Episode 176: The Lost Tapes – Kanban For One with Sandy Mamoli

The Agile Revolution Podcast

In this previously lost and unreleased podcast from 2012 (we found it on a SD card that was thought to be lost forever), Craig catches up with Sandy Mamoli at Agile 2012 in Dallas, Texas and chat about Personal Kanban and how everything is bigger in Texas. It’s amazing how much hasn’t changed in this time!

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Episode 158: Jugaad Agility with Naresh Jain

The Agile Revolution Podcast

Craig is at YOW! Lambda Jam in Sydney and speaks with Naresh Jain, co-founder of the Agile Software Community of India (organising body of Agile India), conference organiser of many other software conferences in India and creator of ConfEngine and they chat about:

  • The original Test Infected article
  • Cruise Control started as an idea to write a cron job to check out code, compile and run tests
  • Without good processes and tools the individuals and interactions become much harder
  • Agile India conference – running since 2005, one of the earliest Agile conferences
  • Agile is a given way to do things, but we are still not seeing the benefits – need to build capability in user first / product thinking, need autonomy to deliver end-to-end customer value (startups within a startup), need to build a learning culture and expert people / craftsmanship and need to focus on continuous delivery

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Agile Australia Then & Now (AgileTODAY)

AgileTODAY is a publication associated with the Agile Australia conference. In the May 2018 edition I was invited to reflect on one of my past presentations and how it stood the test of time.

Craig spoke on “The Speed to Cool: Valuing Testing and Quality in Agile Teams” at Agile Australia in 2011. Craig is an Agile Coach and Director at Unbound DNA and works as a Trainer and Consultant at Software Education.

In 2011, my talk highlighted the need for a greater understanding of the changing role of testing in Agile environments and the need to build quality into our solutions from the beginning.

Fast forwarding to 2018, the community is improving in this space but still has a long way to go. The rise in popularity of DevOps has helped immensely in this area, although it astounds me how many teams and organisations I work with still do not have some of the basic building blocks in place (like continuous integration or sometimes, worryingly, version control). Many organisations still have a large focus on manually testing via the UI which becomes increasingly riskier and slower as the importance of digital continues to rise.

In my talk, I spoke about what is now referred to as the “three amigos” concept. In the ‘conversation’ around a user story, three key principles outline how to actually implement the work:

  1. When developers and user representatives collaborate we get a better understanding of the specification or the requirements.
  2. When testers and user representatives collaborate we get a better understanding of the acceptance criteria and how we will meet our agreed definition of ‘done’.
  3. When testers and developers collaborate we get a better understanding of quality, but also get the value of pairing on automated testing.

Approaches such as Behaviour Driven Development have risen in popularity and support the above model well but, as I highlighted in the talk, this requires behavioural changes across the team. Mainly:

  • User representatives need to have a greater testing involvement, working closer in real time with testers.
  • Testers need to build technical knowledge and work closer in real time with developers, understanding developer tests and interfaces to avoid rework and improve quality.
  • Developers need work closer with the user representatives on the requirements collaboration, as well as with the testers to ensure that testing artefacts are left behind.

We need to appreciate testing as a team skill set and not as a job or an anchor. While this now occurs more frequently in the Agile community, many organisations still have a long way to go. Testing remains an important skill, but mindsets and skill sets need to change to fully embrace an Agile way of working.

Episode 125: 10 Minutes with Dan North

The Agile Revolution Podcast

dannorthAfter many failed attempts to get him on the podcast, Craig finally catches up with Dan North at YOW! Conference on his way out the door to the airport and in a quick chat they cover:

  • BDD – developing an application by looking at its behaviour from the perspective of its stakeholders (people who’s live you touch)
  • Given When Then – “given” is setting up the world in a well known way, “when” is me interacting with the application as a stakeholder and “then” is what I expect to happen
  • BDD is not the same as writing automated tests, they are orthogonal – “Test-Driven Development Is Not About Testing
  • Software, Faster – collection of patterns for people who have been around Agile and are asking “now what” – “Software, Faster” book in progress
  • YOW! 2015 talk “Delivery Mapping: Turning the Lights On

TheAgileRevolution-125 (12 minutes)

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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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Breaking the Cylinders of Excellence (in the Australian Government)

YOW-Nights_Logo_stackedAt the recent YOW! Night in Brisbane (as well and Sydney and Melbourne), Lindsay Holmwood (the Head of Technology at the DTA) presented “Breaking the Cylinders of Excellence”. It was a rare experience to hear the story of how the DTA is using cutting edge development practices to help the government catch up with, and even exceed, the public sector. 

 

  • DTA – aid transformation in government, small agency
  • Delivery hubs in Sydney and Canberra – help identify and plug capability gaps in teams
  • Prototype of how government services could work  gov.au/alpha
  • Digital Service Standard – 13 characteristics on what good looks like in government, useful in organisations as well
  • Cloud.gov.au  – government cloud service, usage growing, continuous delivery pipeline (which is a major change for government who are used to 2 changes per year)
  • The unit of delivery is the team – not about individuals, but the team – borrowed from GDS
  • Government is slow, but government is designed to be stable, they cannot fail, they have characteristics that are resistant to change
  • Myth that organisations must choose between speed and reliability, high performing organisations deploy more frequently, have shorter lead times, fewer failures and recover faster, but they also have a greater profit
  • Want to deliver like a startup but be stable like a government
  • Not a lot of cross pollination between departments currently
  • Read the policy! – quite often the process is not mandated
  • Document what works and doesn’t so it becomes a repeatable pattern – ie. running a meetup inhouse, don’t tell me I can’t do it, tell me how I can run it without being thrown in jail!
  • Stick with technologies the government is comfortable with if you are changing the delivery engine
  • Security matters – prevention is a battle you will always lose, detection is your best defence – aggregate and log in one place, identify threat signatures, etc
  • Embed security people on big services so it is part of the architecture
  • Proactive testing between different governments around the world on similar platforms
  • Simplest security breaches make the most mess – infected excel macros, leaving free USB keys in the foyer that are malware infected
  • Need to put user needs first – alpha mockup using tools like Jeckyll, then beta then live
  • Lots of people strictly interpret the design and delivery guides – they are guides not rules!
  • Create a longer runway by pulling tech forward – turn down the volume of design, turn up the volume of tech
  • If it hurts, do it more often!
  • Fixed cost delivery with agile is a thing, agile is a way to de-risk in the government
  • Don’t put manual testing on the critical deployment path – have special skills on hand for accessibility, performance and security

Episode 119: Agile (Raccoon) is Dead with “Pragmatic” Dave Thomas

The Agile Revolution Podcast

davethomasCraig and Tony are at YOW! Conference and get the opportunity to sit down with Dave Thomas, signatory to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and have a great discussion about:

  • Dave’s talk “Agile is Dead (Long Live Agility)
  • Agile as a word has become meaningless, don’t follow the off-the-shelf processes, apply small corrections to move forward
  • Story of Stone Soup is like Agile consultancies, the hard work is done by the companies
  • Scrum is a good starting point due to its simplicity
  • Raccoon is a noun, so not a good replacement name for Agile, because you can buy a pound of it
  • 1,000 working on one thing can never be Agile, you have to make enterprises agile before you can run an agile project
  • The values in the Agile Manifesto hold up well, would have been nice to have had more diversity, had no expectation they were…

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Episode 117: The Changing Role of a Tester with Mark Pedersen

The Agile Revolution Podcast

mpCraig is at the YOW! Connected conference and talks to Mark Pedersen, the CTO at KJR, and they talk all things quality and testing:

  • the changing role of a tester in an Agile environment, it clarifies the role rather than making it blurrier
  • in an Agile environment it does not make sense to have a Test Manager role anymore
  • the number of dedicated testing roles are decreasing, but becoming more important and valuable
  • most organisations say that they use both waterfall and agile frequently
  • build your skills in either a quasi analysis / product owner / acceptance criteria role or get up to speed with sensible technical automation tools for your tech stack
  • TDD – good idea but not many organsations practicing it in a dedicated way, unit testing in most industries is a luxury
  • BDD – does not make TDD obsolete, defining acceptance criteria upfront helps understand…

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Episode 111: M&Mailbag

The Agile Revolution Podcast

peanutmmCraig and Renee, sitting in a shoe-box sized hotel room in Sydney eating peanut M&Ms, decided to rustle through the mailbag and answer a bunch of outstanding questions.

Note: this episode is not sponsored or endorsed by M&Ms but we certainly enjoy their product!

Crossing The Chasm

  • more and more organisations seem to be crossing the chasm to Agile, but too many are still just doing and not being Agile
  • inimal viable product (MVP) is still the trend word, the next stage is Minimal Viable Experience and then Minimal Viable Robustness to Minimal Marketable Product and finally Continuously Evolving Product
  • Enterprise Transformation Meta Model
  • Agile is a true north concept, not sure that you will ever get there

Suggested reading list on where to start with Agile:

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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