2020 is the 28th year of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference and an incredible milestone for everyone involved. In those 28 years we have all experienced so many incredible moments in 28 years. EuroSTAR initiated a series of open letters from community leaders looking back at their younger self. The letters acknowledge all that has come before and shows how each personal journey is important and adds to the community as a whole.
I was asked to provide the seventh letter in the serie and luckily I was 28 in the year 1999. This was an interesting year in IT.
In the March issue of Bits & Chips I described the phases that organisations go through when adopting agile. In the three waves of agile I describe challenges that the organisation encounter and how the role of the Agile Coach evolves during the transition. In adopting Agile, organizations ride three waves.
Organizations that start with agile often have a strong focus on the teams. When the individual teams hit their stride, the focus shifts to the way the teams collaborate. Organizations increasingly start to understand that business agility and responsiveness are key to survive and stay ahead of the competition. In order to yield value, the work of single Agile teams should, therefore, be integrated and embedded in larger business processes. In the second wave, the adoption of Agile is shifting from a single-team focus to a wider organisational approach. The role of the agile coach shifts from learning the team how to do their team events to initialising cross team collaboration and creating a focus on a continues delivery.
Once teams have learned to plan and launch collectively built releases the focus shifts from realising technical products to business delivery. This is the third wave. In the third wave, the Agile coach will evolve into a delivery coach or a counselor. The delivery coach is best compared with a business consultant. To get a better understanding of what the counselor role could look like, it seems we need to warp into the future. Let us have a look at the Start Trek Ships counselor to shape the role of tomorrow’s Agile Coach.
For the Agile Alliance I wrote an experience report about how to overcome the struggling many organisation have in getting the various roles in place. In this experience report I share my approach with striving for role agreements. The report is the fundament under my talk on the XP2020 conference that I gave earlier this year.
Summary: In order to have effective teams it is crucial that everyone understands their role. In small organisations I had success with mission statements for e.g. the Scrum Master and Product Owner. But what approach do you choose in a large department where opinions varies from team to team and exceptions rule? Where management is in a transition from traditional management toward agile leadership? I learned that in a multiple team session the search for a single truth is futile and it is better to stimulate communication and alignment. The result of this approach was that a dialogue was started, and PO, SM and managers aligned rather than getting stuck in a discussion on the formal role description.
In the video below you’ll find the registration of this talk.
On 24 september the CorporatiePlein was held. With more than 500 registrations from employees of housing corporations, its the largest and most visited online event for housing corporations in the Netherlands.
I gave a presentation about agile. In my talk I explain why agile is beneficial for housing corporations and give an introduction on what to consider with an Agile/Scrum transformation. The event and my talk is in Dutch (sorry, for the non-dutch followers) and can be viewed below.
Today the CorporatiePlein will be held. It’s the trade fair for professionals in the housing corporation business. With more than 500 registrations from employees of housing corporations, the tenth edition of CorporatiePlein will immediately become the largest and most visited online event for housing corporations in the Netherlands.
The event offers an online exhibition floor with dozens of suppliers and advisors with a focus on the housing association sector. Additionally the CorporatiePlein Online offers knowledge and content in the form of interesting presentations in the fields of Finance, Real Estate, Maintenance, Housing, Communication and Operations, Innovation & ICT.
I am proud to share Squerist will be present with 4 presentations on Robotica, Agile Testing, Agile transformation and the TROMP maturity scan.
My talk, about what Agile can bring for housing corporations will be presented at 11:30.
Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September the Agile Business Day was held in a virtual Venice. I guess we all missed strolling through the streets at night or taking a gondola on the grand canal. The Organization succeeded to create a local feel and made great effort to spark interaction to make up for the lack of physical presence.
During the Agile Business Day I gave a presentation on refinement. Over the years I have guided many teams during their transition toward Agile. Initially most attention went to the ceremonies and understanding the agile values. Experience taught me that when the team gets up to speed refinement becomes a bottleneck. Unfortunately, I see many teams that do not unlock the full potential of refinement. Not only is the time spent on refinement often limited, many of the refinement meetings I join are inefficient. I meet teams that spent half the meeting watching the Product Owner entering the new backlog items in the workflow system. Although they poker the user stories afterwards, little time is left to discussions the best solution and risks that need to be avoided.
In my talk I explained:Advantages of good refinement and what I see in daily practise
How we can boost the potential of Refinement by organising it as a process rather than a meeting
Introduced a set of challenging questions that can be used to prepare your refinement, And last but not least,
Explained how they can be used to involve the off-site team members of distributed teams
You can find the slides of my presentation, below:
Also check out the article I wrote on this topic for the Agile Connection, it lists all the questions I discussed in my talk.
The need for experimenting and learning new techniques.
Afterwards I had a nice conversation with some of the participant about improvements within agile teams. How do you deal with team members that distrust each other, company cultures that are challenging and we discussed the time needed for experimenting and learning new techniques.
The agile principles state that as a team we should embrace technical excellence and focus on timely and continues delivery of quality solutions. This implies that we reserve time for hygienic actions, like cleaning up or code and reducing our technical dept. The ambition to deliver value solutions in the both the short term as well as the long term, implies that we invest in our knowledge and skills. During our conversation on the conference we discussed how hard it can be to convince the Product Owner and Stakeholder that time is needed for these things. But they are important.
I have been in an organization where we used the analogy of a bulldozer that pushed forward the sand it meets on its way. As the bulldozer moves forward the heap of sand becomes bigger. This was the symbol for the backlog of items like maintenance, working on technical excel and innovation. I repeat, as the bulldozer moves forward the heap of sand becomes bigger. Until eventually the bulldozer gets stuck in the mounted sand. Lesson learned: you can delay and postpone these items some time, but if you wait too long, it becomes too big and your delivery will discontinue.
But, how can we trigger awareness for this and get time for experimenting and learning new techniques. We should of course discuss this with our stakeholders and state the need an urgency for embracing new techniques. But in addition we can also create a pull by having the right profiles in our team. In a previous keynote I discussed roles that are needed to stimulate innovation. I explained we need Visionaries, Explorers and Experts.
The illustration below indicates the mission these roles have:
Distinguish these roles and let team members think about their natural stance. It can be used a trigger to create awareness in the team about the need for innovations and the role each individual team member has in ensuring the continuity of the team’s output. I believe it will create ambassadors for continue improvements and a broader base for innovations.
I was really looking forward to visiting Luxembourg and contributing to the conference with my workshop. The XP days Benelux, is a two day conference made for, and by, the Agile Community. It focuses on practical knowledge, real-world experience, and active participation of everyone. But, not this year.
I received a sad message from the organisers in which they announce with deep regret in their heart, that the XP Days Benelux 2020 is cancelled due to the limitations and uncertainty related to the COVID-19 situation. Sad but wise I guess.
The good news is that the next XP Days Benelux conference is already planned: save the date 25-26th November 2021. More details to follow on the conference website.
In October Jan Jaap Cannegieter and I will join forces again and host our successful Testmanagement in Agile Tutorial again. Although we have given this tutorial several times now, we always get positive feedback and feel that it is highly appreciated. On STAREast that was held last may, I gave the tutorial as a full day online experience, and we are going to repeat it. With some improvements made and with Jan Jaap as co-trainer. I hope you’ll dive in the world of Agile Testmanagement and Built-in Quality with us on the STARWest virtual conference.
Today I received a nice surprise from the Agile Business Day Conference which will be held on the 11th of september. Even though this year the ABD is a virtual conference, we got goodies in the mail. Great!
16 October is a special day for me. I was asked to contribute to the Selenium Conference organised by 121gws in North America. On itself a nice thing to happen, but a fews days later I was invited to the Selenium Conference in Australia/New Zealand as well. The ANZ conference is organised on the same day; 16 October.
This makes it a special day since I will share my story from the Netherlands in both continents. It feels like getting close to a global coverage, and that is cool.
Refer to the website of the conferences for more details, how to join, local time schedules and other speakers.
On 11 and 12 September the Agile Business Day is being held. Two days of conference with a great line-up of speakers. I am proud to be one of them.
This week I have been preparing my talk on refinement, which I will give on 11 September. In my talk I will share (anti) patterns that I see around me. I will also give tips to get more out of your refinement sessions and enjoy the benefits of good refinement.
Special attention will be given to distributed teams, where distance and culture make active involvement of all the team members more challenging. The details about my talk can be found on the conference website.
Below I share a sneak preview of some of the slides I will be using. I hope to ‘see’ you in the room. Like many conferences, the ABD2020 will be online this year. So no traveling required, only WIFI.
As approach to get role agreement between PO and manager we held a series of talks in which we used a template with sliding-bars to indicate wether the responsibility was with the PO, the manager or shared. Readers approached me enthusiastically after reading the article and told me they want to try it in their own organisation. Great! They requested me to share the files so they can make a quick start with their initiative. In this blog I share the raw files for them and you to benefit.
The excel with the sliding bars that is used to start the delegation discusion between the PO and the manager can be found here:
Having a lot of conversation on the various roles yielded in insight on how we wanted to share responsibilities between the SM, PO, Manager and the Team. The article lists this in a big overview, that you can use to discuss and align the roles in your own organisation. If you want to edit it for your own purpose you can download the original file here.
Today we host the second day of our brand new Agile Coach awareness training. Together with Jeroen van Deelen, Han Niessing and Kelly Tchai I have been working hard on creating an on-line interactive training for agile coaches. After a fruit-full first day we are proud to present our colleagues at Squerist with some new cases and exercises that will introduce them into the world of agile coaching and agile transitions.
During the training we use the “3 waves of Agile” model. This model identifies a wide set of challenges and areas that agile organisations are struggling with. In the training we introduce those challenges and used our experience to write challenging and recognisable cases. The workshop is highly interactive and participants will break-out to make small group assignments. By doing so they create awareness of the rich set off situations they will encounter as agile coach, they are challenged to put their agile knowledge into practise and while drafting solutions for the case-situations, they benchmark their knowledge with the other agile coaches in their team.
Although virtual, the first day proved to be entertaining and energetic. For the second day we enriched the variation in exercises and add more theory as well forms. Some topic we will address on day one were: Agile Maturity Scans, Multifunctional and multi disciplinary teams and release planning. Todays agenda covers Organising x-team, review sessions, creating clear roles in Scrum and Feature teams.
It promisses to be an interesting session again, so I am looking forward to the event.
Yesterday I virtually visited Uruguay to give a webinar for TestinUy. In this 30 min webinar I explain why it is important for organisations to trust in the quality of their systems. Built-in quality gives the trust to frequently adapt and release. So all the more reasons to look at how we can achieve BIQ and what levels of BIQ maturity we can recognise. As BIQ ambassador you help the organisations to define effective feedback loops and reduce waste. You can see the full recording of the webinar below.
On Tuesday 23 June I will be taking a virtual trip to Uruguay. In mind I will be strolling the streets of Montevideo again. In reality I’ll be sitting home talking to you about Built-in Quality.
In this online presentation we’ll discuss what Built-in Quality is and what different levels of BIQ we distinguish. How can we become BIQ ambassadors and help our organisations towards a continuous value delivery?
You can learn al about it during this TestingUy Webinar. It will be held 2 pm UY , which is 19:00 h Amsterdam time. Registration is free and can be done at the TestingUy website.