Testing and Quality in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe 4.6 version)


Last night Mette and I presented the closing keynote of the TestNet Fall Event. In our keynote we shared our ideas on how the embed Quality and Testing in Scaled Agile Environments. Ever since we are working on this topic we find that a lot of information is available. The SAFe 4.6 release has more focus on quality than the previous versions had, but from our expertise we add some extra measures that quality professionals can take to add value. It’s a call for action for the community. We should be proactively emphasising the need to embed quality thinking not just at the team level, but also at higher levels in the organisation. In our keynote we gave some suggestions. I believe we gave a great keynote that resonated with the audience.  If you want more information we suggest to contact us or read on of out publications:

Please find the slides below:

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Keynote: Testing and Quality in the SAFe framework

Less than a week to go!

On 10 October Mette Bruhn-Pedersen and I will give a keynote presentation on the testnet conference. Proud to be giving a keynote on this great event and enthusiastic about sharing the stage with Mette.  In our keynote we will discuss how testers can contribute with their knowledge and expertise in a scaled agile organisation.

We will use the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Enterprises (SAFe) challenges how testers, Q&A and test managers, and test specialists work together with the entire organisation. Although the framework is described in more details than other comparable frameworks it is not very elaborate on how testing and quality practices fit in. This raises new challenges for testers, Q&A and test managers, test architects, test specialists and people in similar roles together with the entire organisation. We will describe what guidance SAFe actually provides and suggest additional ways test and QA professionals can contribute with their special knowledge and expertise.

Key Takeaways of the keynote:

  • Test and QA professionals can add value at all organisational levels in ways that are not described in SAFe.
  • Defining a quality strategy is key to handle typical issues with test and QA activities spanning multiple teams and even multiple Release Trains.
  • Getting quality and testing anchored on Portfolio Level ensures that quality can be built-in from top to bottom.

The keynote is accompanied by an article and eBook that were previously published by Bits&chips Magazine and EuroSTAR. You can find them here:

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Over Coffee, Qualifiers and Disqualifiers

Today I was approached by a colleague of mine. He had heard in a presentation that he attended that I had done some work on the Coffee taste (or flavor) wheel. He thought it to be an interesting idea and wanted to know some details. We took a nice coffee and I explained the set-up to him:

In coffee land (but also in whiskey land) they use a taste (or flavor) wheel to describe tastes that you can look for while sampling the coffee. See the illustration for an example made by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The taste wheel serves as a kind of checklist, but also helps to give names to the flavors. It provides a language that is commonly understood among the tasters. The coffee taste wheel displays both the disqualifiers (bad tastes like burned, to bitter, etc.) and the nice flavors (the qualifiers) of the coffee.
We can use this idea to make or own testers-taste-wheel, include it in our test strategy and find our own language to make the business understand how we rate the system under test.

More information can be found here:

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Cover Article Bits & Chips – Ensuring quality when scaling agile

Proud to see that the article I wrote with Mette Bruhn-Pedersen on quality in scaled agile environments is the cover article of the september Issue of Bits & Chips magazine. The article gives an insight in what the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) says about quality and testing. We also share our thoughts on how, at the various layers of the Portfolio configuration, we can contribute to embed quality and testing measures.

You can read the article in Bits&chips or preview it here: Ensuring Quality when scaling Agile 

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The 23nd Testing Retreat was awesome !

This weekend I spent my time in together with 14 peers from the profession. We gathered to share our experiences and war stories, to benchmark opinions and discus trends in the testing Profession. The Testing Retreat is an international peer conference that aims to discuss relevant test topics and inspire its participants. During this 23rd edition we had participants from the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and even the USA. 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:

  • Challenges for the profession
  • Looking in the crystal ball – Trends
  • The Agile Tester
  • What are key knowledge items we need to teach our young professionals
  • Blockchain (p=np)
  • Lean vs Agile
  • Failure modes while transitioning to Agile

But we discussed a lot of non-agenda topics during the breaks, dinner and time-of moments. E.g. AI and Ml, Scaling Agile, Security and test automation. 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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Transforming testing to fit modern development- Agile testing

On 12 September Andreas Prins and I gave two presentation on the TestNet session night. The theme of the event was: Transforming testing to fit modern development. Andreas identified various rhythms (or wavelengths) in the SDLC and explained the automation that can be done in order to have short lead times and frequent feedback on code quality and delivered value.

My presentation was called “I am an agile tester, because…”. During my talk I discussed what it takes to be an agile tester and I introduced 12 statements that can be used as manifesto for the agile tester. During the presentation 49 participants filled in the survey and we got a nice impression of how agile our testing is. You can find the results below, and in the slide deck.

Using a recent project I was involved in I put these statements to the test. I explain the test strategy I applied and shared my successes and failures. One of the participants tweeted about the presentation: “A nice war story. The 12 statements trigger me to think about my own role and the role of testing within my project and organization”. I think I succeeded my mission.

If you want to perform the survey yourself and find out what makes you an agile tester, you can find it at the valori website (in dutch). If you want an English version, do not hesitate to contact me.

Please find the slides of my presentation below:

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A Game Called Scaling

Scaling agile is becoming a hot topic.  Furthermore organizations more and more start to understand that business agility and responsiveness is a key factor to survive and stay ahead of their competitors. In order to yield value, the work of single agile teams should be integrated and embedded in larger business processes. The adoption of agile is shifting from a single team focus to a wider organizational approach

In May this year Valori piloted a serious game in which participants experience the challenges of inter-team collaboration and gain insight in the various scaling agile frameworks, like SAFe, LESS and Nexus.

This Video gives an impression of the game when we hosted it at the TestNet Event. If you like to experience the Scaling Agile Game yourself contact me or someone at Valori.

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Transforming towards modern development

On 12 september TestNet is organising an event called “Transforming towards modern development”:

Andreas Prins Andreas Prins (VP Product Development @XebiaLabs) will talk about the different faces of testing in DevOps. We all know testing is an ever recurring theme, but to deliver our applications successfully, practices have to change and we have to broaden our scope. Modern software testing is critical to successful application development, but the approach differs depending on the wavelength.

 I will open the night with my talk called:”I am an agile tester, because“. I will share 12 statements that define the agile tester. We will discuss how these statements impact the software development life cycle and how they enable you to explain why you do what you do as a tester, to improve yourself and discuss it with your team.

Together the two talks will give insight on how we transform our testing to fit modern development practices.
More info can be found on the testnet website

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Agile Test Management – Our second promo video

Jan Jaap Cannegieter and I will be hosting a full day tutorial on the Agile Testing Days. In this interactive training day we will discuss, investigate, share ideas and techniques that are relevant for creating your agile test strategy. Full details of the tutorial can be found on the conference website: agiletestingdays.com

In this second promo video Jan Jaap and I sat down to discuss the topic of test documentation:

Click here if you want to see the first video we made.
We hope to see you in Potsdam !

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Cake to celebrate the impact of Agile Adoption DPD

DPD has embraced agile as development method in order to respond better and faster to the demand of the (internal) customers. Together with colleague agile coach and a Scrum master from Valori we have assisted the organisation in starting-up and executing the first sprints. Today we have finished the first phase of the transition in a festive way and we see that the change has worked out well. Agile lives in the organisation and the development teams output is predictable. It is transparent in what it is working on and delivers at the end of the sprint. “Perhaps the best thing is that nowadays people dare to say NO”, said the client during his speech, “that may sound crazy, but it means that we have more focus and the development team will not let themselves be bothered by small distractions.” Of course there is always room for improvement, yet we are very enthusiastic about what has been achieved within a short time. Time for cake!

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Tutorial on the Agile Testing Days – a brief introduction

I am really looking forward to host a tutorial on the Agile Testing Days this year. I will do this together with Jan Jaap Cannegieter, and with you. I you decide to participate.

In order to persuade you to join the ATD in general, and our Tutorial in particular, Jan Jaap and I sat down to make you a video-introduction.

In this full day tutorial we will look at different aspects of test management in Agile

We start the tutorial by looking at the list of ‘old-school’ test management activities and discuss their value. Are they stil done in an agile context, done by the team or done by someone else. Based on the outcome of this excercise we will discuss, explain and experience different test management activities. We will make (by means of an exercise) an agile test strategy for a specific application, and learn how we can plan and monitor testing in a sprint and over sprints. We will use session based testing for this. We will also do an exercise with light weight documentation (one page test plan and test charters).

In larger organizations we see there is a need for test management like roles. For instance where compliance issues are important, in big projects where testing in different teams should be coördinated, as line manager of a test pool or responsible for development of test craftmanship. In this part of the workshop we will explore in which situation a test manager is justified, what activities and tasks add value and what the do’s and don’t are…
At the end of the day we will understand and have experienced basic test management activities in an agile environment. They also know which test management like roles can add value in agile organizations.

More information can be found on: agiletestingdays.com

We hope to see you in Potsdam !

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Full Keynote Recording: The Art of Excellence – Adding value as an IT professional


In order to distinguish themselves and meet customer expectations organisations need to embrace change. During the TestingUy conference I gave a keynote with the title ‘The Art of Excellence – Adding value as an IT professional’  In my presentation I explained how Continuous Delivery, DevOps and Scaling Agile aim to effectively react to disruptive innovations, but introduce new challenges. How can we as IT-professionals embrace the changes needed to continuously add value to our employee. In the video recording you can hear me explain why so many organisations take te effort to change their modus operandi and I suggest some roles that you can adopt to stay in demand. In the talk I state that while making the transition from an traditional to adaptive organisation, there is a need for

  • Visionary’s,
  • Explorers and
  • Experts.

And you can be either on of them, at your own level. Develop yourself and your team in order to keep adding value and embrace the new opportunities that arise.

I think TestingUy did a great job with this recording, and it looks great. It is not that often that I get to see a full recording of one of my talks with this quality, so I am proud to share it with you.

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State of CI/CD – Results of our workshop on continues integration and deployment


In 2017, Valori organised three interactive sessions in which the participants and I analysed what is needed for a successful implementation of continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD). Two of these sessions were during the Software Centric Systems
Conference on 4 October, the other on 11 October during the Autumn Congress of Testnet.

In this search for the preconditions for a successful implementation of CI/CD we gained an interesting snapshot of the state of CI/CD. We concluded that it’s more than a technical challenge; there are interfaces with many aspects in system development. Both technical and organisational.

With Bits&Chips magazine we published an article with more in-dept conclusions. You can read the full article in the B&C magazine, or here: Randvoorwaarden voor een succesvolle implementatie van CI/CD.

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Next gen testers don’t know waterfall

Next gen testers don’t know waterfall is the title of the new blog by . Is that a bad thing you might ask. In his blog Federico takes a statement that I made during the TestingUy conference and adds his own experience. “Based on what I have seen in different places, companies, and contexts”, he states, “the fact that young testers don’t know waterfall software development implies that they maybe:

  • Weren’t trained in test case design techniques
  • Haven’t worked with documentation
  • Haven’t worked with a defined process

You can read the full post and learn about the consequences of this observations on the Abstracta website.

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The 2018 State of Testing Report is out!

This year’s State of Testing survey has been the most successful yet, with roughly 1,500 responses from QA professionals, from over 80 countries worldwide.

Here are some questions this report attempts to answer:

  • How much do your testing peers earn around the globe?
  • What the current successful testing approaches are, and how you should be using them?
  • Where should you expect to be professionally in 5 years?
  • What skills should you be improving on today to prepare for the trends of tomorrow?
  • Are you prepared to handle the greatest challenges testers deal with every day?

Download the full report and feel free to share it around – as that’s sort of the point, to share these insights and better serve our profession worldwide.

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