Transforming towards modern development

On 12 september TestNet is organising an event called “Transforming towards modern development”:

Andreas Prins Andreas Prins (VP Product Development @XebiaLabs) will talk about the different faces of testing in DevOps. We all know testing is an ever recurring theme, but to deliver our applications successfully, practices have to change and we have to broaden our scope. Modern software testing is critical to successful application development, but the approach differs depending on the wavelength.

 I will open the night with my talk called:”I am an agile tester, because“. I will share 12 statements that define the agile tester. We will discuss how these statements impact the software development life cycle and how they enable you to explain why you do what you do as a tester, to improve yourself and discuss it with your team.

Together the two talks will give insight on how we transform our testing to fit modern development practices.
More info can be found on the testnet website

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Agile Test Management – Our second promo video

Jan Jaap Cannegieter and I will be hosting a full day tutorial on the Agile Testing Days. In this interactive training day we will discuss, investigate, share ideas and techniques that are relevant for creating your agile test strategy. Full details of the tutorial can be found on the conference website:

In this second promo video Jan Jaap and I sat down to discuss the topic of test documentation:

Click here if you want to see the first video we made.
We hope to see you in Potsdam !

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Cake to celebrate the impact of Agile Adoption DPD

DPD has embraced agile as development method in order to respond better and faster to the demand of the (internal) customers. Together with colleague agile coach and a Scrum master from Valori we have assisted the organisation in starting-up and executing the first sprints. Today we have finished the first phase of the transition in a festive way and we see that the change has worked out well. Agile lives in the organisation and the development teams output is predictable. It is transparent in what it is working on and delivers at the end of the sprint. “Perhaps the best thing is that nowadays people dare to say NO”, said the client during his speech, “that may sound crazy, but it means that we have more focus and the development team will not let themselves be bothered by small distractions.” Of course there is always room for improvement, yet we are very enthusiastic about what has been achieved within a short time. Time for cake!

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Tutorial on the Agile Testing Days – a brief introduction

I am really looking forward to host a tutorial on the Agile Testing Days this year. I will do this together with Jan Jaap Cannegieter, and with you. I you decide to participate.

In order to persuade you to join the ATD in general, and our Tutorial in particular, Jan Jaap and I sat down to make you a video-introduction.

In this full day tutorial we will look at different aspects of test management in Agile

We start the tutorial by looking at the list of ‘old-school’ test management activities and discuss their value. Are they stil done in an agile context, done by the team or done by someone else. Based on the outcome of this excercise we will discuss, explain and experience different test management activities. We will make (by means of an exercise) an agile test strategy for a specific application, and learn how we can plan and monitor testing in a sprint and over sprints. We will use session based testing for this. We will also do an exercise with light weight documentation (one page test plan and test charters).

In larger organizations we see there is a need for test management like roles. For instance where compliance issues are important, in big projects where testing in different teams should be coördinated, as line manager of a test pool or responsible for development of test craftmanship. In this part of the workshop we will explore in which situation a test manager is justified, what activities and tasks add value and what the do’s and don’t are…
At the end of the day we will understand and have experienced basic test management activities in an agile environment. They also know which test management like roles can add value in agile organizations.

More information can be found on:

We hope to see you in Potsdam !

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Full Keynote Recording: The Art of Excellence – Adding value as an IT professional


In order to distinguish themselves and meet customer expectations organisations need to embrace change. During the TestingUy conference I gave a keynote with the title ‘The Art of Excellence – Adding value as an IT professional’  In my presentation I explained how Continuous Delivery, DevOps and Scaling Agile aim to effectively react to disruptive innovations, but introduce new challenges. How can we as IT-professionals embrace the changes needed to continuously add value to our employee. In the video recording you can hear me explain why so many organisations take te effort to change their modus operandi and I suggest some roles that you can adopt to stay in demand. In the talk I state that while making the transition from an traditional to adaptive organisation, there is a need for

  • Visionary’s,
  • Explorers and
  • Experts.

And you can be either on of them, at your own level. Develop yourself and your team in order to keep adding value and embrace the new opportunities that arise.

I think TestingUy did a great job with this recording, and it looks great. It is not that often that I get to see a full recording of one of my talks with this quality, so I am proud to share it with you.

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State of CI/CD – Results of our workshop on continues integration and deployment


In 2017, Valori organised three interactive sessions in which the participants and I analysed what is needed for a successful implementation of continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD). Two of these sessions were during the Software Centric Systems
Conference on 4 October, the other on 11 October during the Autumn Congress of Testnet.

In this search for the preconditions for a successful implementation of CI/CD we gained an interesting snapshot of the state of CI/CD. We concluded that it’s more than a technical challenge; there are interfaces with many aspects in system development. Both technical and organisational.

With Bits&Chips magazine we published an article with more in-dept conclusions. You can read the full article in the B&C magazine, or here: Randvoorwaarden voor een succesvolle implementatie van CI/CD.

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Next gen testers don’t know waterfall

Next gen testers don’t know waterfall is the title of the new blog by . Is that a bad thing you might ask. In his blog Federico takes a statement that I made during the TestingUy conference and adds his own experience. “Based on what I have seen in different places, companies, and contexts”, he states, “the fact that young testers don’t know waterfall software development implies that they maybe:

  • Weren’t trained in test case design techniques
  • Haven’t worked with documentation
  • Haven’t worked with a defined process

You can read the full post and learn about the consequences of this observations on the Abstracta website.

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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.

Posted in Agile, Books, EuroSTAR, Publications, Scaling Agile, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EuroSTAR program announced


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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