Improving with the POPCORN flow by Claudio Peronne

At the Agile Testing days I spoke with Claudio Peronne about his keynote on the POPCORN FLOW method. Claudio developed a workflow and team improvement method that is based upon a few principles. High-over it combines the identification of Problems, the brainstorm for what options the team has to reduce the problem with a Kanban board to track progress of the experiments.

The board he uses to support the method is built around the POPCORN acronym.

The first three columns cover the translation from problems to solutions

P: The prioritised problems that the team identifies. Where Claudio states that when multiple team members experience a problem, it’s a truth. I think that that is a good attitude to avoid endless discussion on whether an observation is leading to a real problem or not. If it bothers a few team members, it worth considering to tackle it.
O: options of experiments you can do to learn, reduce or eliminate the problem. Claudio states that it good to define multiple options, so you are triggered to give it a good thought and to enable you to choose the best option.
P: the Possible Experiments column holds the options that you select to do and these items will be more elicitated than the raw ideas of the option column. If you want to do refinement, I think this is the time to do it, to ensure the whole team understands what we are going to do and what makes it successful.

The rest of the board handle the flow of the committed stories.

C: defines the experiments that the team commits to.
O: Holds the ongoing experiments.
R:  the review triggers the team to assess the results that have (or not) been accomplished with a finished experiment.
N: Gives room to identify the next steps the team would like to take.

I am experimenting with the board in one of my teams, and use it in a SCRUM-OF-SCRUM setting. On team level I like to make improvements small so they fit in the two-week sprint. On a higher level I like to identify more serious bottlenecks and understand that it might take more than two weeks to conquer them. That’s why I really enthusiastic about the Kanban flow in this approach. It leaves room to pick-up bigger experiments, but since we use WIP limits the team is forced to prioritize and chose what items they want to work with.

Above all I notice that the approach feels quite intuitive and has a direct link with the problems that the team members feel they are struggling with. That helps to keep it alive and top of mind.

I think Claudio Peronne did a great job in creating this method. If you want more info, I advise to watch the video below or browse through his slide deck. Both are a nice introduction of the board and it’s underlying ideas. Check it out! Although I am still experimenting and learning, I think it’s is a valuable approach. Furthermore, a lot of information can be found on his website. There you can even buy stickers (if you like) to make a nice POPCORN board yourself.

Note: I share this blog, since I like the idea. I do not have any involvement in the method. All credits go to Claudio Peronne.

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Scaling agile @Testnet

17 January TestNet (the Dutch Test Association) another theme-event. This evening will focus on scaling Agile and will host various sessions.

Han Duisterwinkel will talk about scaling frameworks and explains how these do (or lack to) address hybrid agile and e2e testing. He will make a link to the work of the agile tester and share some of his experiences.

Edwin van Loon shares his experiences with scaling agile at APG. Edwin was QA lead at this organisation and involved in with setting up the testing in SAFe context.

Parallel to these two presentation I will host an interactive workshop. Together with Valori colleagues Eric van the Mark and Patrick Schilder, I will compare some agile frameworks. What is the difference between SAFe, Nexus and LeSS. What are the challenges we face when scaling, and which of them should we address as a tester?  During the workshop we will present the different frameworks, but will go interactive as well. Imagine your organisation thinks about scaling, and you are asked for advice. Based on a case we’ll practice this situation and learn to understand the differences between the different scaling frameworks.

We hope to meet you in the NBC in Nieuwegein on 17 January. For more information go to the Testnet website

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What makes the Agile tester….

In January I will host a session at the Spanish Test academy in Barcelona. On the program you’ll find sessions on exploratory testing, continues testing, working with Docker and Cucumber and many more.

I will host a session on agile testing. Together we’ll try to define what makes the tester a good tester and what makes him an agile tester. I made a small video introduction to explain what you can expect in my session. I hope to meet you 24 January in Barcelona.

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The Little Book of Testing Wisdom

Finally I got hold of my own copy of the little book of testing wisdom. I wrote chapter 2 of the book, but didn’t get to see it, until it was delivered to my home last week.  The book is a pocketbook (it truly is, I tested it! See the photo in this blog) featuring 25 testing tips from leading software testing professionals from around the globe.

If you can order your own copy and learn what tips Michael Bolton, Hans Buwalda, Fiona Charles, Anne-Marie Charrett, Derk-Jan de Grood, Rikard Edgren, Isabel Evans, John Fodeh, Paul Gerrard, Shmuel Gershon, Dorothy Graham, Julian Harty, Anne-Mette Hass, Rob Lambert, James Lyndsay, Rik Marselis, Fran O’Hara, Declan O’Riordan, Stuart Reid, Alan Richardson, Huib Schoots, Ruud Teunissen, Geoff Thompson, Bob van de Burgt and Erik van Veenendaal have for you.

As well as getting your hands on this fantastic little pocketbook, by purchasing it you will be contributing to a very worthy cause! All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Linnea Nordström fund. In late 2016, Linnea was diagnosed with a rare but aggressive brain tumor called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pons Glioma) and since then has undergone (and continues to undergo) specialist treatment in Mexico.

Great to see how the community is lending a helping hand!

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Agile Testing Days -Trends and future in testing 2017

Today I gave a presentation at the Agile Testing Days. The room was packed and we talked about the way the testing profession in evolving.

5 years ago the Dutch Test Association published a book that described the changes in the testing profession. I was one of the 7 authors and we organized a few workshops on the theme. Last may we hosted a retrospective workshop during which the participants evaluated the 2012 predictions. Key question during this workshop was: What is the status of the profession and what skills and role should a tester take in order to add value and a job.

In my 2017 ATD presentation I shared the results that of this workshop.  I shared the highlights of the book, told what predictions were correct and which were incorrect. But most of all I will shared the opinion of or fellow testers: What do roles do they have now, and what roles do they expect to have in 5 years from now.

Below you find the slides:

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The future is now! Page 120 revisited

Earlier this year the Dutch Test association (TestNet) celebrated its 20th anniversary. Shakers and movers from the dutch test profession contributed with various sessions and workshops. One of the workshops was a follow up on the the book “set your course, future and trends in testing” (In Dutch: bepaal je koers, toekomst en trends in testing)

In this workshop Andreas PrinsHans van Loenhoud and Ard Kramer and I investigated what has changed in the 5 years since the book was published. The book made firm predictions on where the test profession would be heading and what 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. During this wisdom of the crowd workshop we revisited the role transition table, and made a 2017 update of p120.


Ard and I shared the results of the workshop in an article that recently has been published on the Testnet News Magazine. You can read it here: Rollen for testers-p120 herschreven

The article is in Dutch. If you speak english and want to learn more about this topic, visit my session at the Agile testing Days that will be held in Potsdam on 14 November.

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Refinement as a quality enabler-lessons learned in an agile sales environment

I currently work as an Agile coach in a sales environment. A commercial environment differs from a general IT setting and applying agile in this volatile environment brings its own challenges. Fortunately, when you start translating these challenges to the IT environment, they yield new insights that have value in both contexts. In my latest article Refinement as a quality enabler-lessons learned in an agile sales environment I share one of those lessons. I explain how refinement helps to achieve quality by means of clearly defined and well-thought-out backlog items. Of course, quality is about more than just the absence of bugs: it’s also about developing the right solution. Refinement enables us to do so and I share the advantages it has as a quality enabler.

The article was published in the september issue of Bits&Chips magazine, but you can read it here.

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Getting a Grip on your test maturity using ambition chart

Today I have given a presentation on the 16th QA&Testing conference on embedded systems. The presentation has the tittle: “Grip on your Test maturity using the Ambition chart”. The presentation was well received and many participants me for the slides. Please find it enclosed in the post below.


Description of the talkAgile test teams access their effectiveness every sprint. The power of retrospectives is that they, when done well, focus on improving in small achievable steps. This ensures that progress is being made and is more than just a far away dream.

Despite the above, I experienced that in and around teams the proposed improvements are measured and valued against the maturity of the agile adoption. I noticed that in several situations people were judging the performance of the team and the proposed improvements against an implicit blueprint; small improvements were fine “for just now” and regarded as a “good first step”. The implication of the above struck me! We all had our own plan and expectations, but these were implicit and not transparent. In reaction I developed the ambition chart. It is a graphical one-pager that gives insight in the current state, the collective ambition and describes the next step to be taken.

The ambition chart can be used to:

  • Discus and align expectations and ambition that individual team members have and create a team goal.
  • To break big goals into smaller steps
  • To prioritize improvement suggestions made in the retrospective
  • To manage dependencies between different area’s of improvement
  • To focus on the next step that needs to be taken, without being distracted by the end goal
  • Manage expectations that management and stakeholders have, e.g. by clarifying that the team does a lot of things very well, but address that it has identified some improvements that are not yet on the agenda.
  • To visualize progress and tell success stories to the rest of the organisation

In this presentation I will explain how to make and use an ambition chart. I will explain situations in which it can be beneficial and share some examples of focus areas.

I wish you success with applying it in your daily work!

Posted in Conferences, QA&Test, Test management, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

QA&TEST 2017: heading to Bilbao

On 25-26-27 October the QA and Testing conference will be held in the Euskalduna Conference Centre in Bilbao, Spain. QA&Test is a conference with a strong focus on Embedded systems and the high-tech sector, where testing is sometimes done slightly different, but quality is just as important. I am looking forward to meet, speak and listen to the great speakers that are selected for this years conference. I also look forward to meeting you in my session on “Grip on your Test maturity using the Ambition chart

The full program can be found on the conference website.


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The Little Book of Testing Wisdom

The EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference proudly celebrates 25 years of software testing conferences this year and to commemorate this achievement, we’re compiling a limited edition pocketbook which will be gifted as a memento for conference attendees attending our jubilee celebration in Copenhagen.

To commemorate this historic milestone, we have asked 25 friends of EuroSTAR – leading experts in the field of software testing – to pen a short chapter for this software testing pocketbook entitled ‘The Little Book of Testing Wisdom’. Over the course of the last quarter century, this list of luminaries has contributed significantly to the field of software testing but also to the continued success of EuroSTAR – as a conference – and more broadly as a community committed to advancing the craft of software testing.

Amongst the contributors to this book, we have 10 winners of the European Testing Excellence Award and six former EuroSTAR Programme Chairs as well as previous Programme Committee members, Best Conference Paper winners and Best Tutorial winners from past EuroSTAR Conferences and regular contributors to the free bank of software testing resources available on Huddle.

The full list of contributors:

Michael Bolton, Hans Buwalda, Fiona Charles, Anne-Marie Charrett, Derk-Jan de Grood, Rikard Edgren, Isabel Evans, John Fodeh, Paul Gerrard, Shmuel Gershon, Dorothy Graham, Julian Harty, Anne-Mette Hass, Rob Lambert, James Lyndsay, Rik Marselis, Fran O’Hara, Declan O’Riordan, Stuart Reid, Alan Richardson, Huib Schoots, Ruud Teunissen, Geoff Thompson, Bob van de Burgt and Erik van Veenendaal.

EuroSTAR founder Bill Hetzel will pen a foreword to the book and a limited print run will be shipped to Copenhagen in time for the 25th Conference at the Bella Center next month. To get your copy of this Limited Edition pocketbook, join us in the main auditorium at the Bella Center on Wednesday at 4:15pm at EuroSTAR 2017 in Copenhagen for the official launch!


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Practitest Webinar – When a Test Manager Makes a Difference

Yesterday I gave a Tutorial. The Tutorial was hosted by PractiTest and dealt with the changing role of the Test Manager. A lively topic, judging by the large number of participants. One advantage of a virtual presentation is that all 700 participants fond a front row seat.

In the tutorial I describe how the activities of the Test Manager have changed with the adoption of Agile. I describe a few settings in which the Test Manager still can make a difference. In this webinar I share my own experience and briefly describe some of the projects I was involved with. But a lot of information originates from workshops I gave. One of them with Jan Jaap Cannegieter and the other with the authors of the TestNet Jubilee book.

I merged both the slides and a video recording in the registration below. The slides are also available on slideshare. Thanks Joel and Maayan from PractiTest for hosting this webinar.

Posted in Agile, Conferences, SCRUM, Test management, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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