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.

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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.


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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

Trondheim Test Conference: Keynote on test techniques

Today Trondheim hosts the Trondheim Test Conference. This conference is organised by the Norwegian Computer Society, Den Norske Dataforening. During my opening keynote I talked about how testers can increase their efficiency by adopting the right techniques. Strangely, when you mention test techniques to a tester, he tends to think about test design techniques. In this presentation I give examples of other techniques that can be useful as well.

See my slides below:

See the rest of the program: TTC2015

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Software Quality Conference: When each step you take hurts

Next week the software Quality Conference will be held. This conference used to be the Dutch Testing Conference, but it has widened its scope. So that is why it can happen that I will be talking about Agile in the Business Analysis Track rather than in the testing track. No problem! In my presentation I will be talking about organisational settings and mistakes take are being made when implementing agile. As I will state, if you make these mistakes (and trust me, many do! ) your agile implementation will feel like walking in narrow shoes, each step hurts. During the presentation I will also focus on BA aspects and challenges.

I hope to see you on 23 April during the SQC in Utrecht.

DTC talk

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Improving Test Automation in your organization

On June 18th 2015, CKC Seminars organizes the 5th edition of Test Automation Day. The Central theme of the 2015 edition is: Improving Test Automation in your organization

The Test Automation Day is a key meeting place for Test Professionals and Executives from leading IT organizations. The event features an inspiring day of talks and workshops by international speakers focused on Test Automation Innovation. Learn more about innovative automated testing methods, technologies, strategies and tools.

You can see the program on the conference website.

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Survival techniques for Testers- EuroSTAR tutorial


The EuroSTAR conference program is published. The 23rd edition of EuroSTAR will be held in Maastricht, late 2015, and promises to become a great event. I am proud to announce that I signed up with Jan Jaap Cannegieter (SYSQA) to do a half day tutorial on Tuesday 3 november.

Continue reading

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G(r)ood testing 13: The Context is Us

Test Process improvements are driven by the context. In our search for the optimal test approach, we assess the systems, the development methodology or the risks that we cover. However, there is a much bigger factor that we often overlook. This factor has a great influence on how we improve and what we improve.

Want to know what this factor is? Have a look at the introduction video (52 seconds) or better still: read the column for more details.

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Where do testers spend their time?

On the EuroSTAR testhuddle I found a blog by Chantal called “Why Software Testers Can’t test.” In this blog she asks the reader what we think testers love doing the most. “The answer”, she states, “might surprise non-testers out there. The answer is: testing software”.

IBM partnered with Software Quality Engineering to execute a survey called “The Future of Testing: Where Do Testers Spend Their Time?”. It explores where today’s testers are spending their time, what obstacles they most often encounter and where they think their attention should be focused.

Based upon this research Chantal states that although testers want to test, they actually lose a lot of time doing other stuff.

I suddenly remembered I did a similar research back in 2010. Chantal is focusing on virtualization, whereas I used the research to identify inefficiencies in organization that lay outside the testing domain. During the EuroSTAR conference of that year I presented the results by means of an annotated checklist:

Checklist Losing valuable testing time - Derk-Jan de Grood

I stated: “If we discuss the impact of these time killers with management, they will give us support for eliminating the causes”. This way the checklist becomes an enabler to boost test improvements and to release time so testers can do what the love doing most: testing. What do you think, is the checklist still up to date?

Download: Checklist- Losing valuable testing time v10

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Implementing SCRUM: how do you involve management?

agile-wereld-stikkies-humongous Agile in de echte wereld 2: Starten met SCRUM

Agile in the real world is a series of articles in which I investigate the impact of Agile. Earlier I posted part 1: Thanks for the nice comments. In Part 2, I discuss the introduction of Scrum in the organization. Where do you start? How do you ensure that your colleagues not only copy the process from the Scrum guide, but that the implementation will actually develop the characteristics that we discussed in the first article. My experience is that Scrum implementations are an organizational change that can bring a lot of good, but also triggers resistance. That’s why I always put an emphasis on the involvement of management. Read my article (sorry in Dutch only) for my motivation:Agile in de echte wereld 2: Starten met SCRUM.

I am very curious about your experience. How do you involve management in the change? Or do you just start within the team? Please share your thoughts and post a comment.

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We finished the Expo:QA program


A good thing about being conference chair is: you make the program. And you get to be proud on the result! After a lot of reviewing and discussing, moving talks up and down, the EXPO:QA program is done. I would like to thank all that participated, the speakers that will make the conference what is known for: a good conference. All the professionals that sent in a proposal but didn’t make it. Sorry, but your contribution is appreciated. And of course my fellow committee members Tony Robres, Graham Moran and Raynald Korchia.

Programma EXPOQA15

Have a look at the program: it contains some very good topics: Agile, Test Automation, Non-functional testing, Collaboration, Mobile, QA strategies, and much more.

Further more we have 4 wonderful keynotes:

  • Paul Gerrard (Internet of things)
  • Cesario Ramos (Holistic view- Scaling Agile)
  • David Evans (Pilars of Agile)
  • Zeger Hese (Testing in the age of distraction)

But mind the learning sessions and tutorials as well. I hope you like it as much as we do, and hope to see you in Madrid (June 2015).

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New e-book on Implementing SCRUM

Together with Bits & Chips magazine I plan to publish an e-book this year.  The book will put experience and practice in a center position; What is the impact of SCRUM? What choices do you need to make when implementing it? Basis for the e-book is a series of articles under the same heading, which present these issues in small manageable chunks.

In the first article in the series I explain(in Dutch) what typically changes as organisations switching from traditional development to Agile / Scrum. I mention the 5 characteristics of agile that I often discuss with my clients.

Implementing Agile in the real world- first article.JPG

The issue of Bits& Chips magazine containing the first article of “Agile in de Echte Wereld”

What do you think? Are there essential characteristics missing? Knowledge sharing is to create successes. Therefore, I ask you to think with me. Together with your expertise and questions we can sketch a picture of the Agile landscape.

Download:  Agile in de echte wereld | Deel 1 | De vijf karakteristieken van Agile

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G(r)ood Testing 12: knowledge of plane crashes can help to prevent IT disasters

In my new column is a follow-up on the G(r)ood Testing 11- Explosive software – when risks do count. In this 12th edition of G(r)ood testing I talk about the lessons that we can learn from space and air disasters: Unlike in the average software projects, when a plane crashes, extensive research is done to understand the causes. So these research reports are  an instructive read for tester that want to understand why problems occur. It also challenges us, do we do a good job?

We know that most disasters occur through an accumulation of several small and seemingly innocent errors. Should we not combine the errors we found in order to investigate scenario’s that might have an unexpected impact? I requires a shift in mindset and some people might see it as seeking problems instead of killing them. But it will be rewarding for those that want to add value and prevent IT disasters from happening.

Read the full column on the EuroSTAR community pages. Enjoy the read.

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