Monday, March 19, 2012

10 Take Aways from STP Summit on Agile Transitions

I had the pleasure of hosting the fourth Online Summit, delivered by Software Test Professionals: Agile Transitions.  The online summit format consists of 3 sessions each for 3 consecutive days.  The sessions for this summit were:
One of my duties as host was to try to summarize the most valuable nuggets of information from across all of the presentations into a "top take aways" list.  This is what I came up with:

Scott's Top 10 Take Aways from:
  • Not every take away is specific to metrics
  • Several take aways are points made by more than one presenter
  • Like every good “Top 10 List”, take aways are presented in reverse order (according to me)
  • I’ve paraphrased many of the take aways to make them “quippy”:)
Take Away #10: Agile implies being guided by the values & principles @
  • Self-identification as Agile is publicly declaring belief in and, within the parameters of a given context, developing software in a manner consistent with the Agile Manifesto and the principles behind it.
Take Away #9: In Agile, “Developer” refers all those who create and deliver the product
  • Yes, that includes “Testers”
  • Realistically, Agile need not be exclusive to software – use that thought process to share your thoughts using analogy & metaphor
Take Away #8: Agile Testing: Testing is Testing, Agile is context
  • Appropriate testing is somewhere in every context
  • Agile simply influences the who, when, and how
  • Appropriate testing is testing that leads to business success, as quickly and cheaply as possible
  • … and checking is checking, independent of context
Take Away #7: In Agile, “traditional testing formalities” may not be necessary
  • If there’s value in reporting, documenting and/or planning it, do
  • If there’s more value in “just doing it”, do that
  • If it makes more sense to do something in between, that’s cool too. For example:
    • Charters & Sessions vs. Formal Test Plans
    • Add the “fix” to the backlog vs. reporting the defect
Take Away #6: In Agile, like in healthy families, everyone pitches in
  • “That’s not my job” is not consistent with Agile
  • “X needs to get done. I have time, but am not good at it. Can you help me & when X is done, I’ll help you?” is
  • It’s good for different people to have and apply different strengths. It’s bad for people to be unwilling to help out in areas outside of their strength/preference
Take Away #5: For Agile to succeed, you can’t just “do’ it, you have to “be” it
  • There is no “process” to blame
  • “Going through the motions” leads to crappy quality and crappier attitudes
  • You may think you can fake it, but you can’t. If Agile ain’t for you, do yourself & your team a favor… get yourself into a context that makes you comfortable
Take Away #4: Change is uncomfortable, big change even more so… even good change
  • Change takes dedication & commitment
  • Change takes time
  • Change often requires education
  • Change, sometimes, leads to turnover
  • Transitioning to Agile is big change… culturally
Take Away #3: Successful Agile demands a collaborative, whole team culture
  • The team, not the individual, is accountable and responsible for success or failure
  • The team doesn’t just “work together”, they collaborate effectively and voluntarily.
  • There are no feelings or indications of “us vs. them”
  • Pairing is natural, spontaneous and valuable – not a box to check off on Tuesday at 10am
Take Away #2: Successful Agile demands that the whole team share the same vision & values
  • related to culture
  • related to the product
  • related to how work is accomplished
  • related to accountable & responsibility
Take Away #1: At the core, Agile is about people forming a culture around shared vision & values
  • Agile values people and interactions
  • Transitioning to Agile is ALL ABOUT people wanting to, and learning how to, interact in a manner consistent with Agile values
  • Agile will not work, at least not for long, with people who don’t truly believe in Agile values
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.
Director, Computer Measurement Group

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."

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