Big Room Scrum Battle

Early January Valori hosted a big room serious game. This time we organised our Scrum Battle, agile simulation game with 44 teams. Altogether we played the game with 450+ participants.  The mood was great, the participants enthusiastic and I love the photos that were taken.Fotocollage SCRUMbattle 400+By organising this event we introduced a lot of people to the Scrum way working. And I spoke a lot of participants that learned a lot and enjoyed the collaboration with their team.

Getting curious? You can find more information about the Scrum Battle here:

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Join the Product Owner Game on 7 March

On 7 March 2016 Valori will once more organise the Product Owner Game. This serious game provides an interactive learning experience for Product Owners, Stakeholders, Business managers and Developers. During the training they will experience the ins and outs of the Product Owner role. Game. While working on a realistic case you learn the two faces of the PO, who is facing both the business and the development teams. Learn in a relaxed and informal setting how you can translate a product vision into an Epic planning, learn how to prioritize and schedule the release and work together with the SCRUM teams. Finally you learn how to evaluate the business release against the product vision. See the video for an impression of the previous game we gave:

 

The training will be held in Nieuwgein, the Valori Office and you can be there.
Registration can be done on the PO game information site (in Dutch).

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State of Testing Survey 2016

PractiTest’s blog QA Intelligence and  Tea Time with Testers Magazine, have launched their annual “State of Testing” Survey of 2016, which they claim to be the largest survey worldwide of Testers and QA Managers alike.

“We aim to identify the existing characteristics, practices and challenges facing the testing community”, states Ma’ayan from PractiTest, “in hopes to shed light and provoke a fruitful discussion towards improvement”

The value of the survey grows with the amount of people that fill in the questionnaire. So why don’t you contribute also. You can find the survey on: http://qablog.practitest.com/state-of-testing/

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Do not become a bottleneck for the agile project

Last November, during the EuroSTAR conference, I was asked to give a soapbox speech in the grand hall. During this “lightning strikes the keynotes” session I stated that if we testers don’t make haste with our test improvements we’ll become the agile project’s bottleneck.

I made a short summary of my arguments in the video below. In my latest edition of G(r)ood Testing 19: Let’s make haste with our test improvements I repeat this message, and also indicate some items that require attention in many organisations. You can read the column and my other columns in the series on the EuroSTAR community pages.

 

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Free eBook: Agile in the real world, Starting with SCRUM

The end of 2015 is approaching quickly. While we are busy getting everything ready just before the holiday season, for many it’s also a period to start thinking about the coming year. Having the right knowledge and insights enables you the have a head start. Therefore, I offer you my latest eBook as a free Christmas read.

XMAS READ 1

Agile in the real world, starting with SCRUM is a practical guide full of tips to get started and make most out of one of the leading trend in the field of software development.

The unique collaboration with the Dutch Bits & Chips Magazine enabled me to publish this ebook. The chapters of this book have been presented to the Bits & Chips readers in subsequent articles. This enabled me to collect reactions of the readers and merge them into this ebook. The result is an easy reading book that has its origin in the real world and contains contributions of many Scrum practitioners. It is not about the cutting-edge innovations that only few organizations make; it describes the things we encounter every day. The book is filled with recognisable dilemmas and practical tips. I am therefore convinced that contributes to the success of your Scrum transitions or will help you shaping your New Year’s resolution to finally get started with SCRUM.

You can download the book (in Dutch) for free

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Product Owner Game: Experience the work of the PO

At Valori we developed a new serious game. Previous we had only the SCRUM battle, which gives delegates insight in the SCRUM process. It is a great success, but we missed a good interactive way to learn Product Owners, Stakeholders, Business managers and Developers what the Product Owner role really means. Therefore we created the PO Game. This game workshop lets you experience the work of the product Owner. While working on a realistic case you learn the two faces of the PO, who is facing both the business and the development teams. Learn in a relaxed and informal setting how you can translate a product vision into an Epic planning, learn how to prioritize and schedule the release and work together with the SCRUM teams. Finally you learn how to evaluate the business release against the product vision.

More information can be found on www.valori.nl
There is also a dutch version of the trailer.

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Agile Retrospectives: it’s OK when something fails

For the 9th article in the Bits&Chips series I collaborated with Ben Linders.

Who’s Ben: He is one of the Agile Retrospectives Authorities and besides the book “getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives’. he gives many workshops on the topic. I am glad to have his ideas incorporated in the article.

Outline of the article: We describe that learning is a part of SCRUM and the way to become great. It’s OK if something fails, as long as you learn from it. Retrospectives are within SCRUM one of the moments to gather the learnings and make plans for improvements. The article gives an overview of some techniques that you can use and some questions you can ask in order to have valuable retrospective meetings.

Where do I get the article: You can read the article in the latest edition of Bits&Chips magazine or read it here (sorry Dutch only): Agile in de echte wereld deel 9: Agile Retrospectives

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Call for Papers QA&Test 2016

QA_C4P.jpg

QA&TEST is organising the 15th edition of the International Conference on Embedded Software testing. The conference is like every year held in beautiful Bilbao (Spain), see the picture below. We, the technical committee, like to invite professionals to share their knowledge and experiences in the Conference. The Call for Papers has started and will end on 21st March 2016. More information can be found on the conference website.

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What job did you think you’d be in?

In an interview I gave I was confronted with the question “What did you want to become when you were in college and how much of that can be found in your current job?” Suddenly I remembered that I wrote a column about precisely this topic. Although it is a view years old, I like to share it with you as my weekend post I think it is a nice read that explains how testing adds value and what motivates me as a Tester.

Do you ever go back to the reasons why you have ever started in the field where you are working in now? Why are you an IT-professional, Tester, Business Analist, Project manager, or why did you become a programmer? A colleague asked me why I seem so fond of my profession. “You are always so excited when you talk about testing”, he said, “what makes it so special for you?” Suddenly an image came back to me. It was the future job that I envisioned at the time I was still a physics student and my world consisted out of tangible research equipment, material samples, helium columns. At that time, I had little affinity with IT. I’ll love to share that image with you:

It’s a Monday morning; the R&D team meets for their progress meeting. The low winter sun shines softly through the slats and puts the meeting room in a diffuse light. Some team members are already present. They exchange their weekend experiences while enjoying their first cup of coffee. The Industrial designer walks in, together with the project manager, who makes an inventory of the people present. He indicates that he wants to start. “Two weeks ago we discussed our new project,” he opens, and continues by once more summarizing the mission statement. “The sale of our current vacuum cleaner, the SZ10, is declining rapidly. Product Management has given us the task to develop a successor. This model should cost no more than $ 100 and has to be consistent with the latest trends. Last week I asked you for your expertise and to think about possible solutions. Today I am anxious to hear what you came up with.” At precisely that moment Henk enters the room. Under his arm he carries a heavy box, which he puts on the table while glancing round the room. He does it with a mysterious smile. “Don’t let me interrupt you all, please do go on”. Yasmin, the industrial designer takes the word. On the basis of an impressive trend analysis, she explains what the designer team thinks the SZ11 should look like. Applause, grandiose! All participants feel that this will set the standard for all vacuum cleaners, yet to come. Next Henk stands up from his chair, again that smile. He draws the box towards him and says with a hint of importance in his voice: “Last month the technical department had a major technical breakthrough. We can now make engines that are more quiet, use less power and have a significantly increased suction power.” He lifts a large metal object from the box. It is all wrapped with copper wires: “Meet the engine that will make the SZ11 a resounding success. Oehs and ahhs from the team. Wow! Then everyone notices the troubled face that Bernadette has. ” But”, she stammers, “That engine will never fit into the design of Yasmin.”

This is the ideal situation in which I saw myself working at that time. Being a part of a multidisciplinary team that has a clear purpose. Working in situations where the individual components seem fantastic, but combining them is a challenge. Together searching for the best solution, it seemed like a terrific job. I did not envision IT as domain, since I was used to a more physical environment. But during my very first job, I found myself in exactly this situation. We did not make vacuum cleaners but software, but the problems were the same. So was the goal: to achieve a solution. I was the software tester, and in this role I was critical to the customer requirements, technical documentation and communicated with all other disciplines. Like Bernadette, it was my job to look for potential problems. For example, inconsistencies in the design, errors in the interfaces, omissions in the state model or database validations. OK, these problems were not as tangible as vacuum cleaner motors, but not essentially different.

For me the specified memory holds an important lesson. At times there is a lot of debate about the purpose of testing. Do we test to find errors, to improve quality, to reduce the time-to-market or maybe to provide comfort to stakeholders? I think all the above are true. But thinking back to the vacuum cleaner project, it becomes clear to me what my primary driver is: “Working together towards a working product. A solution that excites us a team and that we believe in. And, of course, a solution that benefits the business.”

That was true for me in 2013 when I wrote this column, and still is today.

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Survival techniques for testers, beyond the T-shape tester

Tuesday 3 November Jan Jaap Cannegieter and I gave a tutorial workshop at the EuroSTAR conference. In this wisdom of the crowd session we searched for and defined our future. Main question throughout the workshop was:

How do we survive as a tester and what skills and knowledge de we need to develop.

We used the T-shaped tester (Rob Lambert, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory) that combines need for general knowledge with advanced test skills to be successful. But we thought it was time to expand the model. Therefore we introduced the π-shaped professional. Theπ-shaped tester extends his global knowledge (development, project management, agile etc.) and test expertise with yet another specialism to stay in demand, e.g. security, test automation, requirements.

In the workshop we did a brainstorm what other specialism will be in future demand. Jan Jaap and I were astonished by the fast amount of suggestions provided by the group. See the both flip overs they covered below:

Specialisms for testers 1 Specialisms for testers 2

In the second part of the workshop we did dot-voting (see the previous pictures) to invest how popular the various specialisms were. The most popular were taking as a starting point for a further investigation. Below you’ll find the skills for each leg of the π as determined by the participants.

Note: I think it is interesting is to see what the teams filled in for the other two legs as well. The generic skills and testing skills they come up with variate with each of the specialisms.

Agile

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Test Automation

IMG_1958 IMG_1959 IMG_1960

Business Analyst

IMG_1961 IMG_1962 IMG_1963

Programming

IMG_1964 IMG_1965 IMG_1966

 

DevOps

IMG_1970

IMG_1972 IMG_1971

Non Functional testing (Security, Performance, UX)

IMG_1957 IMG_1956

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SCRUM and the time-to-market

I get many questions about the effectiveness of SCRUM. “To what extend does an organization benefit from SCRUM?”, they ask me, “What are arguments for or against the adoption of it?” Good questions.Check out the latest edition of G(r)ood Testing. In episode 18 I discuss SCRUM as a development method and give my view on faster, cheaper and the time-to-market.  You can read the full blog on the EuroSTAR community pages

 

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Agile in Europe, an overview for the Seoul Testing Conference

2015-10-17 08.58.42

Last week I visited South Korea and gave a presentation on the SSTC. I was asked to give an overview of the way that we do Agile in Europe. Since Agile is not an out of the box approach, it is hard to explain how we do Agile in Europe. There is not such as one way. But In this presentation I combine my experience, the information I gather whilst visiting various European Conference with Benchmark research. I believe the presentation gives a nice overview of the things we are struggling with and the agile test challenge. Valuable for the target audience, since I learned that Korea is somewhat lacking behind with the Agile adoption. But there is a great interest, so I hope this presentation helped them to gain a better understanding and lowers the threshold for implementing it.

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DevOps is Scaling Agile too

A customer of us asked us to give a presentation on DevOps and Agile. Having a mixed audience, Agile experienced Developers, Testers, People from the Business and Operations too, I decided to link Agile and DevOps in a logical story. In this presentation I explain the step from SCRUM to DevOps. Starting with why we want to do SCRUM, the challenges I see we are struggling with in daily live, and make the step to Scaling Agile (e.g. Less, DaD, SAFe). Scaling Agile scales its defects too. So we should fix your problems before scaling them. What will happen if you enter the world of Continues Integration and Deployment. Isn’t that Scaling Agile too? What does this mean for the defects in you dev – process?

See the slides below:

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When Agile doesn’t fit

agile-wereld-stikkies-humongous

Most of the time I am really enthusiastic about agile, but I notice that some people do not get along with it. In my latest episode of ‘Agile In The Real World‘, I transcribe the interview I had with a tester that felt his job has gone sour.

  [image source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/lemon-sour.jpg] 

His position in the organisation has weakened, his position in the team was unsure. “when I have to apply for my own job”, he stated during my interview,” I doubt whether I get hired”. I cannot change myself, “he sighs, “group processes don’t do me justice,  I prefer to work solo.” My Interview describes the story of one person, but there are more stories like his. More people who are struggling with their position.

If we want these people to deliver value to the organisation we’ll need to have an eye for what motivates them.  Scrum Master and Agile coaches should actively approach them during the transition to Agile, and discuss with them how they can continue to deliver their value within the context of the team.

The full article has been published (in Dutch) by Bits & Chips magazine, and can be read here: Agile in de echte wereld- deel 7- In de knel

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Beyond the T-shape: The Broken Comb

In response to my previous post, John Stevenson kindly pointed me toward an article by Brittany Hunter, who claims to be a poly-skilled software designer. Does she adopt the T-shape? In her article on the broken comb she explains why this model is most effective to her.  I think it is a nice addition to my previous post, what do you think?

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