Live! From Agile Testing Days 2016! Day 2! (Rhythm of Testing)

On December 7, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Wednesday, December 7 – cold. cold cold cold. Overcast. Did I mention cold?

Good thing we’re still inside the Dorint Sansoucci in Potsdam.

Last night’s award dinner and party was a tremendous success. The winners of the Software Testing World Cup were announced (see yesterday’s blog post for that.) What ELSE was announced was the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person (MIATPP).

The winner of the 2017 MIATPP was Maaret Pyhäjärvi (@maaretp)!  Terribly pleased with this announcement. Congratulations to Maaret! Well deserved.

This morning Michael Sutton is warming people up for the first keynote of the day. This will be Diana Larsen (tweets at @dianaofportland) whose topic is Liftoff: Start and Sustain Successful Agile Teams.

(Umm, internet access is toast right now, what’s up with that?)
Diana opens with the recognition that the in open space events, the right people for the discussion are those that are in the ones that are in the room at the right time.
And we’re having a reprise of the issues I did not mention in yesterdays keynote – man – loads of challenges with sound this morning – and internet access.
When Diana got into “Agile” she hung with some of the XP guys and have been engaged ever since. Do you use some form of Retrospective in an Agile team? Yeah. She wrote the book. Literally – Agile Retrospectives.
The point of the “Liftoff” book was to help teams get to where they want/need to be – so they can achieve Successful High Value Delivery
That means:
What the customer wants and accepts;
That creates value for the business;
In a timeframe that fits the customers’ needs;
Easily maintainable and supportable;
Leaves the team members with increased capability and eager to work on the next deliverables.
Thus people can deliver useful, high quality software and where the team learns enough to employ what has been learned in the next project. Thus, we need to avoid deathmarches – because, well, at the end of a deathmarch, we’re… ummm… dead.
Are we really ready? Do we know what we need to do to drive to a scenario where those things actually happen? If so, we’re ready for a Liftoff.
Now, if you’ve launched and having problems, it might be wise to stop and relaunch. After all, many of the stories, anecdotes, etc., presented by the “experts” are actually relaunches of the original effort.
Teams a Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)
One challenge is that teams are collections of individuals, within a large collection. Hence they are a system. Specifically a complex system (that is a very specific term, I’ll try and post a link to a definition when the dust settles).
In addition to being a Complex System, teams are ADAPTIVE – they change! They adjust and adapt. THIS IS A HUGE POINT when getting ready for liftoff.

One aspect – are the teams really cohesive? Do they work well TOGETHER?!?!
Promote Team Cohesion with Liftoff Design
Group Cohesion is a multi-faced process
Conditions for CAS?
What Containers do you want to establish?
What DIFFERENCES will show up?

Set the conditions PROPERLY for team learning – 
How? Remember these are HUMANS! (duh) Keep the team emotions ALIVE! People will learn best when their emotions are engaged! Appeal to the sense! A dill boring lecture is generally a terrible way to lean for most people.

Do it for real – learn by doing it. Keep people interested by having them do the work and learn to master the real work! Exercises are OK to start, but get to the real deal QUICKLY!

Keep stuff obvious – “Start Obvious, Stay Obvious” – make sure people can get a quick grasp of what is going on and needed.
Focus on the flow – no really. This is what will help drive learning.
When you are able to do this, THEN – Keep the setting first!
Choose Liftoff Activities (Pete comment -wisely)
Get the executive sponsor involved and ENGAGED – They can help explain the greater purpose and goal. You may consider “typical” Sprint 0 types of activities. (Pete note – I’ve seen this work really well, when guided properly)
Training Boot Camps might be of value – Consider both Retro & Future-spectives, etc., etc.,
No matter what else – DO include Collaborative Agile Team Chartering (this is a must!)

Chartering Model?

Integrate Purpose (Inspire)
Alignment (Collaborative)
Context (Dynamic)

Get people involved EARLY who can help guide those things – Produce Management, Sponsor, Facilitator, etc.,
This is where we let people know that this is worthy work, that this is something these people should invest their time and energy to act on this work. We can talk about



Product Vision (how will someone’s world change? What is the effect?)
Team Mission (what is the nature of the work that will need to be done to make that happen?)
Mission Tests (examine and TEST the mission – then write some tests that will help us measure and engage in the tasks at hand? Are we on track?
Alignment– This is how we commit to doing the work TOGETHER!
Simple Rules guide a system (pretty much all systems) and guide cohesion.
Core Team – why have people been engaged to be part of this team?
Working Agreement – stuff like, “What is DOD?” “What are our core hours?” “How many meetings will we have & how frequently?” – Stuff that actually guides the work.
Context – This is the piece that is usually most ignored.
How does this team fit with the needed work and how does this work with the team, the effort – and how does this work/team/effort fit into the broader system of systems
Go ahead and say Resource – really 
Committed Resources can be work space, tools, training, servers, etc., etc., Plan for that
LOOK FOR RISKS! (have the team help with this so they understand better what they may be facing. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

The Charter – 
This is a living document, not a dust collector or door stop!

Help teams build the energy & momentum to help teams get thru the liftoff. It can be hard. Don’t make it any harder than necessary.

And we’re over time!

Break now – then I present!


Yes, this. Exactly. (אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד Happy is the man who always fears)

On December 6, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

When was the last time you read something and said “This is precisely what needs to be said on this topic”?It happens occasionally, but it’s rare enough. And since I’m a bit busy and not getting to write new posts (hopefully I’ll get to it soon), the l…

Live! From Agile Testing Days 2016! Day 1 (Rhythm of Testing)

On December 6, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Tuesday, December 6 dawned cold. No, really cold. I’m from Michigan, this was cold. Snowing and still bright. Good thing I’m inside.The morning started with a lean coffee session hosted by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory. There was a good turnout and re…

Live! From Agile Testing Days 2016 – STWC – Day 0 (Rhythm of Testing)

On December 5, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

December 5, 2016 dawned cold, a little foggy after very heavy fog day night before, and with a beautiful hoarfrost coating the trees. I had a very long travel day yesterday which resulted in me showing up nearly 2 hours late to the conference center an…

Search in project for method usage using only bash script (zagorski software tester)

On December 3, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

TL;DR This post is about simple bash shell scripts that finds all files that use particular method. In my previous post: Product moving parts as source for test strategy, I described how I use github pull request in order to discover which part of application changed in order to create regression test strategy. Code that … Continue reading Search in project for method usage using only bash script

Building Bridges (@Beaglesays)

On December 3, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Many, many years ago I went to college and graduated as a teacher. I was going to say “became a teacher” but that would be wrong. College gives you a level of preparation to become a teacher but you don’t actually become one until you spend time in the classroom developing the requisite skills and … Continue reading Building Bridges

Organizing Tests With xUnit Traits (Assert.This)

On November 30, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Once you start to have a larger number of tests it can be important to be able to break them down into different categories or groupings. From a functionality perspective this allows you to only run a subset of tests. They can also help to provide clarity or insight to your test code, by replacing … [Read more…]

Mum’s the Word (Hiccupps)

On November 29, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

A few weeks ago I put out an appeal for resources for testers who are pulled into live support situations:

Looking for blogs, books, videos or other advice for testers pulled into real-time customer support, e.g. helping diagnose issues #testing

— James Thomas (@qahiccupps) October 28, 2016

One suggestion I received was The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick, a book intended to help entrepreneurs or sales folk to efficiently validate ideas by engagement with an appropriate target market segment. And perhaps that doesn’t sound directly relevant to testers?

But it’s front-loaded with advice for framing information-gathering questions in a way which attempts not to bias the the answers (“This book is specifically about how to properly talk to customers and learn from them”). And that might be, right?

The conceit of the name, I’m pleased to say, is not that mums are stupid and have to be talked down to. Rather, the insight is that “Your mom will lie to you the most (just ‘cuz she loves you)” but, in fact, if you frame your questions the wrong way, pretty much anyone will lie to you and the result of your conversation will be non-data, non-committal, and non-actionable. So, if you can find ways to ask your mum questions that she finds it easy to be truthful about, the same techniques should work with others.

The content is readable, and seems reasonable, and feels like real life informed it. The advice is – hurrah! – not in the form of some arbitrary number of magic steps to enlightenment, but examples, summarised as rules of thumb. Here’s a few of the latter that I found relevant to customer support engagements, with a bit of commentary:

  • Opinions are worthless … go for data instead
  • You’re shooting blind until you understand their goals … or their idea of what the problem is
  • Watching someone do a task will show you where the problems and inefficiencies really are, not where the customer thinks they are … again, understand the real problem, gather real data
  • People want to help you. Give them an excuse to do so … offer opportunities for the customer to talk; and then listen to them
  • The more you’re talking, the worse you’re doing … again, listen
These are useful, general, heuristics for talking to anyone about a problem and can be applied with internal stakeholders at your leisure as well as with customers when the clock is ticking. (But simply remembering Weinberg’s definition of a problem and the Relative Rule has served me well, too.)
Given the nature of the book, you’ll need to pick out the advice that’s relevant to you – hiding your ideas so as not to seem like you’re needily asking for validation is less often useful to a tester, in my experience – but  as someone who hasn’t been much involved in sales engagements I found the rest interesting background too.
Image: Amazon

Rethinking Equivalence Class Partitioning, Part 1 (James Bach’s Blog)

On November 27, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

Wikipedia’s article on equivalence class partitioning (ECP) is a great example of the poor thinking and teaching and writing that often passes for wisdom in the testing field. It’s narrow and misleading, serving to imply that testing is some little … Continue reading

A RubyGems SSL cerificate solution (Chris Kenst's Blog)

On November 26, 2016, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing

The Problem Early last month I was trying to update some gems on my MBP and ran into an SSL error: ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::RemoteFetcher::FetchError) SSL_connect returned=1 errno=0 state=SSLv3 read server certificate B: certificate verify failed ( In typical fashion I ignored the error and tried updating RubyGems (the package manager). That failed […]

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