Test Strategy Revisited

An effective test strategy

  • Should clearly be based on the input from the stakeholders,
  • It should give directions to the tester in what to test, but give him/her the freedom to define tests on the basis of his/her test-, system- and domain-knowledge
  • It should fit within an agile context,

In the 9th edition of my G(r)ood testing column I explain that many testers wonder how their test strategy will change if they move to agile. I’ll introduce a different approach for setting up an test strategy that meets the above criteria and might surely benfit you.

Watch the introduction video below or go to the column on the Eurostar community pages

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Improving Test Automation in your organization

The Test Automation Day 2015 will be held on 18 June 2015 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The central theme of this year’s edition is: Improving Test Automation in your organization. The organization aims to have stories in the following areas:

  • Improving your strategy
  • Getting business value from TA
  • Improve your team development: How do you grow a team, what is the output of an excellent team?
  • Improve test professional-skills: What makes an excellent test professional? How does he/she approach TA, the team and the stakeholders?
  • Improve TA implementation: We’d like to hear about innovative test automation implementations

Over the last few years the TAD has proven to be an interesting conference. If you like an impression of the conference, check out the interview that I made in 2012 and 2013.

The program committee, Dorothy Graham Kristian Karl, Elfriede Dustin, Adrian Canlon and Pieter Koopman like to invite you to become a part of the leading conference on Test Automation by submitting your experience before November 7th 2014.

See more details on the conference website


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SCRUM Battle: Now you can experience the Agile way of working yourself

Yesterday I hosted the SCRUM Battle on the NoorderTest Conference (see my previous post: SCRUM Battle on NoorderTest 2014. Today I compiled footage from various battles into a one-minute+ impression. You can watch it here:

The SCRUM battle is an ideal way to introduce the SCRUM way of working in an engaging way. The SCRUM battle is a simulation game in which 2-4 teams experience how to work in an Agile team.

It has been designed to introduce SCRUM to stakeholders from e.g. the business, operational, management or Sales. But is also helps developers and testers to get a good feel about SCRUM.

In the first half hour I explain the principles and operation of scrum. Straight afterwards the participants participate in a three sprints simulation. They actively develop and work on their product. During these sprints they will engage in all activities that make SCRUM; e.g. Sprint planning meeting, the “daily scrum”, the review and the retrospective. After the game they have experienced delivering incrementals according to the Definition of Done. They also have understanding of the role of the product owner and Scrum master.
Above all, they have learned that “scrum” gives a lot of energy and produces a lot of satisfaction.

It does for me !

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SCRUM Battle on NoorderTest 2014

The castle in Groningen, venue of NoorderTest 2014

Historically I doubt whether the Castle in Groningen was ever under siege. This month however a serious battle will take place at the venue.

Next week, on Thursday 9th the NNOT (1) organizes the 7th edition of the NoorderTEST. During this conference the Castle will host a fine series of lectures by e.g. Rudi Niemeijer, Leo van der Aalst, Eric van der Meulen. See the full program

Highlight of the day is the SCRUM Battle. Together with Egbert Bouman I will lead our teams into the world of SCRUM. If you want to experience how to work in agile teams, this your chance.  I previously wrote about this game simulation on this blog: SCRUM Battle, Fun way to experience agile in which an enthusiastic participant writes:

“The success of the SCRUM battle wasn’t only because of the enthusiasm shown by the participants, but also thanks to the incredibly engaging Scrum Masters. They made learning this Scrum-technique fun and entertaining to do. I doubt there was anyone present that evening that did not learn something new that evening.”

If you want to join us in the battle, feel free. You can leave your traditional armor at home, might want to bring your laptop and smartphone. Those are the tools for the modern quality fighter ;-)

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Personal invite: 45 min workshop on agile progress reporting

Test progress reporting can be cumbersome. There is a complex story to be told, but it needs to be done in such a way that the business and project stakeholders get the message. Sequential planning techniques such as critical path analysis won’t work in agile, but stakeholders keep asking for an indication of the progress so far, the work that remains, the bottlenecks and dependencies.

Last year there was an urgent need in my project for a clear status report. Therefor we introduced, the subway map. Subway map reports are derived from the London tube map.

On 3o October 2014 I will be giving a 45-minute interactive workshop, where I explain the idea behind subway mapping. But, don’t lean back to comfortably; I’ll put you to work as well. Based on a case, you’ll be invited to draw your own progress report.

Can’t wait to get started? Grab a pen and download the Quick Reference Card.

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How many teams have adopted SCRUM ?

I have had discussion on how much of the teams are actually doing SCRUM. I think many organizations do SCRUM, since in a big organization there is always at least one team who does SCRUM. But that does not mean that other teams are not doing traditional development. Still there might be teams that say they do SCRUM but only use a board, and not the principles and mindset.

The Gartner hype curve from 2007 predicts that Agile will be mainstream adopted between 2012 and 2017.  So now is a good moment to asses where we stand with SCRUM adoption.

From my experience I’d say that the majority of teams are still not developing according to SCRUM. So I’d guess that 30-40% of the teams are using SCRUM, and 60-70% might have some knowledge but do not practice it.

But although I meet a lot of people from many companies, my reference is of course limited. What do you think?

Do I hit to high or to low?  Please, give me your opinion.

You can post your answer below in this blog. Or you can go to the discussion on the testhuddle.

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Exploratory testing – four modus operandi

EuroSTAR published my latest blog. This month I’ll be talking about exploratory testing. Although exploratory testing is with us for some time, there is not a real industry standard. You can tune it to your needs. Trigger for this blog was a presentation I had to give at a client site. Since they were quite new to the concept,  I did not want to send them into the real world with a mere “Anything goes”.  In my course I therefore introduced four ways (modus operandi) on how to apply exploratory testing. Just to get them started.

The video explains in 45 seconds what the blog is about:

Interested in the four modus operandi? You can read the blog on the EuroSTAR community pages.

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SCRUM battle: a fun way to experience Agile

Begin September we gave the SCRUM Battle at Quby. Quby is a dynamic organization with the ambition to enable people to get grip on their energy consumption. They do so by developing products and services that are smart, easy and relevant. Toon the smart thermostat is one of their best-known products. It can be found in many households.

During one evening circa thirty employees were trained to cooperate in an Agile environment. Quby’s own newsletter describes the experience as follows:

“Even though the tasks themselves were nothing more than making pictures of your group members, or searching the internet for pictures of snakes and puffins, the real learning experience was learning to work together to complete these tasks as fast as possible.”

During this simulation game, the four teams tried to deliver as much business value as possible. Along the way they gained understanding of the success factors of SCRUM and they also experienced some of its pitfalls.

“The success of the evening wasn’t only because of the enthusiasm shown by the participants, but also thanks to the incredibly engaging Scrummasters, Marcel Schaar and Derk-Jan de Grood. They made learning this Scrum-technique fun and entertaining to do. I doubt there was anyone present that evening that did not learn something new that evening.

Since the SCRUM battle is a battle, only one team wins. But the other teams do not go home empty handed. As Cynthia Hoekstra explains in the news letter:

 ”In the end, we discovered that we didn’t learn the most of doing everything right, but by doing it wrong. Failing forward, as Derk-Jan has said himself.”

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Explosive Software

Today I uploaded the PDF of my Bits & Chips Column. In this edition of the column I compare the way we perform Risk Analysis in IT and in the petrochemical industry. As I state in the column, in the petrochemical industry the impacts of risks are far more tangible than IT. Image a chemical plant out of control. We are confronted with explosions, health risks for the operators, etc. Would we do a different risk analyses if our software could explode?

Continue reading

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19th Testing Retreat was awesome

Testing Retreat 2014

This weekend I spent my time in Denmark. Together with 10 other testers from various nations like the Netherlands, UK, US and Denmark, we settled for the beautiful Lungholm Castle, home for the 19th Testing Retreat. The Testing Retreat is a peer conference that aims to discuss relevant test topics and inspire its participants. During normal conferences there is mostly little time to have the in-dept sessions of the kind that the retreat hosts. Some of this year’s agenda topics were:

  • Increasing the value of testing,
  • The new ISO29119 standard
  • Testing the internet of things,
  • Shifting Left, Up, Down and Right,
  • Craftsmanship and professionalism,
  • Conflict handling using the conflict diagram,
  • Targeting your product using persona’s
  • Test strategies Qualifiers and Disqualifiers and
  • Practical review strategies.

It was a very nice, inspiring weekend, that I trust enables participant to improve their value as test professional and to see developments in right perspective. I am already looking forward for next year’s edition.


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