G(r)ood testing 13: The Context is Us

Test Process improvements are driven by the context. In our search for the optimal test approach, we assess the systems, the development methodology or the risks that we cover. However, there is a much bigger factor that we often overlook. This factor has a great influence on how we improve and what we improve.

Want to know what this factor is? Have a look at the introduction video (52 seconds) or better still: read the column for more details.

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Where do testers spend their time?

On the EuroSTAR testhuddle I found a blog by Chantal called “Why Software Testers Can’t test.” In this blog she asks the reader what we think testers love doing the most. “The answer”, she states, “might surprise non-testers out there. The answer is: testing software”.

IBM partnered with Software Quality Engineering to execute a survey called “The Future of Testing: Where Do Testers Spend Their Time?”. It explores where today’s testers are spending their time, what obstacles they most often encounter and where they think their attention should be focused.

Based upon this research Chantal states that although testers want to test, they actually lose a lot of time doing other stuff.

I suddenly remembered I did a similar research back in 2010. Chantal is focusing on virtualization, whereas I used the research to identify inefficiencies in organization that lay outside the testing domain. During the EuroSTAR conference of that year I presented the results by means of an annotated checklist:

Checklist Losing valuable testing time - Derk-Jan de Grood

I stated: “If we discuss the impact of these time killers with management, they will give us support for eliminating the causes”. This way the checklist becomes an enabler to boost test improvements and to release time so testers can do what the love doing most: testing. What do you think, is the checklist still up to date?

Download: Checklist- Losing valuable testing time v10

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Implementing SCRUM: how do you involve management?

agile-wereld-stikkies-humongous Agile in de echte wereld 2: Starten met SCRUM

Agile in the real world is a series of articles in which I investigate the impact of Agile. Earlier I posted part 1: Thanks for the nice comments. In Part 2, I discuss the introduction of Scrum in the organization. Where do you start? How do you ensure that your colleagues not only copy the process from the Scrum guide, but that the implementation will actually develop the characteristics that we discussed in the first article. My experience is that Scrum implementations are an organizational change that can bring a lot of good, but also triggers resistance. That’s why I always put an emphasis on the involvement of management. Read my article (sorry in Dutch only) for my motivation:Agile in de echte wereld 2: Starten met SCRUM.

I am very curious about your experience. How do you involve management in the change? Or do you just start within the team? Please share your thoughts and post a comment.

Posted in Agile, Agile in de Echte Wereld, Bits & Chips, SCRUM | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

We finished the Expo:QA program


A good thing about being conference chair is: you make the program. And you get to be proud on the result! After a lot of reviewing and discussing, moving talks up and down, the EXPO:QA program is done. I would like to thank all that participated, the speakers that will make the conference what is known for: a good conference. All the professionals that sent in a proposal but didn’t make it. Sorry, but your contribution is appreciated. And of course my fellow committee members Tony Robres, Graham Moran and Raynald Korchia.

Programma EXPOQA15

Have a look at the program: it contains some very good topics: Agile, Test Automation, Non-functional testing, Collaboration, Mobile, QA strategies, and much more.

Further more we have 4 wonderful keynotes:

  • Paul Gerrard (Internet of things)
  • Cesario Ramos (Holistic view- Scaling Agile)
  • David Evans (Pilars of Agile)
  • Zeger Hese (Testing in the age of distraction)

But mind the learning sessions and tutorials as well. I hope you like it as much as we do, and hope to see you in Madrid (June 2015).

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New e-book on Implementing SCRUM

Together with Bits & Chips magazine I plan to publish an e-book this year.  The book will put experience and practice in a center position; What is the impact of SCRUM? What choices do you need to make when implementing it? Basis for the e-book is a series of articles under the same heading, which present these issues in small manageable chunks.

In the first article in the series I explain(in Dutch) what typically changes as organisations switching from traditional development to Agile / Scrum. I mention the 5 characteristics of agile that I often discuss with my clients.

Implementing Agile in the real world- first article.JPG

The issue of Bits& Chips magazine containing the first article of “Agile in de Echte Wereld”

What do you think? Are there essential characteristics missing? Knowledge sharing is to create successes. Therefore, I ask you to think with me. Together with your expertise and questions we can sketch a picture of the Agile landscape.

Download:  Agile in de echte wereld | Deel 1 | De vijf karakteristieken van Agile

Posted in Agile, Agile in de Echte Wereld, Bits & Chips, Books, SCRUM | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

G(r)ood Testing 12: knowledge of plane crashes can help to prevent IT disasters

In my new column is a follow-up on the G(r)ood Testing 11- Explosive software – when risks do count. In this 12th edition of G(r)ood testing I talk about the lessons that we can learn from space and air disasters: Unlike in the average software projects, when a plane crashes, extensive research is done to understand the causes. So these research reports are  an instructive read for tester that want to understand why problems occur. It also challenges us, do we do a good job?

We know that most disasters occur through an accumulation of several small and seemingly innocent errors. Should we not combine the errors we found in order to investigate scenario’s that might have an unexpected impact? I requires a shift in mindset and some people might see it as seeking problems instead of killing them. But it will be rewarding for those that want to add value and prevent IT disasters from happening.

Read the full column on the EuroSTAR community pages. Enjoy the read.

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Trondheim Test Conference Program Announced

View on Trondheim

View on Trondheim

I can feel the conference season getting ready. While I lay the last hand on the program of EXPO:QA conference, I get the message that the Trondheim Text Conference program is published. The TTC is organised by the Norwegian Computer Society. I am honoured to be asked to kick-off the day and I am looking forward to meeting a lot of friends again.

You can view the program on the free-test site.

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SCRUM question: Should we wait for the sprint to finish?

I posted a column on the LinkedIn Pulse. Last week, we had discussions about releasing features during the sprint. When a feature is done, is it OK to release it straight away, or should we wait for the sprint to finish?

I got some comments on the question already, thanks Ray Oei, Gerard Jonker and Vipin Jain for sharing your thoughts. Do you want to join the discussion and share your opinion. Please join in. Or just tune in to learn from what others have to say. You are welcome at the LinkedIn Pulse: Releasing during the sprint.

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Combining errors into disaster scenario’s?

In my new column is a follow-up on the G(r)ood Testing 11- Explosive software – when risks do count. In the 12th edition I like to talk about the lesson we learn from space and air disasters: Should we combine errors to investigate into scenario’s that have unexpected impact?  I believe it is a shift in mindset, some people might see it as seeking problems instead of killing them. But it might be rewarding….

The column is not yet published, the video is !



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Expo:QA’15 Program Chair

Today it got announced that I’ll be chairing the Expo:QA’15 Program Committee. For this event I’ll be teaming up with one of the most well-known and top contributors in the Spanish testing community, Antonio Robres. Together we have the challenge to select the best papers for the program.  We’ve received more than 100 papers, and I am glad we get support from the 25 experts of the technical committee, that will review all the submitted papers as well

The expo:QA conference is the meeting point for software testing and quality professionals in Spain and Europe. After 9 years of conferences, expo:QA has successfully consolidated itself as the biggest and most prestigious event in southern Europe dedicated to this field. It will take in Madrid from the 8th of June to the 11th.

Posted in Conferences, Expo:QA, Testing | 1 Comment

G(r)ood testing- the full list

I noticed some of the links were broken in publications section, EuroSTAR has moved some of the G(r)ood testing columns to a new place. I have updated the links, so you can acces them again. While I am at it, I listed them below:

Curious what edition 12 will be like, stay tuned !

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Agile in the real world, a co-production with Bits & Chips Magazine

Success is created by sharing knowledge. Together with Bits & Chips magazine Valori plans to publish an e-book: “Implementing Agile in the real world”. In this new ebook experience stories will take a dominant position. What problems are organizations facing when they apply Agile? What choices do they make while implementing Scrum?

Basis for the e-book will be a series of articles by the same name that presents these stories in small manageable chunks. On the backlog are currently topics like: “The 5 characteristic of SCRUM, “Starting with Agile?”, “The pilot project”, “Selecting the team”, “How do I create transparency?”, “Should I really enhance each sprint?” And “Who owns the DOD?”. In each article I ask the Bits & Chips readers to comment on the article, and suggest topics for next issues. So I trust the backlog will change over time.

The articles will be published (in dutch) from January onwards and they will be integrated into an ebook late this year.

See other books related to “de echte wereld”

Posted in Agile, Books, Column, Experience report, SCRUM | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Testing Circus January Issue: the SCRUM Battle

Testing Circus -Derk-Jan de Grood-January-2015

Testing Circus, January 2015 Issue

Testing Circus is a free to download monthly International Software Testing Magazine. The magazine is subscribed by thousands of software testers worldwide. The January Issue has just been released.

It contains many cool articles, among which my description of the SCRUM Battle.  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.

Read more about it in the magazine: download it for free on Testing Circus Website 

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Explosive software- when risks do count

The latest edition of G(r)ood testing, my monthly column on the EuroSTAR community pages is out. Last night Daragh from Qualtech put it online.

The column is inspired by discussion I had about Failure Mode Effect Analysis that is often done in the petrochemical industry.  It made me think. How do we testers treat risk, and why do we settle for a mere prioritization of system parts, that deludes the effectiveness and value of our work?

You can read the column here: G(r)ood testing 11: Explosive Software- when risks do count.

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The Full Circle: What to do with our “old school” test experience

Bob van de Burgt made a nice video of the SoapBox presentation I gave on the 2014 EuroSTAR conference. In this 5 minute message I state that the testers’ world gets extremely diverse. Not only are there many disciplines within testing, we also collaborate more and more with other disciplines like business analysts, programmers, Maintenance and Users. Additionally when implementing agile I experience that People and Cultural aspects are the key succes factors of implementing the required changes. So Collaboration is key, because with this magnitude of diversity no man can be a know-all.

We need to be aware that many younger IT-ers do not have the back-ground that experienced tester have. Since failing forward and learning is a key aspect of agile, we seem te be tempted to throw away the “old” knowledge, and start our own learn cycle. Here lies a responsibility for the experienced testers. I state in this message that they should coach, guide the less experienced team members. Share the rich knowledge that is available about testing and helping to make it applicable in order to contribute to valuable quality software.

Note: the Column I refer to in the video can be read here (sorry only in dutch): Samen + werken= Een Streepje Voor Hebben.

Posted in Agile, EuroSTAR, Testing, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment