on a frequent subject of our agile coaching intervention : the defect management system (DFS).

Defect Management Tool, YES or NO? advantages? Drawbacks? contexts?

Lisa Crispin used the limbo analogy for defects management : teams have to lower the bar for defects:

Limbo Dancing from Lisa Crispin

Limbo Dancing from Lisa Crispin

After having presented the traditional view for defects, Lisa described other perspectives : the agile and lean view.

Key points :

“Defect queues are waste… It’s inventory”

“You find a defect, fix it because bugs are technical debt”

Lisa described the 5 steps of an agile approach :

  • “Understand the problem
  • Do what works for your team
  • Focus on one goal : BUG PREVENTION
  • Start simple
  • Explore alternatives”

Defect prevention must be the only goal of the team.

“Make it a team problem”

Concerning metrics, Lisa said that trends are more important than number. The rest is a matter of context, and the ability to experiment several options (for example, start without DTS, set simple rules such as no more than 10 defects at once, fix all bugs, treat bugs as stories, use color-codes cards and stickers …) to finally keep the one that fits best.

“Do That works for your team”

And the only way to do that is to make frequent retrospectives (”Inspect & Adapt”).

Second keynote with Linda Rising « Deception and estimation : how we fool oursevelves”.

With humor and finesse but supported by a cognitive psychology background, Linda Rising shows how humans are wrong with their estimates.

“We deceive ourselves in the estimates we make daily”
“We’re hardwired to deceive”

Too bad :)

Examples of everyday life and the ability to play with her audience make the demonstration very effective. The link with IT projects was easily made:  bad estimates of course !

“We tend to believe we’re better than we are”…

… so we tend to overestimate our ability to do anything (analysis, Development, testing, deployment…).

“Agile to the rescue”

And this is where agility came to the rescue to make it good enough. Small steps, openness, teamwork and the opportunity to experience and learn from its mistakes (retrospective) really help in our estimates. But only to mitigate our human defect !

Last keynote of the day with Elizabeth Hendrickson “Lessons Learned from 100 + Simulated agile transition.”

Elisabeth Hendrickson… a show, an extraordinary dynamism to report the observations and conclusions gained from 100 + simulated agile transitions, via Wordcount. WordCount is a simuation game that she has used with teams to simulate agile transition.

Elisabeth presented what makes the difference between a team that struggle and a succeeding team.

Teams that struggle have the following characteristics: no exchange with the customer, no visibility, nothing done, everything in progress, separate work areas…

Succeeding teams seek customer feedback early and often and are not afraid to demo something before it’s done. Customers provide examples and teams reinvent key engineering practices around feedback and visibility. They reshape their physical environment.

Results also shown behavioral patterns:

  • People add their own complexity and time pressure
  • Any transition results in Chaos (for a period of time)
  • The cry for control “things are out of control ! we have to get this under control”
  • Tools serve as an alignment tool
  • The use of communication solutions for visibility problems (you can’t see what is going on so you talk about it !)

At the end, Elisabeth provided also facilitators and coaches with a last advice:

“Trust the group”

Get out of the circle, give them the information they need and then step back. Don’t tell the team what to do.

The sessions = confirmations

My morning sessions were dedicated to ATDD (Acceptance Test Driven Development) with a focus on Robot Framework, a tool for test automation, through sessions of Thomas Jaspers (”Testing Web Applications in Practice …”) and Pekka Klarck (”ATDD using Robot Framework “).

ATDD using Robot Framework avec Pekka Klarck

ATDD using Robot Framework with Pekka Klarck

On the agenda: the willingness to show the excellent integration of Robot Framework with Hudson and Selenium in the first session, and good examples of test cases (BDD syntax or not) during the second session.

Interesting … Robot Framework seems to be the automation tool that much of the testing community seems to push. This tool is also popular here at Valtech Technology France :  afterwork , tutoriel, blogs or conférence

Confirmation in the morning, confirmation also in the afternoon with Geneva Murphy’s session, “Requirements in the agile world”.

Her session  was dedicated to requirements … and HP tools :)

Agile Requirements - Image ou Texte

Agile Requirements - Image or Text

4 axes for the session:

“Be lean, Iterate, Visualize, Collaborate “

Lean: think about the value of each asset to the team and the organization and how they can be reused. Organize the backlog and eliminate waste. Try to standardize.

Iterate: Incite feedback, promote collaboration and help find defects earlier

Visualize: With prototypes, screen mockup, business process flow and DEMO

Collaborate: Involve multiple stakeholders in the definition of requirements. Actively seek contributions of others. Negotiate and share information

… I agree! That said, I had the feeling that we stayed on the surface without addressing real expectations of the agile teams that I am coaching.

More interesting, the session of Ray Arell, « Waterfall to an agile testing Culture » with special attention on the role of the “cultural” dimension on an Agile transformation project.

Ray made a relevant comparison with the Thru-Hiker, a person who hikes a long distance trail from end to end (for example from Mexico to Canada, trekking 20 miles a day.

Agile Testing Culture - Ray Arell

Agile Testing Culture - Ray Arell

The agile developer / tester  and the Thru-Hiker both work to a monumental goal and do their best to insure that goal. They do iterative planning and execution. They’re both focused on incremental success. Same sustainable pace, same reasonable plan, same sense of risk avoidance.

In summary, without an Agile culture and its key elements (trust, collective ownership, sustainable pace, just enough process and proactive learning), it doesn’t work. I firmly agree, you need an environment of trust.

Scrum is currently a buzzword. I observe that too many organizations today want to do agile, for the benefits, but without making efforts and without questioning the organizational culture. Defacing agility and you’ll just get … poor results!

Here is my personal view : only efforts pay off; to get results, you have to work again and again … and make efforts! Agile Transformation is not an exception.

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

Return On Time Invested - 4

Return On Time Invested - 4

Mainly for the keynotes,  people and the global conference atmosphere

See also:

Agile Testing Days Report : Day 2

Agile Testing Days Report : Day 3 (OpenSpace)