With SCRUM a shorter time-to-market ?

IT faster to the market

I got some requests to discus the effectiveness of SCRUM and its impact on the time to market. Triggered by these questions I wrote an article  which is published on our own company blog. In it I state that if you want to reduce the time-to-market with SCRUM, the organisation should be ready to deploy the code that the development teams deliver. I give some examples of situations I have encountered, and conclude that the time-to-Market does not depend on how well the development teams have implemented their Agile, but on the weakest link in the whole development chain, including business and operations.

I plan to translate this column, say yes if you want me to (please do comment) . But currently it’s available in dutch only (sorry): Scrum time-to-market, hoe zit dat nou eigenlijk?

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How good are your collaboration skills?

I often encounter discussions on testers competences. One, who believes testing is an easy job, should try a search on the Internet. He’d be surprised how many competences are associated with good testing. Being a tester, what skills should you focus on? What skills should you develop? There is one skill that is rapidly gaining relevance.

Watch the video introduction below (it’s only 29 seconds long) to find out which one it is. Or read the full column. Its my latest column in the G(r)ood testing series.

Posted in Agile, Column, EuroSTAR, G(r)ood testing, Testing, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress reporting with the Subway Map

Originally posted on Derk-Jan de Grood:

Progress reporting can be cumbersome. You want to get your message across and
provide detailed information, but long tables and lists do not appeal to the reader.
Subway maps have been developed to give insight in progress, bottlenecks and
dependencies. In one quick look stakeholders recognize the steps that need to be taken in order to reach the project goal and get insight in the work that is finished. The Quick Reference Card explains how to create and use a subway map for progress reporting.

Progress reporting with SubwayMap teaser

Download the Quick Reference Card
Use the template to make your own

View original

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Scaling Agile: Frameworks compared

scaling agile

Implementing SCRUM in a team is a nice challenge. Based on the amounts of discussion on SCRUMButt and SINO (SCRUM In Name Only), it is not really easy to get the process, the artefacts and the mind-set right within each team. But when it works, the organisation often wants more. Scaling the agile implementation brings along many more challenges, among which the definition of scaling. I found a nice nice interview with Steve Spearman on infoq site, where he states:

” To some people scaling agile means going from a few agile teams to multiple, or even hundreds of, agile development teams. There are some unique challenges that come up whenever you have an organization where more than 3 or 4 agile teams need to work together in a coordinated fashion. Other definitions of scaling may be to spread agile beyond IT, seeking agility in business operations or other areas of the organization.”

The good news is, that there are some frameworks that can help you out. The bad news is they each have their accents, their own strong and weak point. But how do the various frameworks differ? Which do you use in your organisation?

In the interview Steve refers to the ASK matrix he made that compares the scaling frameworks. The site provides links to the frameworks itself, compares them and shares some comment by framework authors of DAD, LeSS and Spotify authors. It seems a nice read for the summer-months. Check it out on www.agilescaling.org


Posted in Agile, Scaling Agile, SCRUM | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Continues Cycles in Test Automation (the slides)

Yesterday Ard Kramer and I gave a presentation at the Test Automation Day in Rotterdam. The room was packed and the story told. In the presentation we shared our experience with introducing TA in the organization. Our story does not focus in individual tool and way to script, but we describe how to implement the change in the organization. This presentation describes the full circle…..

Test Automation Cycle

  • First we bypassed the argument of Test and organizational maturity and made sure that the organization got started with learning how to do TA.
  • Then we learned how to make a business case to get buy-in from the management
  • Following we made an approach to satisfy different needs by different teams
  • We learned how to make the solutions they found accessible for other teams by embedding TA in the organization
  • To found out that maturity was a think not to be neglected.

View the slides of the presentation to learn how we dealt with this. The slides contain links to the previous presentations that we referred to during our talk also.


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Test Automation Cycle

Today Ard Kramer and I will be talking about the continues cycles in Test Automation. It’s the 4th story in a row, and although the story stands on its own, it builds on from previous experiences that we shared.  The Test Automation cycle is depicted below. In the cycle you can see the voyage we made and the key lessons we learned. This model will be the back-bone of our TADNL presentation. Outside the circle we made reference to the previous talks we gave on the Test Automation Day. You can find them below: Test Automation Cycle   2014



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Sharing the 4th lesson of Test Automation on the Test Automation Day

Thursday 18 June the Test Automation Day will be held in the WTC Rotterdam. Together with Ard Kramer I will present the 4th lesson of test automation on the Test Automation Day. The presentation will be our experience story on the implementation of automation within organisations.

The 4th lesson, you might think?
What are the first three lessons? 

Especially for this occasion I dedicated my 15th edition of G(r)ood testing to this topic. You can read this column on the EuroSTAR community pages: G(r)ood testing 15: the 3+1 lessons of test automation. But you can watch the video also:

Posted in Ard kramer, G(r)ood testing, Test Automation, Test Automation Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subway mapping in Tallinn

I am on my way now to Tallinn and the NTD that are being organised in this beautiful city. On Thursday I will give a workshop on progress reporting in an Agile context. We will be experimenting with making our own subway map. Subway mapping is a well-known graphical presentation, but funny enough it is hardly ever used to report project progress and the dependencies between various Agile Teams. After this week that might change!

Please, if you are at the Nordic testing days, join my session, and surprise your project manager, PO or stakeholders with an effective overview of the projects testing progress and quality.  Since we have two hours I hope to have time to introduce a new variation of the subway map: the ambition map, used to manager improvements and align expectations.

Progress reporting with SubwayMap teaser

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Tutorial: User Centered Risk based Test Stories.


On 9 June I will providing my Tutorial on Business and stakeholder needs.  I’ll introduce a 3 step plan to determine what qualifiers and disqualifies potentially make or break the product. This knowledge is an excellent starting point for your test strategy. Know what tests matter in the eyes of the stakeholders and create User Centered Risk based Test Stories.

The tutorial is inspired by one of my hobbies: Coffee. And during this interactive workshop we will make a taste-wheel for testers, which is based upon the flavour wheel used for testing Coffee.

All rights: ©1995 Specialty Coffee Association of America


I hope to see you in Madrid.

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Join my EXPO:QA Tutorial in Madrid


On 9 June (less than two weeks from now) I will providing my Tutorial on Business and stakeholder needs. You are kindly invited to join me in Madrid.

You wan’t to know what we will be talking about?  On the EuroSTAR TestHuddle I have written column about this topic: Test strategy revisited . The column introduces a three step approach to revamp your test strategy.  In Madrid we will experiment with this approach.

In the practical hands-on workshop participants will boost their understanding of the needs that business has and they will experience how these drive development and testing. We will determine different persona’s for a simple mobile application and investigate what needs these user-groups might be having. Experience learns that this exercise alone, will lead to new test insights.

But we’ll take the tutorial a few steps further. Using qualifiers and disqualifies, participants will execute an alternative risk analysis and discover how its results can be used to drive tests, perform reviews, find early discrepancies in the design and how it can be used to sell you testing to your stakeholders.

How will provide them with the information they want? In the workshop we define test missions and execute them. We will do role-playing to practice our test story. Rather than communicating lists of bugs and passed test cases, we learn to understand the words that resonate with our stakeholders.

More information can be found on the EXPO:QA Website

I hope to see you in Madrid.

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Testing on the toilet

The Belgium testing days 2015 were held in Brussels. One evening I was having dinner with a couple of testing friends. That night we did some testing on the toilet. No serious bugs were found, but we stumbled upon unexpected behaviour. It shows, testing can be done everywhere…even in Brussels, even on the toilet.

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Time to blow the dust off… free ebook

In 2011 I wrote a book “the hero that guards my nightly rest” (Dutch title: “grip op IT, de held die voor mijn nachtrust zorgt”). In this book I search for a balance between the human and business side of IT projects.

This is still a very relevant theme because we see that the pressure on IT projects is ever increasing. The Time-to-Market and budgets are shrinking and the complexity and interdependence of systems only increase. The human factor is more than ever in the spotlight. Organizations that go Agile and  implement SCRUM experience to the flesh how successful collaboration between business and IT just depends on personal factors.

Time to blow the dust from the cover. Therefore Valori decided to bundle some key articles that I published on this topic into a new ebook that serves as a free introduction to the book (sorry in Dutch only)

You can download it for free at the Valori website.

Posted in Books, Publications | 1 Comment

Testing Templates and a Viking Warrior?

Generic templates development is a complex activity. It seems simple though: You start with the template that you always use, you pick a standard template from the internet or ask your colleagues if they have some lying around.  But then it starts to become difficult. Enough examples, an abundance of choices, but what is best for the organization. I have seen many template discussions getting adrift. The templates that were created in the end were not at all satisfactory.

Read G(r)ood testing 14 to learn how Testing Templates and a viking warrior are related. Together with Valori Colleague Egbert Bouman and I visited the Trondheim Test Conference, and the statue of the viking warrior helped me to remember a solution for the template discussion.

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Scaling Agile using the Subwaymap

2015-04-30 13.08.24

Anko Tijman, Derk-Jan de Grood en Cesario Ramos

On 30 April I gave a workshop with Anko and Cesario on the Testnet event. The workshop was about Scaling Agile. We discussed the axis along which we can scale agile, the reasons to scale and some of the pitfalls. We stated that it is important not to lose sight of the agile principles and values, and offered a nice solution: subway mapping.

Subway mapping enables alignment between teams, creates transparency and insight in dependencies. It triggers collaboration and discussion between the team members. During the workshop participants made their own subwaymap. If you want to try it yourself: Download the Quick Reference Card or the powerpoint template.

The slides of the workshop can be found below. It contains nice information about Scaled Agile Frameworks and the Agile values.


Posted in Agile, Scaling Agile, SCRUM, testnet | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharing my Agile Implementation experience

During yesterdays Software Quality Conference I shared some of my experiences with implementing Agile.

Implementing agile seems a lot like learning to drive. At First, all effort goes into controlling the car. But soon you discover that anticipating the traffic is the real game. During the agile implementations that I did last year, I had a similar insight. It is not so hard to teach the team to follow the agile processes; the true challenge is dealing with the organisation around the team. In this presentation I shared our insights and learning points on how culture, the project and organisational structures can threaten the success of your agile implementation. We learned that if you neglect those and focus on the agile process only, doing agile is much like walking in narrow shoes. Each step hurts.

Posted in Agile, Agile in de Echte Wereld, Conferences, Experience report, SCRUM, Slides | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment