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Monthly Archives: August 2011

STANZ speaker profile: Karen Johnson

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Karen Johnson.

About Karen:

Karen is a software test consultant. She is based in Chicago but travels to speak at conferences around the world and work with organisations planning test strategy.

She has worked as a software tester or test manager since 1992 after catching the testing bug (pardon the pun) while writing technical guides.

Karen’s testing history is very varied. She has worked with banking, manufacturing and ecommerce software as well as content management systems, medical software and business intelligence initiatives.

As well as teaching and testing Karen is a contributing author to the book Beautiful Testing released by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blog posts about her experiences with software testing.

Working with Remote and Distributed Teams

The biggest key to a successful project is good communication. Unless you always work on your own there will come a time when you have to explain something to someone. Still, that’s pretty easy isn’t it? You just talk.

Unfortunately it isn’t that simple, maybe the person you need to talk to is in a different office, in another country, and is awake when you’re asleep and asleep when you’re awake. Maybe they speak with a different accent to you, or have a different understanding of what certain words mean, or a different cultural perspective. Maybe you’ve never met them, nor will you ever meet them, so you don’t know whether to be very formal or more chatty. Maybe you’ve never worked with them ever before.

Good communication is about more than you communicating out, it’s about considering how your communication will be received by the person on the other side. This keynote talk will focus on good communication skills, how to get them and how to use them when you can’t see the person you’re communicating with.

The Strategy Part of a Test Strategy

Strategic planning is an indispensable skill for test leads and testers alike. A test strategy is the first thing a test manager or lead needs to develop, before you can even write a test plan.

You might not always have all of the resources you would like on a project, so this workshop will show you how to use what you have to get what you need. It will look at ways to get input from other team members. It will help you to get buy-in from all of the concerned parties and overcome political obstacles. Finally it will help you to continuously assess and monitor you testing efforts as your project progresses. After attending this workshop you’ll be able to think and plan strategically on any project that comes your way.

Here is a brief video clip of Karen at the Software Test Professionals Conference earlier this year:

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

STANZ speaker profile: Karen Johnson

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Karen Johnson.

About Karen:

Karen is a software test consultant. She is based in Chicago but travels to speak at conferences around the world and work with organisations planning test strategy.

She has worked as a software tester or test manager since 1992 after catching the testing bug (pardon the pun) while writing technical guides.

Karen’s testing history is very varied. She has worked with banking, manufacturing and ecommerce software as well as content management systems, medical software and business intelligence initiatives.

As well as teaching and testing Karen is a contributing author to the book Beautiful Testing released by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blog posts about her experiences with software testing. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in STANZ 2011, Testing

 

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Scrum Thoughts

I’ve just spent the afternoon reading the updated Scrum Guide from Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.

There are some great points in it – some of which I have recorded here because in my experiences working with the various agile teams that I have met over the years it is good to have a reference point for some of the key things that I have noticed not working correctly, but are being done in the name of Scrum.

“Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members other than Developer. Regardless of the work being performed by the person, there are no exceptions to this rule; “

I like this – it is not the “developer” definition in the sense of a developer being someone who writes code, but a developer is someone who contributes to the development of the product. This has been used and maybe even abused in the past where teams consist of only programmers, rather than a cross skilled group of “developers”. We need to think about the skills needed in the team and the proportion of those skills, and what work is required to be done to complete the task as opposed to the titles of the team members.

“each event in Scrum is an opportunity to inspect and adapt something. These events are specifically designed to enable critical transparency and inspection. Failure to include any of these events results in reduced transparency and is a lost opportunity to insect and adapt.”

This one is a good one too – how many times to team decide to not do something because they don’t see the value and then head off down the wrong path. I was recently speaking to a group who does not do Showcases at the end of an iteration – why not? The extended team did not want to attend….what a missed opportunity and a “failure” according to the Scrum guide.

“Each Sprint may be considered a project with no more than a one-month horizon. Like projects, Sprints are used to accomplish something. Each Sprint has a definition of what is to be built, a design and flexible plan that will guide building it, the work, and the resultant product.”

This will challenge a lot of people’s thinking, particularly those teams who are tending to do incremental delivery of a predefined product, not looking at each interation as a separate activity that needs to be planned and actioned appropriately. I said something similar to this in a training session lately and almost everyone in the class gasped….until I explained the concept, then they all said “yup – that makes sense” (phew!).

“The Daily Scrum meeting is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.”

How often do we hear of Stand-Ups being extended for the longer period. Meeting still need to happen but the standup or Daily Scrum is so important for this synchronisation and planning actions – teams that are dysfunctional and don’t understand the need for the stand-up or do them poorly often don’t have this coordinated view of what needs to be done by the whole team!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Agile

 

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Performance agreements when you are on projects

I was happily running a class when someone asked about how performance agreements work if you are on projects.

“Really well” I replied, “you just need a new one for each project you are on.”

My answer didn’t seem to go down well though. After all, who wants yet another piece of administration to do?

Then we discussed the problem that both permanent staff and contractors often have with projects. Contractors get no real feedback on how they are going until their contract ends, while permanent staff have to have a series of discussions based on a document that bears little relationship to what they are doing on their projects.

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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Business Analysis, Testing

 

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STANZ speaker profile: Jan Jaap Cannegieter

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Jan Jaap:

About Jan Jaap

Jan Jaap is an extremely accomplished testing consultant, trainer and commentator. He is interested in testing, quality assurance and requirements. He is from the Netherlands and has worked for local government agencies, Dutch Tax Administration, various ministries, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, Postbank / ING, Rabobank, ABN AMRO, Corus, Central Book house, Swiss Life, Cordares, Achmea MortgageDutch National Railway, KPN, Tele2 and Ziggo.

Jan Jaap is a trainer who delivers courses and workshops in Quality Assurance in ICT and requirements. He has co-authored eight books and written several journal articles. He has spoken at international conferences such as Testnet, ESEPG, SPIder, PROFES, Dutch Testing Day, LaQuSo and Prince 2 User Group.

He is a member of the executive board of SYSQA B.V., an independent organization specialising in requirements, testing, quality assurance and process improvement. Within SYSQA he is responsible for knowledge management, product management and quality management.

Jan Jaap will be delivering a keynote presentation and workshop around the TMMi (Test Maturity Model integrated). He was part of the development group for TMMi level 4 and 5 and co-author of “The Little TMMi”, the first book in English about TMMi, so it’s a topic he knows a lot about.

Test Process Improvement: Testers Get Out of Your Cave!

Only by involving stakeholders outside of test processes will an improvement in the test processes be accomplished. The process areas we as testers can fully control are pretty mature. The process areas where we need other stakeholders like project management and general management are less mature. Consider results of Test Maturity Model (TMMi) Assessments and learn that if we want to make testing more mature, we have to get out of our cave.

TMMi (Test Maturity Model integrated): Valuable Practice with Quick Scans

This is a hands-on interactive session useful to all organisations and test groups. In this session Jan Jaap will demonstrate the Quick Scan tool which allows you to gauge your levels across a number of key areas which in turn allows you to discover where you should focus your efforts. By the end of the session you’ll know how to get the most out of Quick Scans to benefit your organisation.

During the workshop you’ll also have an introduction to the basics of TMMi, the history and structure, a comparison between TMMi and other test process improvement models.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in STANZ 2011

 

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