Great blog by Mellissa Perri: Product Owner vs. Product Manager

I recently had a few discussions about the role of the Product Owner, whether this is different from that of the Product Manager. I often explain that the PO has two faces, one looking towards the business and one towards the team. It is represented by the following illustration.

In the left part the PO is working on the Product vision and a.o. making roadmaps, managing the product Portfolio/Epic backlog. Basically the PO does a lot thinking and talking about what is needed to make a distinguishable and valuable product. A lot of these activities can be Product Manager activities also…. so logically, I get a lot of questions about the difference between the two.

Mellissa Perri wrote a great blog about this topic. I thinks it contains many answers.
Read it!

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Valori Agile Hackathon – Innovation on a free Saturday

This video gives an impression of the Valori Agile Hackathon that we held on Valori HQ in Nieuwegein last Saturday. On a free Saturday we worked together on a number of items: Conditions for CI / CD, The Agile Tester Self Assessment,  Agile Acceleration and Tips for Agile Coaches. We worked hard and laughed a lot, in a relaxed setting. We went home with a satisfied feeling and a number of (almost) completed products.

We will definitely do this again!

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Test your roadmap

Within agile projects roadmaps are used to define the releases and get insight in de dependencies between the various teams that are working on the release. An example of a roadmap is given below. A roadmap is a one pager that indicate the order of the releases and its content. Besides the example below, which is based upon subway mapping, roadmaps come in various formats.

An example of how a roadmap can be used to create transparency in progress and dependencies is given in an article that I wrote together with Cesario Ramos and Anko Tijman (you can read it here).

For a customer I ran a workshop on agile road mapping, where the participants were challenged to discuss their roadmap with their peer Product Owners. In order to inspire and feed the discussion I developed a series of questions that helped them to look at their roadmap from different angles

To test your own roadmap:

  1. Download and print the Test your roadmap – challenging questions sheet.
  2. Sit down with one or more of your colleagues.
  3. Pick a question and try to answer it the best you can.
  4. If the discussion becomes flat, just pick another question.
  5. Feel free to stop at any time and thank your colleague
  6. Update the roadmap with the insights gained during the session.

Success !

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Do’s and don’ts for the test manager – a testnet workshop

One of the two workshops I gave at the Testnet sprint event was a collaboration with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. The purpose of the workshop that we gave was to collectively rethink the value that a test manager has (or can have) for the organisation. During the session participants brainstormed about the various activities and roles that test managers can have. Think about test management in context of compliance testing, inter-team coordination, acceptance management, as integration manager as department or tribe lead. For each of the before mentioned situations the group discussed do’s and don’ts and thought about the added value that a test manager can bring to the table.

Jan Jaap and I would like to thank all participants for their interest to visit our session, and esp. for their input. The slides of this workshop have been updated with the results of the workshop and can be found on the testnet website

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Agile way of working at ING Netherlands

The ING made a video about their agile way of working. I think it’s always nice when a video is made that explains the work that you do. Luckily the Agile coach is introduced at 4:07: “there is one more vital role… that of the agile coach”.

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Agile Testing Days Program Online

Where do we go from here? To the Agile Testing Days of course. I am proud to announce that my session is accepted for this year’s conference. During my session “Trends and Future in software testing” I will discuss trends in the testing profession. 5 years ago the Dutch Test Association published a book that described the changes in the testing profession. This month I will host a retrospective workshop together with Ard Kramer, Hans van Loenhout and Andreas Prins, 4 of the original authors. We will judge the predictions we made. On the Agile Testing Days I will share the results of this workshop, discuss the trends in testing and share the opinion of our fellow testers: What do roles do they have now, and what roles do they expect to have in 5 years from now. Join this session if you are sometimes worried about the sustainability of your role, if you want to specialise yourself but wonder what specialisms are a safe bet, if you want to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the future.

My session is Tuesday 14 November in Potsdam Germany. You can read the full text and program on the conference website


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Agile Coachen – Het kalibreren van de MachTeam

My latest column on Agile Coaching has been picked up by AgileNieuws. is a Dutch website on Agile. For this community platform I translated my English text in to Dutch. You can read the dutch version here: Agile Coachen – Het kalibreren van de MachTeam

Does your team look like this?

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New Blog post: Agile Coaching is like calibrating

“If you see me at work and spot me grasping in the air and turning imaginary valves. Then I am probably explaining how I visualize agile coaching.” 

EuroSTAR published a new post on agile coaching. In this post I explain how I work as an agile coach and compare my team coaching with calibrating a complex imaginary steam engine. The challenge is to find the right setting of each of the valves and balance the pressure. If we succeed in that, we have found an effective way of working that produces a lot of value for the organization. We could than say we have calibrated the machine

Read the full column on the EuroSTAR community pages: Agile Coaching – Calibrating the MachTeam.

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Testnet 20th anniversary: Two workshops at the same time

On Monday, May 15th the Dutch Test association (TestNet) will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Shakers and movers from the dutch test profession will contribute with sessions workshops that take place throughout the day.

I am proud to say that I am involved in two workshops (I believe this has not been done before at TestNet). How I can simultaneously host two workshops, that’s just a bit of a surprise …but then,  I am not alone in this.

Workshop 1: The future is now! Page 120 revisited
In this workshop Andreas Prins, Hans van Loenhoud and Ard Kramer and I will investigate what’s changed in the last 5 years in the field of testing. 5 years ago we were involved in writing the book “set your course, future and trends in testing” (In Dutch: bepaal je koers, toekomst en trends in testing). In this book we made firm predictions on where the test profession would be heading and what we 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. How accurate is this table? Should we add new roles and did our predictions come true? Join the workshop to find out.

Workshop 2: Agile Test Management

In my second workshop I collaborate with Jan Jaap Cannegieter. Within Agile context test management seems to be obsolete. Testing is responsibility of the team, and the team is self organising. based upon Jan Jaap’s and my personal experience we will identify situations where there might be a need for you as a test manager. Join this workshop to learn where and how test management still has value!

Besides these workshop my colleague Egbert Bouman will share his experience with Agile testing in a formal organisation. If you want to know more about the program or want to sign up? Please check the website of TestNet.

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Webinar Agile Test Strategies

Yesterday I gave a webinar for EuroSTAR conferences. In this webinar I state that while many organisations are reducing their test managers and Test Competence Centres, testing is on the rebound. Quality is embedded in development and testing is responsibility of the team. So it may seem that test managers and test plans are obsolete. Still, in bigger projects and in enterprises an effective agile test strategy is vital to ensure that the team does the right testing, we focus on integration and we have insight in inter- team dependencies. In this webinar, I shared my experiences as an overall test manager in various projects and defines some key ingredients of an Agile Test Strategy.

You can view a recording of the webinar on the EuroSTAR website. The webinar had a 100+ viewers and some lively Q&A afterwards. Please find below the used slides.

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Interview: 5 questions by Tali Michaeli

Tali Michaeli from interviewed me last week. He asked me questions about how got into the profession and challenged me to look 10 year into the future. The questions he asked where:

1. How did you start your way in the testing world?
2. How were you prepared for your first job?
3. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges & opportunities for testers today? 
4. What is the one piece of advice you would give to any tester starting his way today?
5. How do you believe the software testing world will look like in 5-10 years?  What will be different and what will be the same?

The answers I gave can be found on the blog: 5 testing questions with 

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State of Testing 2017


Together with QA Intelligence Blog and Tea Time for Testers launch State of Testing survey for the fourth year in a row.  Please join them to find out what 2017 holds for our beloved testing profession!

The aim of our fourth edition of this State of Testing survey is to provide visibility and understanding into our profession, and to help everyone in the community increase the value and the effectiveness of their work. The response to our previous surveys was amazing, and we are sure that this years edition will reach even more testers and capture even better information for the benefit of all!

Take the survey

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QUPER Model for better requirements

Over the last weeks I have been reading in Gojko Adzics book Specification by Example. Tonight I stumbled on his section about the QUPER model. Gojko describes that he didn’t apply the model himself, but finds it contains some interesting food for thought. And I agree, so I pass it on.

The QUPER, or Quality Performance Model is developed by Bjorn Regnell and helps you to discuss requirements that have a gliding scale. E.g. performance. Since the loading time of a webpage can be anything right? 0,5 seconds, 2 seconds, 10 seconds, you name it.

The QUPER model distinguishes three important break points. The first being Utility stating that the system is usable when it reaches this threshold. The second break point is Differentiation. System that reach this threshold distinguish themselves from the competitors. The 3rd break point (Saturation) indicates that further improvement does not add any value anymore. In the QUPER model these break points are discussed with the business and compared with the costs that are involved with reaching a certain, e.g. Performance.


I like the way it triggers mature discussions with stakeholders and puts business benefit in the equation. We might want to differentiate from the competitors on some features, but probably not all features. It’s waste to push performance on those parts of the system where this involves high development costs and were moderate performance is sufficient. I makes me think of the KANO model as well, but the QUPER model seems a good intuitive model, I am gonna use it, sure!

More can be read here:

What do you think? Do think you can benefit from this model? Are you already using it? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Book launch at Valori HQ


Last Thursday we launched my new book “Agile in de echte wereld- Starten met Scrum” at the Valori Office. Above a photo impression of the event where we presented the new book to our customers and people that collaborated with me on the book. I gave a small presentation about the state of Scrum and introduced the book. A sure highlight was the presentation by Bernadet Miceli – Manager IT at Greenchoice. She shared her experience with the agile adoption of her company and shared some of the challenges we had to overcome. It triggered quite some discussion that was completed during the networking drinks. It was a nice and interesting event, and people were happy to take a copy of the book home.

Below the slides of my presentation:

Posted in Agile in de Echte Wereld, Bits & Chips, Books, SCRUM, Slides, Valori | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting a grip on your agile maturity using the ambition chart

“Improvements planned in the retrospective do not stand on their own. What is the ambition of your team and how do you share these?”


That is the main statement of the talk I gave today at the Agile Testing Days held in Potsdam Germany. The talk was about how to get grip on your agile maturity and I shared a tool called the “ambition chart” that is effective to:

  • Discus and share the ambition and dreams agile team members have
  • Chunk the dream into feasible improvement steps
  • Manage expectations with stakeholder and management
  • Prioritise improvement suggestions during retrospective
  • And make transparent where you are working on as a team and celebrate successes

Many delegate asked me for the slides right after the session, so I share them below. I hope it inspires you to make your own ambition map and apply it in you organisation. Good luck!

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