How to boost Unit testing as a Functional Tester

Last September I joined the 21st testing retreat which was held in France. The testing Retreat is an annual peer conference where senior testers from various countries meet and spent their weekend together to talk about the profession. During the weekend we had an interactive brainstorm in we concluded that many Functional testers find it hard to advice on how to implement and improve unit testing. To help them out we collectively defined a list of tips that can be used to improve Unit testing in your organisation/agile team.

Read the column to find out what these tips are and how you can benefit from them: G(r)ood testing 25: Tips for how to boost Unit testing as a Functional Tester

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New Book: Agile in the real world, starting with Scrum

I am proud to provide a sneak preview of my new book. The artwork for “agile in de echte wereld – Starten met Scrum” (Agile in the real world, starting with Scrum) is reaching its final phase. Next step is to get the book printed. In contradiction to the earlier eBook with the red cover, this one will be a physical book. I revised the original texts and the added some extra chapters. The physical book will be 120+ pages full of practical experience and tips that make it a guidebook for all that want to start with Scrum or that want to improve their agile way of working.


The book is expected early november. More info can be found on the info page.

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21st Testing Retreat was awesome


This weekend I spent my time in France, where 12 testers gathered in the Chateau de la busquiere to share experiences, benchmark opinions and discus trends in the testing Profession.  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, but I can guarantee we discussed a lot of non-agenda topics during the breaks, dinner and time-of moments:

  • Quality mission, If we as testers focus on testing i.s.o reducing complexity and dependencies in the system landscape we fail our quality mission
  • DevOps, Experiences with moving to DevOps
  • Agile transition, Can old school testers transition to agile teams
  • Ageism in IT, Brainstorm: how can we share our experience in a less traditional way
  • Testing in the large, how do we test the operational success of our new feature or release
  • Agile Performance testing, Is there a contradiction in Agile and performance testing
  • Compliancy and testing, What challenges does compliancy (e.g. Sox) add to the testing job
  • Bug reporting in Agile projects
  • Offshore testing and distributed teams, How to deal with distance between team members
  • Ethics as a new quality attribute
  • Trends in IT, AI and IoT have an impact
  •  Agile test strategies for projects (scaled) and departments
  • What should be in the ‘agile MTP’ and do we need it?

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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G(r)ood testing 24: The need for (agile) test strategies

The test profession seems to be become more technical and more widespread. Teams should do their (automated) Unit and Functional tests. Additionally they need to focus on non-functional tests and integrate their work with that of the other teams. How do we keep overview and ensure that acceptance and organisational readiness tests are included in the equation as well. In my new column I write about the new keynote I have written for the SIGIST autumn conference. When working in a multiple team projects the chances that all test activities coincidently align are extremely small. I therefore conclude that even within agile projects there still is a need for test strategies.

You can read my plead in more detail on the Eurostar community pages:

G(r)ood testing 24: The need for Agile test strategies

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New Book on Scrum: Manuscript is sent to the Editor

Last year Valori published the e-book “Agile in the real world, starting with Scrum“. Together with the Bits & Chips magazine I produced a practical guide for organizations that want to make the most of their Scrum implementation!

This e-book was a great success considering the responses we have received in recent months and the number of downloads. It confirms our analysis that many professionals are adopting Scrum or are seeking ways to get more out of their agile development process. Especially for them I decided to rework the eBook into a more substantial physical edition.

Artist impression of the physical book. The cover artwork is not yet finished but will look distinctive from the eBook cover.

For the physical book the original chapters have been revised and supplemented with more examples from the real world. The original text has been expanded with new chapters on the Scrum implementation model (the three stages that continue to be a Scrum transition), the refinement process, the preparation of the Definition of Done and using the definition of Ready. Finally I added tips for setting up the sprint review and the final chapter explains the relationship between the initial phases of the Scrum transition with the ultimate goal: Business Agility. This were I briefly put Scaling Agile, the operating model, product thinking and Governance into context.

I am pleased to announce that the manuscript is sent to the editor and I am awaiting the print-proof soon. The physical book is published in Dutch be available later this year. The before mentioned e-book is no longer available for download. But fill in your details on the form and you will receive notice as soon as the physical book is available.

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BCS SIGIST Autumn 2016 Conference

Tomorrow (15 September) the British Computer Society will organize their Autumn Conference in London. The conference is organized by the SIGIST, the special interest group in Software Testing. We have an interesting line-up with a.o. talks on Automated test design (by Mark Harman), a software testing clinic in which young an new testers can get hands-on experience and get a feel on test skills that are needed. by Dan Ashby and Mark Winteringham. Neil Thomson will do a talk on Test Data. DevTestOps by John Stinson and John Karn will talk about team conflicts.

I am proud to offer a workshop on test progress reporting in Agile projects using subway mapping in which we will make our own one-page test progress report and learn how subway mapping can be used to put testing on the project management agenda.

I have to honor to close this inspiring day with a keynote in which I’ll search for de fundamentals in software testing and discus how they remain standing in a changing (read: more agile) world.

I hope to meet you in London, have a chat and a drink. More information can be found on the BSC website. The full program can be found here: SIGIST Program.

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G(r)ood testing 23:

Together with colleague Kelvin Geerlings I wrote a Column in which we shared our experiences we had with End-to-End testing in larger agile projects.  This blog deals with the organisation of the End-to-End tests and how you can manage teams to adopt it in the sprints. It was originally published in Dutch, but got some requests for an English version.

You can find the column on the EuroSTAR community pages: G(r)ood testing 23: End-to-End integration in Scaled Agile projects

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The Agile Organization Epic @ Valori Office

Today I sat down with Marja van Solkema to prepare the Agile Holland meet-up of 5 september.

Marja and her colleagues of the scrum coach school will challenge us to discover the characteristics of the ideal agile organisation. We will sit down in groups and exchange our ideas and experiences. The session will be held at our Valori Office in Nieuwegein.

Today I learned the limit of 30 participants has been reached, and there is even a waiting list. So if you did not subscribe yet for the meet-up, you’ll have to wait for the report of this session. Don’t want to wait: Find Marja’s first thoughts on The Agile Organization Epic here (in Dutch):

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End-to-end testing in agile projects


Together with colleague Kelvin Geerlings I wrote a (dutch) blogpost in which we shared our experiences we had with End-to-End testing in larger agile projects.  The end-t0-end integration is a difficult challenge for agile teams that are good development teams, but often lack insight in the business processes, the relationships between the systems in the chain and are struggling with inter-team dependencies. Often we see the End-to-End integration being done by a separate team or not at all.

This blog deals with the organisation of the End-to-End tests and how you can manage teams to adopt it in the sprints. Currently it’s only available in Dutch, but if we get enough requests, it will be made available in English soon. You can read the dutch column here: ketenintegratie in scaled agile projecten.

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Testing Talk – interview by Anthea Whelan of Proffesional Tester

For the June edition of Professional Tester I was interviewed by Anthea Whelan. In the interview I was asked about the Value of testing and how current trends influence the way we operate. She also asked me what things still surprise me. Want to know my answer? You can read the Testing Talk Interview in the Professional Tester magazine.


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EuroSTAR webinar: T-shape and π-shaped testers

Last week Jan Jaap Cannegieter and I gave a webinar for EuroSTAR. We had circa a 100 participants that tuned in to learn about survival techniques for testers. In the webinar we shared the results of the workshops that we gave earlier and discussed the specialties that testers can develop to stay in demand as a professional. Jan Jaap and I enjoyed the Q&A afterwards very much. The recorded webinar is available on the EuroSTAR Testhuddle (you can watch it if you log-in to the test huddle or leave your email address).

You can also see the slides below:

In the webinar we refer to two blogposts in which we share the results of the workshops we did. You can read them here:

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The Refinement process; Thinking ahead increases adaptively and the quality of the solution


Refinement is an important element of Scrum. It’s the process where the product backlog items for future sprints are prepared. Experience learns that when development teams get up to steam, the refinement process becomes a new bottleneck. The development team will have an insufficient number of items that comply with the (DoR) and crucial information that is needed to order the backlog is missing. How do you avoid this from happening?

Together with Marcel Schaar I wrote an article for Bits&Chips magazine in which we explain how thinking ahead during refinement increases adaptively and the quality of the solution. You can read the article (sorry in Dutch only) in de article section on this blog


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Successful testing in waterfall projects? Agile goes undercover

Agile goes undercover on the EuroSTAR community pages. [image:]

With Eric van de Mark, I was having a discussion on how we can improve testing when we are working in a traditional waterfall context. Often we can benefit a lot from agile practises, but it’s not always wise to wave the big Agile flag. Read the G(r)ood testing 22 column to learn more about our approach: WINO-Waterfall In Name Only. 

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Train strike? Belgium Testing Days with discount!

Although there may be strikes, road works, security checks, and hailstorms the Belgium Testing Days is going strong. They have an excellent program with speakers such as Julian Harty, Doug Hoffman, Stuart Reid, Isabel Evans, Gil Zilberfeld and Mark Tomlinson.

Why lose a day of work that you can choose to spend strengthening your skills and blowing your network wide open? Join the BTD conference for the very special “Train Strike” price of  100€ per/day on Wednesday and Thursday!

“With this great offer, what’s keeping you from coming to Belgium TA discussions?”, says Mieke Gevers,”the BTD offers more hands-on workshops, Open Spaces, Round Table discussions, and significant networking opportunities than any other IT Quality Conference.”  You can register on the conference website.

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[Webinar] Survival Techniques for Testers: Beyond the T-shaped Tester

The T-shaped tester (Rob Lambert, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory) combines need for general knowledge with advanced test skills to be successful. But testing is a versatile profession and demands are growing. Time to go beyond the T-shape and introduce the π-shaped tester. Extend your global knowledge (development, project management, agile etc) and test skills with yet another specialism to stay in demand, e.g. security, test automation, requirements. In this webinar Jan Jaap and I will report the results of our search for future needs. We will explain how we can survive as a tester and what skills and knowledge de we need to develop. In our story we include the responses we got from the 100 participants that joined the workshops we gave on this topic.

Check the EuroSTAR website for registration and details.

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