The 22nd Testing Retreat was awesome !

This weekend I spent my time in Hereford (UK), where 12 testers gathered  to share experiences and war stories, to 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:

  • Quality embedded in SAFe
  • The role of the Chief Quality Officer (CQO)
  • Agile Testing Quick wins
  • DevOps
  • CI/CD
  • Robot testing
  • Exploratory testing.

But we discussed a lot of non-agenda topics during the breaks, dinner and time-of moments.

Of all the topics, I liked the “Quality embedded in SAFe” best. We took big piece of the day to discuss the SAFe framework and identified measures that we can take to improve the quality and discussed how current testers can contribute to quality (awareness) in scaled agile environments. We did a brainstorm by sticking post-its on a big SAFe poster and discussing what it would mean for the people involved.

We concluded that there are many hooks and events where quality is a relevant topic. Testers and Test managers will engage new territory and probably have to learn new skills. But we concluded we can help the current roles in the framework to become more quality focused as well. Some follow up is needed on this topic, since it relevant and t0o big to cover in a single session

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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Registration for webinar now open!

Join my Upcoming Guest Webinar on Tuesday, September 26th:

When a Test Manager Makes a Difference.

Due to the adoption of Agile, the role of test manager seems redundant. Teams and individual professionals are self-managing and coordinating their own work. Nevertheless, in some organisations and projects, there is a need for a quality ambassador that understand the agile quality strategy and can help, monitor and ensure that working solutions are delivered. In this webinar I will explore situations in which you as a test manager can make a difference.

Registration is now open:

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Review of “Agile in de echte wereld- Starten met Scrum”

Ronald Bos and Karin Dieleman work for respectively for Technolution and ASML.They are also readers of Bits & Chips magazine, Both wrote a review of my latest book Agile in de echte wereld- Starten met Scrum. I am proud to read they appreciate the book and it’s nice to learn what they find most valuable topics and assets. They gave the books a 4 and 5 star rating and liked the many practical tips it contained. “A must read for all that start with Scrum” Thank you for your kind words.

You can read the review below:

Review Agile in de Echte wereld by Derk-Jan de Grood

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Striving for CI/CD at the [SC]2 conference

On 4 October the [SC]2 is held in Eindhoven. The [SC]2 is the leading software engineering conference in Europe for sharing best practices in the crucial and strategic discipline of complex software development. I am proud to announce I will be hosting two  interactive sessions on Continues Integration and deployment (CI/CD):

Continues integration and deployment empowers organisations to bring their solution in production fast and frequent. This interactive session will share the benefits of this concept and introduce eight conditions that need to be met in order to make CI/CD a success. After this brief introduction, we will make small groups and explore these conditions, exchange experiences and you will get an understanding what needs to be improved in your organisation. Talk to your peers and learn where they stand. Of course each of the groups will share their learnings, so we all go home with an understanding of how you can benefit from CI/CD and what needs to be done to make it work

More information can be found at the conference website. I hope to meet you in Eindhoven on the 4th of October.

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When a Test Manager Makes a Difference

I am invited to host a guest webinar for Practitest on 26 September. With these webinars Practitest aims to make conference talks available for QA managers that don’t get the opportunity to visit to many life conferences.

The webinar I will be given deals with test management in agile context. The talk aligns with the growing concern on how to embed quality in agile projects. Does test management become redundant when teams become self-organizing.  In this webinar we will explore situations in which you as a test manager can make a difference. For example: How do we e.g. deal with compliance, integration and final acceptance in a contractor’s context?  How does a test manager coordinate the work over teams and ensures the quality of the testing itself?

The webinar will contain some of my vision and experiences, but it will also include the results of a testnet workshop that I gave with Jan Jaap Cannegieter on this topic.

You can register for the webinar: “When a Test Manager Makes a Difference”  on the practitest website.

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4 tips for when you are starting with Scrum

Managementbook.nl is an online bookstore that sells books for professionals and managers. They also offer my latest book “Agile in the real world, starting with Scrum“. I wrote a blog for them in which I share 4 tips from the book. These tips might be useful for teams that are starting with Scrum.

The blog can be found on the management blog. Currently the blog is only available in Dutch, but if I get enough comments I will translate it to English.

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Great blog by Mellissa Perri: Product Owner vs. Product Manager

I recently had a few discussions about the role of the Product Owner, whether this is different from that of the Product Manager. I often explain that the PO has two faces, one looking towards the business and one towards the team. It is represented by the following illustration.

In the left part the PO is working on the Product vision and a.o. making roadmaps, managing the product Portfolio/Epic backlog. Basically the PO does a lot thinking and talking about what is needed to make a distinguishable and valuable product. A lot of these activities can be Product Manager activities also…. so logically, I get a lot of questions about the difference between the two.

Mellissa Perri wrote a great blog about this topic. I thinks it contains many answers.
Read it!

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Valori Agile Hackathon – Innovation on a free Saturday

This video gives an impression of the Valori Agile Hackathon that we held on Valori HQ in Nieuwegein last Saturday. On a free Saturday we worked together on a number of items: Conditions for CI / CD, The Agile Tester Self Assessment,  Agile Acceleration and Tips for Agile Coaches. We worked hard and laughed a lot, in a relaxed setting. We went home with a satisfied feeling and a number of (almost) completed products.

We will definitely do this again!

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Test your roadmap

Within agile projects roadmaps are used to define the releases and get insight in de dependencies between the various teams that are working on the release. An example of a roadmap is given below. A roadmap is a one pager that indicate the order of the releases and its content. Besides the example below, which is based upon subway mapping, roadmaps come in various formats.

An example of how a roadmap can be used to create transparency in progress and dependencies is given in an article that I wrote together with Cesario Ramos and Anko Tijman (you can read it here).

For a customer I ran a workshop on agile road mapping, where the participants were challenged to discuss their roadmap with their peer Product Owners. In order to inspire and feed the discussion I developed a series of questions that helped them to look at their roadmap from different angles

To test your own roadmap:

  1. Download and print the Test your roadmap – challenging questions sheet.
  2. Sit down with one or more of your colleagues.
  3. Pick a question and try to answer it the best you can.
  4. If the discussion becomes flat, just pick another question.
  5. Feel free to stop at any time and thank your colleague
  6. Update the roadmap with the insights gained during the session.

Success !

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Do’s and don’ts for the test manager – a testnet workshop

One of the two workshops I gave at the Testnet sprint event was a collaboration with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. The purpose of the workshop that we gave was to collectively rethink the value that a test manager has (or can have) for the organisation. During the session participants brainstormed about the various activities and roles that test managers can have. Think about test management in context of compliance testing, inter-team coordination, acceptance management, as integration manager as department or tribe lead. For each of the before mentioned situations the group discussed do’s and don’ts and thought about the added value that a test manager can bring to the table.

Jan Jaap and I would like to thank all participants for their interest to visit our session, and esp. for their input. The slides of this workshop have been updated with the results of the workshop and can be found on the testnet website

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Agile way of working at ING Netherlands

The ING made a video about their agile way of working. I think it’s always nice when a video is made that explains the work that you do. Luckily the Agile coach is introduced at 4:07: “there is one more vital role… that of the agile coach”.

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Agile Testing Days Program Online

Where do we go from here? To the Agile Testing Days of course. I am proud to announce that my session is accepted for this year’s conference. During my session “Trends and Future in software testing” I will discuss trends in the testing profession. 5 years ago the Dutch Test Association published a book that described the changes in the testing profession. This month I will host a retrospective workshop together with Ard Kramer, Hans van Loenhout and Andreas Prins, 4 of the original authors. We will judge the predictions we made. On the Agile Testing Days I will share the results of this workshop, discuss the trends in testing and share the opinion of our fellow testers: What do roles do they have now, and what roles do they expect to have in 5 years from now. Join this session if you are sometimes worried about the sustainability of your role, if you want to specialise yourself but wonder what specialisms are a safe bet, if you want to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the future.

My session is Tuesday 14 November in Potsdam Germany. You can read the full text and program on the conference website

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Agile Coachen – Het kalibreren van de MachTeam

My latest column on Agile Coaching has been picked up by AgileNieuws.  AgileNieuws.nl is a Dutch website on Agile. For this community platform I translated my English text in to Dutch. You can read the dutch version here: Agile Coachen – Het kalibreren van de MachTeam


Does your team look like this?

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New Blog post: Agile Coaching is like calibrating

“If you see me at work and spot me grasping in the air and turning imaginary valves. Then I am probably explaining how I visualize agile coaching.” 

EuroSTAR published a new post on agile coaching. In this post I explain how I work as an agile coach and compare my team coaching with calibrating a complex imaginary steam engine. The challenge is to find the right setting of each of the valves and balance the pressure. If we succeed in that, we have found an effective way of working that produces a lot of value for the organization. We could than say we have calibrated the machine

Read the full column on the EuroSTAR community pages: Agile Coaching – Calibrating the MachTeam.

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Testnet 20th anniversary: Two workshops at the same time

On Monday, May 15th the Dutch Test association (TestNet) will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Shakers and movers from the dutch test profession will contribute with sessions workshops that take place throughout the day.

I am proud to say that I am involved in two workshops (I believe this has not been done before at TestNet). How I can simultaneously host two workshops, that’s just a bit of a surprise …but then,  I am not alone in this.

Workshop 1: The future is now! Page 120 revisited
In this workshop Andreas Prins, Hans van Loenhoud and Ard Kramer and I will investigate what’s changed in the last 5 years in the field of testing. 5 years ago we were involved in writing the book “set your course, future and trends in testing” (In Dutch: bepaal je koers, toekomst en trends in testing). In this book we made firm predictions on where the test profession would be heading and what we testers would be doing in 10 years time.  The legendary page 120 shows a transition table from old testing roles to new roles that testers can perform. How accurate is this table? Should we add new roles and did our predictions come true? Join the workshop to find out.

Workshop 2: Agile Test Management

In my second workshop I collaborate with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Within Agile context test management seems to be obsolete. Testing is responsibility of the team, and the team is self organising. based upon Jan Jaap’s and my personal experience we will identify situations where there might be a need for you as a test manager. Join this workshop to learn where and how test management still has value!

Besides these workshop my colleague Egbert Bouman will share his experience with Agile testing in a formal organisation. If you want to know more about the program or want to sign up? Please check the website of TestNet.

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