The 2018 State of Testing Report is out!

This year’s State of Testing survey has been the most successful yet, with roughly 1,500 responses from QA professionals, from over 80 countries worldwide.

Here are some questions this report attempts to answer:

  • How much do your testing peers earn around the globe?
  • What the current successful testing approaches are, and how you should be using them?
  • Where should you expect to be professionally in 5 years?
  • What skills should you be improving on today to prepare for the trends of tomorrow?
  • Are you prepared to handle the greatest challenges testers deal with every day?

Download the full report and feel free to share it around – as that’s sort of the point, to share these insights and better serve our profession worldwide.

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An Agile Game called Scaling

Foto collage Scaling Agile Game v01

In May this year Valori piloted a serious game in which participants experience the challenges of inter-team collaboration and gain insight in the various scaling agile frameworks. Eric van de Mark, guild lead of the agile guild at Valori, explains: “Previously we developed a serious game which we call the ScrumBattle. In this simulation teams learn how it feels to work in a continues improving agile team. It’s a great way to introduce agile in an organization, but we wanted to add an extra layer: scaling agile.”

Scaling agile is becoming a hot topic. Most organizations have at least a few teams that do Scrum, and adopt the agile values. Experience learns that once these teams get going, other bottlenecks in the organizations come to surface. Typically these problems surface in the what I like to call the supply and outlet channels.

The supply channel describes how business ideas are translated into workable items that are picked up by the development teams. Not so difficult if there is only one team, a challenge when more teams are working on the same product or system. Ideas still need to be refined and chunked into smaller bits, so they eventually become user stories that fit the sprint. But when working with multiple teams, dependencies and team skills determine the planning. When multiple teams are working on the same product of system their work needs to be integrated, tested and released. In practice we see organizations defining integration sprints, set up integration teams or adopt continues integration and deployment. Whatever form they choose, this defines outlet channel.

When organizing these supply and outlet channels in order to have a better business-IT alignment and have a shorter lead-time for new ideas to become implemented one is scaling agile. Scaling is difficult,. Once you multiply the size of the agile adoption the deficiencies and problems that reside in the single teams are increased as well. Luckily, there are several frameworks, like LESS, Nexus and SAFe, that provide handhelds and guidelines. But, what framework should you adopt?

In the simulation we piloted on the TestNet Spring Event (the annual event of the Dutch Test Association) we worked towards an better understanding of the scaling challenges. The workshop starts off with a short Introduction and comparison of the three before-mentioned frameworks. But, soon groups are made and the participants get to work. They have to build a city using Lego. That has been done before, and the Certified Agile Testers (CAT) might recognize the set-up. But beware! This game is all about scaling. So all teams are working on the same project, a greenfield city that is due to welcome its first inhabitants in a short time.

During the game participants learn that independent teamwork doesn’t work. In the first sprint each team has its own backlog and it takes the first sprint review to realize that standards and planning fail due to a lack communication and insight in the work done by the other teams. Interesting is how the teams start to organize themselves and make inter-team agreements. A simple improvement is to merge the backlog. The Product Owner started the game with assigning the work. Teams quickly stand up, hold a collective sprint planning and decide for themselves what work they pull into the sprint.

Throughout the game the various scaling frameworks are highlighted so participants get an understanding how e.g. Nexus does its Retrospective and SAFe does its increment planning. Since the theory is interwoven with the game, it remains lively and playful. A lot of mistakes were made, and not all teams were in line all the time. But, be honest, are they in you organization?

As the game progresses, the game the backlog items increase in size. The emphasis shifts therefore from agreeing on the standards to real collaboration. I believe the game does this in a natural way and in the last sprint, all the teams are working on one single item. Nice to see that when teams are really collaborating the integration and testing become truly important. Mistakes are easily made when everyone is working hard during the sprint, and testing and early integration will identify the errors being made. I noticed that during the game the teams experienced that an efficient outlet channel starts with clear agreements upfront. The supply line and outlet channel are not as independent as they seem, and they merge. In our pilot session, we saw that happen while working on that one single epic. Clearly building a Lego city isn’t as complicated as building software system, but I am proud that we almost managed to complete our epic in a single sprint. Can you imagine all the teams in your department really working together to finish an epic in a one or two sprints? I know many organization that can only dream about this scenario.

I believe we all had an interesting learning experience and left the room with new insights and a better understanding of scaling agile, its frameworks and its challenges. If you want to learn more about Valori’s “a game called scaling” and whether it would be interesting for you organization, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Anniversary: 7 years on this blog

7 years ago I started this wordpress site. My first post was a test post reading:

Hello world!

Welcome to my wordpress pages. Here you can find news about articles that I have published, books that I am involved in and conferences that I will attent. Currently I am filling the static pages, so it becomes a library of previous publications and presentations.

Since then I added over a 100 articles and many updates on presentations, publications and events. I got many followers. I hope you enjoy and value my work, keep following this blog….

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There is still need for test management in Agile but it is done differently

Jeffery Payne wrote a nice blog on agile test management. In this blog he states that agile opens up a lot of career opportunities as the test manager roles becomes more strategic in agile context.

“Unfortunately, many test managers try to keep their role the same. They attend every agile ceremony, insist their teams still attend a weekly status meeting and (…) want the authority to swap team members in and out of projects. (…) Time is very valuable when working in small increments, so any time spent providing status beyond the daily standup is a waste—as is time spent by test managers in sprint ceremonies. Still, there is a role for test managers in agile, and it’s much more strategic than it was before…”

Managers could focus on:

  • growing the capabilities and skills of their staff.
  • ensuring that agile teams have effective testing staff
  • starting and running a testing center of excellence (CoE).
  • Advocating the importance of testing  to senior management .

If you want to read more on the role of test management in agile context, read the full blog by Jeffery: The Role of the Test Manager in Agile

Additionally I selected some of the work I have done on this topic, You can:

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eBook: Testing and Quality in SAFe

In this new 4000 word free eBook Mette Bruhn-Pedersen and I deep dive into quality and the SAFe framework.

Although the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) offers a lot of detailed descriptions, it is not very elaborate on how testing and quality practices fit in. This raises new challenges for testers, Q&A and test managers, test architects, test specialists and people in similar roles together with the entire organisation.

During an expert session industry leaders discussed quality measures and actions that test professionals could take in order to ensure quality when using SAFe throughout the Software Development Life cycle (SDLC). The expert session was held at the 22nd Testing Retreat (2017, Hereford UK). The Testing Retreat is a peer-conference where leaders in the testing and quality profession share their experiences and insights. In our e-Book we describe the outcome of this session, the guidance that SAFe actually provides and make additional suggestions of how testers can contribute with their special knowledge and expertise.


During the testing retreat we had a brainstorm and put post-its on the big-picture of the SAFe framework.

Key Takeaways of the book are:

  • Test and QA professionals can add value at all organisational levels in ways that are not described in SAFe.
  • Defining a quality strategy is key to handle typical issues with test and QA activities spanning multiple teams and even multiple Release Trains.
  • Getting quality and testing anchored on Portfolio Level ensures that quality can be built-in from top to bottom

We are proud of the results and the contributions from various testing practitioners that enrich the book. We thank EuroSTAR Conferences for publishing the book. It can be downloaded for free at the EuroSTAR website.

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EuroSTAR program announced

EuroSTAR

EuroSTAR, one of the leading conferences on software quality in Europe has announced the program for their 2018 edition. EuroSTAR will be held in the Netherlands starting 12 november. What a great line-up of speakers this year’s edition will hold.

You can check out the program yourself. Note that many new topics and speakers have emerged this year! This year’s programme will see the likes of AI, IOT and Blockchain feature throughout, as well as some of our old favourites like DevOps, Agile, Automation, Test Management and so on. The depth of the conference programme tells you where our industry is headed and helps you prepare for what lies ahead.

I am proud to be a part of the program, check out my contribution: Le dernier jour et je ne sais toujours pas – The Last Day and I Still Don’t Know. Don’t worry if your French is just as poor as mine, the session will be in English ;-).

On Wednesday my colleague Egbert Bouman will give a presentation as well: in Agile Testing in a Formal Organisation he shares his experiences at the Dutch Bank.

Hope to see you there…

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Verankering in organisatie cruciaal voor welslagen Agile

For Bits&Chips magazine I wrote an article about successful agile adoptions.

In the article I state that embedding the agile processes and mind-set in the rest of the organization is crucial for its success. I refer to Jeff Sutherland’s Aggressive Scrum, where he states that to many teams fail to deliver at the end of their sprint. In order to get Agile working, it is important to break down old patterns. Strong agile leadership is required for this, as well as a strong Product Owner and Scrum Master.

You can read the article (sorry in Dutch only) in the last issue of Bits&Chips magazine or here: Verankering in organisatie cruciaal voor welslagen Agile

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Scaling Agile – a workshop to get to know the frameworks

Last Monday we organised an interactive session about scaling agile. During this session we compared some of the scaling agile frameworks and we discuss the challenges that we encounter when we scale up our agile. What problems are introduced when we start collaborating over multiple development teams, when we extend our agile way of working towards portfolio level? Together we brainstormed and came up with quite a list of challenges that we need to find a solution for.

We concluded that for most of these challenges we are either stakeholder or responsible for finding the solution. Thus, we learned, when our organisation starts with scaling their agile, we should be pro-active and involved. Basic understanding of the scaling frameworks and their differences is needed to be a mature partner in the discussions, so we examined how frameworks like SAFe, Less and Nexus help us to have a grip on development and maintain adaptive?

I believe we all had an interesting, valuable evening with lots of knowledge exchange, insights, networking, good food and drinks…Thanks all for participating and we hope to see you at another Valori event.

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TestingUy – My first visit to Uruguay!

The TestingUy event exists at the initiative of a group of passionate about testing, wanting to create a meeting space where they can share experiences and knowledge on the subject. I am proud to be invited to this years edition. More details will be published on the TestingUy webpage soon. But I am already looking forward to seeing the country, meeting you fellow testers and sharing my experience of course…..

 

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BCN Software Evening – Barcelona

I am thrilled to announce I’ll be speaking at the BCN Software Evening. Altran Spain is organizing this event for Software Professionals who wish to network together and to watch engaging and entertaining talks given by industry experts while having fun.

For this occasion I am working on a whole new keynote, called: The art of Excellence, adding value as an IT professional. In this keynote I will explain how disruptive trends require a flexible organisation. I will share challenges that organisations are struggling with and what this means for the IT professional. key question is how you can develop yourself and your team in order to keep adding value to the changing organisation and embrace the new opportunities that arise.

Furthermore the event will host Daniel Garnier-Moiroux and Luis Herrera, cutting edge technology an R&D corner and live coding demo. The BCN SOFTWARE EVENING 2018 will take place in the new Valkiria HUB in 22@, technological district in Barcelona.

There is no better place to share & discuss with other software professionals and enthusiasts. Make this happen! You can get your free ticket on the event page. I hope to see you all !

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Scaling Agile Interactive Session

I am proud to announce that we will host an interactive session at Valori. On Monday 9 April we’ll compare three scaling agile frameworks. Together we’ll discuss the challenges that we encounter when we scale up our agile. What problems are introduced when we start collaborating over multiple development teams, when we extend our agile way of working towards portfolio level?  How do frameworks like SAFe, Less and Nexus help us to have a grip on development and maintain adaptivity? Using a case we’ll challenge you to select the best framework and gain insight in the different focus they have. Consider joining this event when your organisation is thinking about scaling or just started with the implementation of a scaling agile framework. Using the insights of this evening you’d better prepared to join in on the discussions and contribute.

I made a small impression of the event, so you’ll know what to expect:

You are welcome to Valori at the office (Orteliuslaan 1000 in Utrecht) on April 9th for the interactive knowledge session ‘Scaling Agile’, but registration is required and the number of seats are limited:

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Mobile Testing Mindmap

Today I got a nice mail from a reader of my blog. The mail referred to a previous blog on mobile testing. In this blog I refer to a presentation I gave on the a conference of the Den Norske Dataforeningen (The Norwegian Computer Society) where I talked about mobile testing. Not only will did I list some things that you might want to test, when testing a mobile app. I also made the link between business drivers for building the app, design consideration that need to be made during development, and tests that relate to them.

My reader asked for more detailed info. Dear reader, you can download the extensive version of the mind-map below. I gave a presentation about this topic also, please find the slides in this post also. Good luck with your mobile challenge!

 

Mindmap Mobile Development and Testing (Extensive MindMap)

 

Presentation: Mobile testing – the relationship between tests, business goals and design considerations

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Masterclass Agile Testing

These are the slides of the masterclass I gave 24-1-2018 at the Barcelona Test Academy. Using an assessment we started a discussion about what it takes to be an agile tester. It was valued by many of the participants as relevant and a nice opportunity to exchange thoughts and experiences. The participants left the room with a good understanding of where he/she stands and could explain: “I am an agile tester because…”

 

Description of the masterclass session: Testing has transformed into Agile Testing. Testing has become a responsibility of the whole development team. Many testers wonder what their role is now that everyone is testing. Some people say that Testing is WHAT we do and Agile is HOW we do it. In order to contribute effectively to quality solutions, agile testers need to combine the WHAT and HOW in their daily approach.

Time for a deep-dive. What defines the agile tester and how do we add value.  In this workshop participant will fill ins an self-assessment based on the 12 characteristics of the agile tester. We’ll share the group results and create a snapshot of where we stand. Next, we will discuss each of the characteristics mean to us, how do they make agile testing work, help to boost the agility of the test process and how we can embed quality in the agile development process. In groups we will share examples from the trenches to go along with each of characteristics. What do we do to make it work, and what challenges do we encounter? Participants will help each other and be able to benchmark their own ideas.

This session aligns with the needs that I recognise with many colleagues. They are good testers, work successfully in an agile environment, but want to get better in explaining why they are a good tester. How does their attitude and approach contribute to valuable software solutions? Join this session if you want to improve yourself and want to get practical tips from the real world; If you want to learn what makes your testing agile and how is your agile mindset translated into a valuable testing approach. Participants can use the self-assessment to identify blind spots in their skills. Each of the participants will leave the room with a good understanding of where he/she stands: “I am an agile tester because…”

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State of Testing 2018 – A valuable Survey

 

For the 5th time, Practitest and TeaTime with Testers launch the State of testing survey. The State of Testing 2018 seeks to identify the existing characteristics, practices, and challenges facing the testing community in hopes to shed light and provoke a fruitful discussion towards improvement.

Each year the amount of participants has increased, and the final reports become even more valuable as a culminated reflection of testing trends, challenges, and characteristics.

The final report is translated into several languages and shared globally, further expanding the reach and impact this report has on all of us in the QA world.

You can help the test community by sharing your thoughts and view on the testing profession. Fill in the survey. Of course you’ll get the report for free, so you can learn how others look at the world.  I think it holds valuable information, and refer to it often in my work and conference presentations.

The state for testing report of last year is available: State of Testing 2017.

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Call for Papers open: QA&Test conference Bilbao

QA&TEST  is  a Software Testing and Quality Assurance conference with a focus on high-tech and embedded systems. It brings together professionals and experts from different sectors such as: Railways, Aeronautics, Medical Systems, Electronic Devices, Banking, Insurance or Telecommunications. It’s a unique and personal conference that is held in Bilbao Spain on  17, 18 and 19 October 2018.

The International Technical Committee of QA& TEST seeks for methods, techniques and tools to help engineers to develop and test, efficiently and effectively, complex embedded systems, addressing aspects such as functionality security, robustness, reliability, performance, interoperability and compliance to standards.

We like you to contribute and share your knowledge. Read the Call for Papers for some topic suggestions and details about the excellent speaker conditions.

 

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