Agile Testing Days 2013 – Day 3 Keynotes Notes

The last day of the conference started off with an interesting keynote by David Evans. Here are my notes for his keynote and also the other 2, including the closing keynote from Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory.

“Visualising Quality” by David Evans

  • The product of testing is confidence, not quality!
  • Decision support – balance risk and reward;
  • the expert witness in a trial;
  • accidents happen – unpredictable, one-in-a-million freak accident:
    • the question was asked (suffer catastrophic failure due to the cold temperate (NASA accident 1987)
      • reasonable doubt may mean no go when it comes to a decision
      • engineers did their best to highlight problems
      • failures in communication that resulted in a decision to launch based on incomplete and sometimes misleading information, a conflict between engineering data and management judgement.
  • the value of the information we provide is equal to the value of the decision it informs;
  • testing only isn’t enough, it’s the communication about the collected data that counts;
  • McGurk effect – beware of conflict between what we show and what we say;
  • hard to process information without context – put data together, or compare different data points;
  • put other contexts too – military budget of the US – put it as a percentage of the US GDP;
  • get feedback quickly – put it somewhere visible;
  • look for opportunities where we taking shortcuts and bending them behind their original purpose;
  • system diagrams: scale it by:
    • size
    • usage
    • value
    • risk
  • smell: arbitrary representations – work with the brain, not against it;
  • smell: the warm glow of the dashboard – visualisation overload;
  • smell: colour bias and averaging;
  • false perspective: choose perspective that relates to the context;
  • represent people on a kanban board;
  • keep it simple, get it green (builds);
  • visualise subjective assessments (James Bach low tech dashboard);
  • show named milestones (Jeff Patton’s story map);

“The next decade of Agile Software Development” by J. B. Ransberger

  • Kent Beck: “Why aren’t we rich yet?”
  • when people say bring me data they really mean shut up and go away;
  • Etudes for Excellence by James Shore
    • agile practices are etudes not rules!
  • we don’t want change because eventually we will do the wrong thing;
  • Tim Lister’s “Adrenaline junkies and Template Zombies”;
  • the opportunity to address risk is what’s missing from daily standups;
  • Tim Lister’s “Waltzing with bears – Managing risks on software projects”;
  • inbox for later process in our whiteboards (if you can’t resolve in 2 minutes);
  • backlog: what are we missing about all those features?
    • involving the customer
    • cartoon for agile project spec – what programmer thought, designer, product owner, etc.
    • talking in examples
      • having conversations, is more important than capturing conversation, is more important than automating conversations – BDD
      • abstraction then talk about details (example driven development)
      • lost luggage example – point to a bag that’s most similar to yours and note how it’s different
  • negotiating the scope: ask how much of each story not which stories;
  • when you spot something wrong in a pairing session wait 15 seconds before you point it out – no one wants to know there’s a semi colon missing;
  • pairing also develops your confidence, and/or humility – helps with trust;
  • “you cook, you clean up”;
  • continuous integration is an attitude not a tool;
  • test retreats

“Build bridges, change viewpoints, delight customers” by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

  • Customer, focus on the customer;
  • it’s all about perspectives:
    • have multiple perspectives
    • be open, listen
    • consider your customer needs
    • are business needs different?
  • changing our culture
    • focus on quality, not speed
    • learning culture
    • short feedback loops
    • respect for all team members
  • ways to collaborate:
    • 3 amigos / power of 3
    • pairing
    • talk about tests
    • continuous feedback
    • impact mapping
    • story mapping
  • collaboration happens easily between children because there is trust;
  • interruption isn’t necessarily rude;
  • test framework:
    • tests/examples passes to test method/fixture calls developer code
  • delight customers: collaboration helps simplify, deliver what customer wants most;
  • when programmers and testers automate acceptance tests without the customer, they risk merely throwing features over the wall;
  • learn non-threatening ways to ask “why do you want that?”;
  • provide an environment that nurtures change;
  • teach people (testers) how to do a good resume, and instead of leaving they won’t want to once they realise how much they are learning;
  • trust, visibility, transparency, team focus on quality and … the 3 Cs (contractual, communication and competence);
  • it’s still more important to have the right people than to have them together;
  • it’s only 5 steps to the top – you can rest, do it in small chunks;
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