Episode 171 – Beyond Legacy Code with David Bernstein

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig is at Agile 2017 in Orlando, Florida and speaks with David Bernstein, author of “Beyond Legacy Code“, and they chat about agile technical practices:

  • Agile does have something to with software development
  • Agile 2017 talk “Create Software Quality
  • The real value of Agile is in the technical practices so we can build iteratively, but still very few people practice them
  • The future is already here, but it is not very well evenly distributed – the same applies to Agile
  • Companies are being consumed by their technical debt and they don’t even recognise it
  • What is always cheaper in the virtual domain is building quality
  • Continuous Integration makes the most painful thing in software development (integration) our greatest asset – this in turn gives us feedback
  • We don’t necessarily know there is a better way to do things – but there is a better way to…

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Episode 145: Working Effectively with (Legacy) Code with Michael Feathers

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig is in Atlanta at Agile 2016 and catches up with Michael Feathers, author of “Working Effectively with Legacy Code” and they talk about the following:

  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code originally started as a book about Test First Programming but morphed into a book about the techniques for refactoring code in legacy systems
  • The Pinned Progress Curve – for many people there is no incentive to change so the mean gets larger between the status quo and good practices
  • Agile Alliance Deliver:Agile conference
  • Organisations that have technical founders have a very different character to their work internally, need to make knowledge of the quality of software more pervasive – the business need to understand more about the technical side, and the developers need to understand more about the business
  • Code that has excessive error handling typically has other design problems – benefit in thinking about whether…

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Episode 124: Talking Testing with Anne-Marie Charrett

The Agile Revolution Podcast

16069825102_aa54010a22_zCraig is at YOW! Conference and catches up with Anne-Marie Charrett who is well known in the testing community as a trainer, coach and consultant but also for her support of the community:

  • Don Reinertsen talk “Thriving in a Stochastic World
  • Context-Driven Testing
  • Testing is a verb – it’s a doing thing and not an output, but the challenge is you cannot see doing
  • Anne-Marie’s class in Exploratory Testing
  • Where there is risk and failure, there is a job for testing
  • Exploratory testing – the key is feedback and using the learning to feedback into the next test
  • Agile testing – don’t try and test everything and don’t try and automate everything either, rather adopt a risk based approach
  • Unit testing – the usefulness depends on the programmer and the context and figuring out what you are trying to achieve
  • Sydney Testers Meetup
  • Speak Easy – Speak Easy…

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Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory on (More) Agile Testing, Learning and New Approaches

InfoQLisa Crispin and Janet Gregory talk about how they came to collaborate on the “Agile Testing” books, the testing skillset and approaches to learning, and new and interesting approaches to testing.

lisa-janetSource: Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory on (More) Agile Testing, Learning and New Approaches

Episode 83: Making Impacts with Gojko Adzic

The Agile Revolution Podcast

GojkoAdzicGojko Adzic “does computers” which means he helps people deliver software and he caught up with Craig on a recent YOW! DepthFirst tour of Australia. Gojko is the author of numerous books including “Bridging The Communication Gap“, “Specification by Example“, “Impact Mapping” and “50 Quick Ideas to Improve Your User Stories“.

  • XP – started with “Extreme Programming Explained” which was really about developers ruling the world – XP is not dead, it won!
  • TDD has crossed the chasm to mainstream
  • Sturgeons Law – 90% of anything is going to be crap
  • Continuous integration and automation has opened up a world of possibilities
  • “Bridging the Communication Gap” – about finding ways to break dysfunctional processes in organisations
  • Agile Testing” by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
  • The most valuable companies in the world are software companies
  • It’s more about the right people…

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Episode 38: Coding With Exceptions (The Agile Story)

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Mark Derricutt & Craig AspinallThis is a special mashup episode recorded in Auckland, New Zealand. Craig catches up with Mark Derricut from the Illegal Argument podcast and Craig Aspinall from the Coding By Numbers podcast. Not your usual Agile podcast, the discussion starts around the definition of Agile (“crash often, crash regulary”) and trying to define quality and ends up in a chat about wicked problems, devops and software development skillsets.

This episode has been released on the other channels as well (take a listen if you haven’t already)

  • Illegal Argument (Episode 83)
  • Coding By Numbers (Episode 37)

TheAgileRevolution-38 (67 minutes)

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Agile Australia 2012 Day 2 Review

Day 2 of Agile Australia 2012, and another busy day of MC’ing and attending sessions.

The first (hastily rescheduled) keynote session was from Roy Singham from ThoughtWorks.

From Agile Australia 2012

The second keynote was supposed to be Mark “Bomber” Thompson from the Essendon Football Club but he was an unexplained no show. After an impromptu thankyou speech from me and breaking the conference for an early break, James Hird arrived to substitute and did an impromptu talk. As a result of the scheduling changes, I unfortunately did not get to see much of either session.

From Agile Australia 2012

How Lonely Planet Used Agile With SAP and Delighted Customers

I sat in the back of this session delivered by Ed Cortis from Lonely Planet. His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • failed, needed twice as many people after implementation
  • ran net promoter scores internally, -40!
  • attempted Agile customer management – planning meetings took 3 hours, attendance dropped, SAP team became prioritisers
  • NPS dropped to about -35
  • changed team structure and in-sourced, positive NPS
  • got agile working – 4 week sprint, 40 minunte presentation, stakeholders turn up because if you are not there you don’t get prioritised
  • developed a prioritisation matrix – business value versus effort, colour coded cards for skillset, sets order for prioritisation
  • pre work is required for the meeting – know how many points of effort for every available person
  • prioritisation board – built the backlog as part of the session
  • no spreadsheets!

The Trouble With Time Machine

I was MC for this session delivered by Matthew Hodgson from Zen Ex Machina. He gets extra marks for working Doctor Who and bow tie references into the talk. His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • UX people are time travelers
  • time machine pattern – work an iteration or more ahead of the development team
  • UX is primarily about design, we are in two different worlds
  • embed the time machine pattern within Scrum
  • personas – focus on the pragmatic face of our users (David Hussman) – synthesise what we understand at the moment
  • added to GWT… Given I am a role AND I VALUE, When… Then…
  • grooming is the forgotten ceremony
  • involved the users in planning poker – got clear perspective in the context of their environment]
  • demo became a cognitive walk through

Emerging Paradigms in Software Testing

I was MC for this session for Kristan Vingrys from ThoughtWorks. I have known Kristan for a number of years, and I resonate very closely with his views on testing and testers. His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • you have to build quality into the product
  • ATDD is a good way to break down the barriers between developers and testers
  • need to change focus to preventing defects rather than finding defects – measure yourself that more defects is bad
  • fast feedback – embrace continuous integration, automation and the test pyramid
  • involve everyone – crowd source your problems, tests are an asset, version control your test cases
  • change focus from how I prevent this going into production onto how I get this into production
  • build pipeline- stage build to run different tests in different stages in the pipeline
  • tester needs to inform the team of quality, not be responsible for quality
  • target testing to things that are changing, not just scatter gun
  • it’s about the principles, not the practices
  • test code is code – treat it like any other code
  • it’s important to know what you are not covering, more than what we are covering (Model Based Testing)

Design Eye For A Dev Guy

I was MC for this session delivered by Julian Boot from Majitek. This was one of the highlight sessions that I attended at the conference and as I remarked when thanking Julian, it reaffirmed how much I don’t know about good design. His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • you gotta love it, you gotta be able to do it and it needs to deliver a bag load of cash
  • people now expect a fit and finish, design is now expected
  • people over process, not everyone is a good designer so let people play to their strengths as weaknesses get in the way of excellence – need to understand it though
  • design is related to visual processing – what we see is what we design, design can be taught
  • highlight individual items – contrast, colour, shape, white space, underlining
  • grouping – proximity, continuity, enclosure, connection
  • proportion, substance and harmony are important
  • subtle changes dramatically affect the visualization
  1. use a grid like CSS Grid and Twitter Bootstrap
  2. focus on data over labels – make the data bigger, keep your headings close to your data so you don’t get lost
  3. hierarchy of actions, but use them properly
  4. colour – use a designer, but if not use 3 colours in one shade and two others (using three grey is the best pro tip and two others)
  5. let design be your brand, don’t overuse the brand

Agile Executive: The Naked Truth!

I was MC for this session led by Kelly Waters from ThoughtWorks and author of the All About Agile blog. I unfortunately did not get to see much of this presentation, the slides for which are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012

Agile Development on Large Legacy Architecture

I was MC for this session delivered by Tony Young from Integrated Research. This session was designated as “Expert” but there is nothing in this that I could see that made it that level. His slides are available here.

From Agile Australia 2012
  • teams find it hard to focus at 7-8 people and they saw parallel development, sweet spot was 5+/- 1
  • changed because competitors moving faster and customers questioned our quality
  • used agile guidelines, not rules – had must dos and bendys
  • product team deliver using Scrum and give to a QA team that uses Kanban !
  • the peer pressure to try is key
  • use Lego board for backlog to see resource impacts

Other Stuff

One of my colleagues who presented a talk on day 2 was Colin McCririck (who is the Executive Manager of a team I coached for some time) and he spoke on Leadership Secrets for Agile Adoption).

Rosie X recorded an interview with me during the conference which was a lot of fun.

Renee Troughton and I took some time out from talks to record a podcast interview with Ilan Goldstein for the Agile Revolution.

Renee also recorded a podcast with Kim Ballestrin on Cynefin.

We also recorded a wrapup podcast.

I also did some short interviews for InfoQ, which resulted in a wrap-up story.

STANZ 2011 Day 2 Review

STANZDay 2 of STANZ 2011 in Melbourne, here are my notes from the sessions.

The Future of Quality

Goranka Bjedov from Facebook gave this somewhat controversial talk first up, the slides and videos are available here.

From STANZ 2011
  • value of quality is lower than the price of quality – quality is dead
  • you may get a quality product (sometimes) but you always get an expensive product
  • quality matters for human life, security and money
  • systems are designed for redundancy these days so most of the time nothing will go wrong
  • people value free over quality
  • we live in a world where quality doesn’t matter, we are used to things failing
  • restructure what you are doing – don’t focus on catching big bugs, but focus on productivity testing, reduce the cost of development and speed it up
  • it is cheaper to fix a bug when the customer finds it now we are moving to the cloud
  • organisations are now paying people to find security bugs, people will test for free for a free device, some companies will offer jobs if you find a bug
  • need to start communicating value of work in a language people understand – how much did we save?

Test Process Improvement: Testers Get Out Of Your Cave!

Jan Jaap Cannegieter presented this session.

From STANZ 2011
  • TMMi – maturity framework for testing, public domain, find out how mature your test processes are
  • CMMi only has 5 pages on testing
  • TMMi has 5 levels – initial > managed > defined > management and measurement > optimization
  • start at level 2 when assessing
  • results from some TMMi quick scan assessments in 20 organisations – test reporting 30%, test planning 41%, test monitoring 47%, test design 60%, test environment 59%
  • test design is probably high because it can be influenced within the testing team, whereas planning and reporting, etc.. require people outside of your team
  • testing teams are in a cave, need to get out of the cave and use the rest of the organisation
  • stakeholder definition – the most important people at the BBQ – the hold the power, they have mindset and ambition
  • it’s all political – politics is a way of life – you need to get in front of the leaders and stakeholders and have political skills

Why Model-Driven Testing is of Great Relevance to Test Managers and Test Analysts

Thomas Hadorn from Tricentis gave this very vendor driven presentation.

From STANZ 2011
  • Gartner believe model driven testing will become dominant in next 5 years
  • capture/replay is too fragile, develop/replay test frameworks are too costly because they need to be programmatically extended
  • model driven only one type of test – no scripts to maintain

The Future Tester At Suncorp: A Journey of Building Quality In Through Agile

I presented this session with Adrian Smith from Ennova and Dallas Thorneycroft from Suncorp. The slides are available in a separate post.

From STANZ 2011
From STANZ 2011
From STANZ 2011

Testing Skills : How To Find and Develop Skilled Testers

Goranka Bjedov from Facebook led this hands on workshop.

Amongst other exercises, she introduced the game of Set.

  • card has characteristics – colour (purple, green, red), pattern (full, empty, striped), shape (oval, diamond, squiggle)
  • when a characteristic matches or is different on all 3 sets you have a match
  • very hard to get a set
  • deal 12 cards
  • makes testing fun

She also introduced the dice game and auction game using decks of cards.

Agile 2011: The Speed To Cool – Agile Testing & Building Quality In

My presentation from Agile 2011 that I delivered with Adrian Smith called “The Speed To Cool: Agile Testing and Building Quality In” is available on Slideshare.

Ensuring that the approach to testing and quality is understood and appropriately valued in an agile world can be a struggle for many organisations, especially when resources are limited and our customers are expecting business value in a timely manner. In this session we will define what quality means and share a number of tools for measuring it, discuss approaches to improving the skills, empowerment and role of testing in the organisation and share why testing is the coolest role on the team and why it is everyones responsibility.

Some of the comments on Twitter included:

@BrianGress: We tend to test only what we can see. #agile2011 @adrianlsmith

@tonyrockyhorror: @smithcdau Speed to Cool was best talk I’ve seen all week. It will take a mighty effort to top it. #agile2011

Adrian also posted about the talk on the Ennova blog.