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A Testers Guide To the Galaxy

Who am I to write this blog?

I've been in the testing game for app. 12 years now and in the agile game for more then 14 years, started out as a part time tester in internal test projects, moved on to a role as full time tester doing automation, took my ISEB foundation, moved on the consulting world, now as test coordinator, became part of an agile project, added certified SCRUM Master to my CV, got my ISTQB ATM exam, moved on to role as Test Manager. Recently I have moved more and more into the agile game, adding CAT Certified Agile Tester, ISTQB CTFL Agile Tester Extension and SAFe Agilist to the list of certifications. So now I act more as a trainer (CAT, ISTQB CTFL & CTFL AT) and agile coach!

I simply want to share my thoughts on agile and testing and all thats connected with it.
Feel free to comment on my thoughts!

AgileTestingDays day 3 – Highlights

Conferences Posted on Mon, November 17, 2014 12:15:14

Don’t put
me in a box

Seems that
the hot topic this year is soft skills, something that I emphasize!

talks about not limiting our self by a title, for instance “tester”.

It was a
very inspiring talk with examples of his life experience on how he went outside
the box, and to do something different
he had no supporting slides :o) – just a man on a stage with a microphone!

He gave us
a lot of different examples. One of them was from Special Forces. He told how
he went through a course on how to enter a house in a hostage situation. 5
persons were needed; one to break down (or just open) the door, two to make a
first entry and secure the room and two to backup/support from behind. Once in
a room they would re-group so that everyone was back in their position before entering
the next room. This made the 2 persons in front most in risk of getting hit
during entry, and the specialist for opening doors was essential. Now, it took
some time to re-group and by doing so they might lose their momentum and an
enemy would have time to take countermeasures. A way of mitigating that was to
change how they entered a house in a possible hostage situation. They learned
the READ system (reading the situation in order to know how to act!). Still 5
persons going in, but once through the first door, which was most likely to be
the one that needed a specialist for blowing it up or opening it otherwise, the
first two persons who reached the next door would now be the once to open it
and make the first entry and the remaining team would support. By doing so, the
roles changed all the time, so they would have to adapt.

Does it
sound familiar? Sounds almost like agile, doesn’t it?

also referred to LEAN, especially the Waste types. And not to the 7 types of
waste, no, to the 8 types of waste!! Yes, and number 8 is important: “Skills – Underutilizing capabilities, delegating tasks
with inadequate training”.

How can that be put into
context of adapting your role? It simply means that even though you have an
area of expertise it doesn’t mean that you don’t have other areas of knowledge
that can add value whenever your expertise isn’t of use. On the other hand, do
not waste time by working on tasks for which you have no skills unless no other
persons with that specific skill available.

-You are a Terminator, right?
-Yes. Cyberdyne Systems, Model 101
-… you’re like a machine underneath,
right? But sort of alive outside?
-I’m a cybernetic organism. Living
tissue over a metal endoskeleton.

Science fiction? Yes! Impossible to
think of? No!

Referring back to the keynote by Lisa
and Janet Tuesday morning; They came on the scene with a presentation about the
future, dressed up like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek
series first aired back in 1966 – that’s now 50 years ago. Back then, the
technology in Star Trek was amazing, it was so unreal. But is it? It was, for
sure, but actually it is basically just the transporter (you know; “Beam me up,
Scotty!) that is unreal today. Most of the devices have been superseded by
the current technology!

That is one of the
points in the talk by Daniël Maslyn (last year
did the famous “wrote my presentation on hotel stationary last night, took
pictures of it with my cellphone and put it in PowerPoint” presentation).

Daniël’s talk; “We are the robots; Agile Testing for future robots”
had a lot of cool references to Blade Runner (in the Directors Cut Version
there is a unicorn appearing).

The reason for this is
also the fact that the future (Blade Runner is supposed to reflect the world
anno 2019) may not be that far away. Different people are construction
autonomous robots, are constructing parts for them, for instance eyes that we
do today, not for robots, but as spare parts for humans.

And this poses a
challenge in testing. These spare parts and robots are becoming increasingly
complex, and most of them must be tested in the live, they cannot be simulated!
Of cause you can do some testing on the software and hardware devices
individually, but only when put together you’ll get the real result!

One of the tests natural
to run on robots is the Turing test. For those who don’t know the Turing test it is a test of a
machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or
indistinguishable from, that of a human (definition from;

Now are we at a point
where the Turing test is needed? Maybe not, but we are getting there.

That’s it for the
highlights. The rest of day 3 was dedicated to CAT Trainer Day.

I really hope to be back
next year for Agile Testing Days in Potsdam :o)

AgileTestingDays day 2 – Highlights

Conferences Posted on Thu, November 13, 2014 11:05:10

Simply the best key ever…

Lisa and Janet gave a good keynote, but todays keynote by Joe Justice from
Scrum Inc. (Twitter: @JoeJustice0, @ScrumInc) was amazing!

Joe is the
inventor of XM. Isn’t that a Citroën from the eighties you may ask? Well, yes,
but it is also the abbreviation for eXtreme Manufactoring, taking Scrum from
software development to hardware manufacturing. He is also the founder of the car
company Wikispeed.

The initial
purpose of Wikispeed was to win the X Prize Challenge, a competition to build a
road safe car that can run 100 Mpg or in the European consumption standard; 1,5
liters of fuel per 100 km!

So how do
you do that? Well, you start by creating the user story:

As a car manufacturer
I would like to build
a car
So that I can win the
X Prize Challenge

And then you start building
a car using scrum and XP and very important, you implement Test First!

Did he win? No, but
came into a 10th place by building a car in Joes garage!

That impressed quite a
few people and XM was born.

XM has now been
implemented by Joe and his team at customers like; Lockhead-Martin, Boeing,
John Deere, X-box, HP, TomTom.

Joe gave an example of
how one of his customers, John Deere, after 16 months performed 7.2 times
better than before they implemented XM! All employees are also happier than
before XM (Scrum) and work less hours.

So Scrum is not
limited to software development!

By the way, Scrum Inc.
has gathered metrics regarding performane and team size and found that a size
of 4,6 persons (yes, that is an average) performs the best!

But Scrum
can be used in other areas as well, for example education. A new school
projects EduScrum has emerged. It seems that the students learn faster and get better
grades! #eduscrum – check it out!!!!

It also
seems that the financial world has got their eyes opened for Scrum. Pictet is a
privately held bank which demands from its clients to deposit a minimum of
75.000.000 Euro in order to open an account in the bank, so people with
accounts here are powerful people. They
have decided to create a Scrum Fond who will only invest in companies which successful
run Scrum. The reason? Because Joe proved to them that the risk is much less,
and the profit higher than with companies run traditionally!

The whole
point is that by going with Scrum and doing test first, we know where we are
heading, can change as things change around us and thereby deliver faster,
better, cheaper!

So people;
Go spread the word – be Agile Evangelists!!

So, I was
really looking forward to being a part of this, I couldn’t wait to get my hands
on that car!

But where
is the car??

The car,
the Wikispeed car, would come in late, very late, which meant I had to change
my plan, but unfortunately the session I’d liked to go to were full, as in
people were standing up outside the open door trying to catch a glimpse of what
was going on inside.

So I ended
up going to other less crowded sessions which unfortunately didn’t leave much
of an impression.

Second keynote

from happy change agents

Schwartz and Fanny Pittack

You go to a
conference, attend a course, get an idea, and now that must be implemented,
because you think it is amazingly great….

But, how
did your team, your colleagues feel about that change? Did they embrace the
change? Or did they on the contrary go against it?
What could
you have done to implement the change easier?
There is
not one answer, but these advices are worth considering;

– Talk
it through with your team beforehand!
– Make
sure to adapt your ideas to the context in which it must be implemented

advices point to the fact that it is much easier to achieve a goal if you work
together, if you have a common goal, and agree on how to get there!

So the
takeaways are:
– Try
it, do not avoid changes
– Listen
to feedback and yourself
– Learn!
– Forget
about it
– Try

change is a leap of faith!

After lunch
I thought that I was going to do some Black Ops testing, but then finally, yes,
the Wikispeed car arrived. In order to get the build started we had to get the
car of the truck and into the lobby – in parts!

So the
professional racing crew from Team startet, and with help from a us
delegates, we managed to get the car disassembled and carried into the lobby in
approximately an hour

And then
the event started – first sprint started at 16:00. Up to 25 persons including the
4 guys from Team was to form 5 teams with 5 persons at the
maximum. As there was only 4 professional mechanics the question was raised who
had the most car building experience from the remaining persons, and it turned
out to yours truly – yes – I can now put yet another area of expertise to my
CV; Car Building Expert ;O)

Joe Justice
gave an introduction, teams picked a Product Owner and a Scrum Master and then
the Product Owner ran off and picked a story from the back log.

Now the
whole exercise was about how to do construction, Scrum style. The expert on each
team explained what had to be done in order to complete the story, team decided
how to divide the work, Scrum Master facilitated (got tools, parts, etc.) based
on the needs of the team. This was the sprint planning. As a sprint was roughly
30 minutes it took approximately 2 minutes to do the planning, and then we “sprinted”,
fulfilled the picked up user story. It quickly turned out that there were
dependencies, and the scrum masters did scrum of scrums to mitigate these
dependencies in order for all to reach the goals.

After the
sprint a short retrospective was held, and the next 25 people were going to
build in the next sprint.

4 sprints
later a car, or at least a rolling chassis with a body, should be done.

There were
also a number of requirements, which basically added up to the fact that the car
ultimately should conform to German race car standards as this car ultimately
will run on the Nürnburg Ring. The fact that these requirements existed was not
highlighted that clearly, so yes, it did lead to errors.

requirement was that all bolts should have just the length needed for 2 washers
and a locknut to fit.

Now, when
the car was taken apart most bolts for the suspension was kept in place, so
when the reassembly started, the bolts which were initially used were simply

As some of
the nuts were placed inside the frame of the chassis it wasn’t possible to see
if we met the requirement for the bolts, it turned out, we didn’t L

So as we
started out on sprint 2 we had to take the suspension apart again and start
over, but it quite fast became clear that the bolts were all 5 mm short of
meeting the requirements. So we spiked, tried out different solutions, shorter
bolts, way longer bolts, but failed, we could not meet the requirement.

Joe took a
C(3?)PO decision and decided to go with the “almost long enough” bolts for
sprint 3 in order for the car to get done at all.

And finally
after a very long (1½ hour) 4th sprint it was done! The car was
build, using a few subject matter experts and a lot of willing hands, and
working agile! eXtreme Manufacturing at its best!

It was
tremendous fun, THE best agile exercises I’ve ever participated in!!

Some fun
facts about the car; bought the rolling chassis. They are going to
rebuild it, make it race legal, add a BMW M3 race engine to it, and the goal is
that within 2 years they are able to drive it in an endurance race on the
Nürnburg Ring!!! You can follow the team at

eXtreme Manufacturing

AgileTestingDays day 1 – Highlights

Conferences Posted on Wed, November 12, 2014 11:25:28

Live long
and prosper…

No, it’s
not Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock but is might as well have been ;o)

It’s Janet
Gregory and Lisa Crispin delivering the first keynote @AgileTD, and of cause
they do it the way they always do; with a great show.

They’ve left
the Enterprise for a couple of days to be with us and talk about the future;
Welcome to the future! Preparing for our agile testing journey…

Janet and Lisa
stated that we do not know what the future will bring, but that we will get hit
by it faster than we imagine, and the speed in which we get hit is increasing.

So how can
we as testers mitigate that? By adapting to change! Or as Gunnery Sergeant
Highway states it; Improvise, adapt and overcome! We need to change the way we
work, we need to be willing to update our skills set, not be afraid to step on
to uncharted territory. Lisa and Janet came with a metaphor; Be a Rubik’s cube –
get it? Make sure that you have enough skills to match the current context!

They also
talked about communication. We are getting lazy, and that has an impact on our
ability to communicate, which again leads to misinterpretations and
misunderstandings. Too many people call colleagues or writes e-mails to them even
thou they are co-located in the same building! The message is; Avoid time
consuming and potential misleading communication by getting on your feet, go to
your co-worker and talk to them face to face!

Over the
years they have also through many projects picked up that even though the
projects have been agile, not the right things were done – why? Because the
user stories weren’t aligned! So by introducing Impact mapping and Story
mapping you can mitigate that, and make sure that only stories which contribute
to the final goal are done.

Next up was
Kristoffer Nordström who talked about “The struggle of my identity and how I
got developers to start testing”.

gave a good talk about how he his entire work life has struggled to be
confident in what he was doing. He has always felt that when he entered a new
company, project, group, team, whatever, he found himself uncertain whether he
could do the job, could match the apparently cool and intelligent people he was
surrounded by. This feeling of having to fake something and the fear of being
revealed as a fake has been hunting him. But it turns out that approximately
75% of all people feel the same!

So it’s
something deep inside us that does this. Kristoffer’s advice was to be true to
yourself, remember who you are, in an agile team; pick up that test flag and carry
it proudly!

In the same
stream followed Allessandra Moreira. She has always been working in traditional
waterfall projects with the classic “over the wall” hand over process. So she
was a classic tester, with a classic testers mindset when she first joint an
agile team, and had to re-invent herself completely. She now faced the
challenge of having to take on new skills, become more of a testing coach then
a tester, and let go of the “quality gate keeper” equivalent to Gandalf; “You
shall not pass”, because suddenly it was okay to “pass” as long as we knew what
we were passing into production!

But she
overcame, change her mindset and some 18 months later they were running agile!


skills are NOT the most important skills – soft skills are more important

testers job is NOT to ensure quality – a tester is a skilled investigator which
can highlight risks and provide information about quality

Last session
I want to highlight is the TenKod workshop on automated mobile app testing.

Emil Simeonov
gave a good intro to their eclipse based product EZ TestApp, and it’s definitely
something worth looking into. Its capture/replay on both simulated as well as
real devices! You can even capture on a simulation and replay on a real device –

So that’s something I really want to dig further into!!!