Agile Testing Days 2012 Takeaways

【English Contents in Bottom】

前段时间参加了在柏林波茨坦举行的Agile Testing Days 2012大会,11月的19到22号,包括会前培训和三天会议我全都参加了(会议的议程),我把自己拍的照片和一些录音放在SkyDrive的ATD2012公开文件夹里,大家可以下载查看。

今年大会上除了我自己,只见到一名来自南京趋势科技的工程师,而且他也只选择了第二天的会议参加。希望明年可以号召更多国内的朋友一起去参会!我将自己的参会心得稍作总结后,在今年的敏捷之旅上海站进行了分享,材料放到SlideShare上,如下所示,欢迎使用!如果下图无法显示,或无法打开SlideShare,请点击此处访问微盘下载该材料

会议主办方已经拉开2013年Agile Testing Days的序幕,目前正在征集话题,大家可以踊跃提交哦!如果也打算去参会的话,请务必也和我联系,大家一起组团前往,还可以试图争取更为优惠的价格和折扣。另外,给大家一个建议,出国参加这种会议之前,稍微热热身磨练一下酒量和短睡眠能力,想要最大化你的参会收获,就务必要积极参与把酒言欢,很有趣的交谈和思想往往也来自于酒吧、餐馆里的闲聊。而在这种会议时,往往会出现昨晚转战多地(酒吧、餐馆、酒吧……)半夜入眠,第二天7点起床继续参加早上的Lean Coffee,再接着参加一整天的密集会议,对于大脑来说绝对是极具破坏性的知识轰炸。

如下是我的参会心得,本来就用英文写就,不打算再翻译成中文,有兴趣的朋友,可以使用谷歌翻译必应翻译等工具辅助阅读。末尾汇总提供了其他参会者的参会记录、心得、总结等文章的链接,均为英文。组织方并未公开发布演讲材料,似乎只是给参与者发了邮件,告知大家填写反馈以及下载资料,如果大家确实有需要,可以单独联系我索取你所需要的某个演讲话题的材料(并非所有演讲都提供了材料)。

我自己参加听了的演讲话题(the talks I participated as below):

  • Tutorial: “Management 3.0 Workshop” Jurgen Appelo

    • There were many other  tutorial, I chose Jurgen’s simply because I co-translated his book, and want to see how he give workshops
    • His “Management 3.0” normally take 2 days, so this is a simpler version with shrink contents, he had touched: Agile Management, Complexity Thinking, Energize People, Empower Teams, Align Constraints, Develop Competence, Grow Structure, Change Management.
    • He used a lot of exercises, but it’s not boring at all, he used a lot of tools, which is colorful, handy, cute and interesting, e.g. my favorite “Moving Motivators” exercise, which belongs to the “Energize People” section.
      • You need to arrange the 10 motivators according to its importance level to you
      • Then, consider a big change on you recently, moving the motivators up (positive impact) and down (negative impact). No changes to position (=importance).
      • We (me and Mitch Rauth who looks like Bruce Willis) did it in pair, and we need to explain to peer why I arrange them in that order, and why I move them up and down
  • Keynote: “Disciplined Agile Delivery: The Foundation for Scaling Agile” Scott W. Ambler

    • Didn’t really remember anything from there, it’s more about promoting the DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) methodology.
    • But the keynote had generated a lot of buzz on twitter, which accidentally made unicorn a popular figure during the whole conference. The reason is, he shared a lot of opinions of current Agile, but he used the phrase “in the real world” so much, instead of “in my opinion”, which pissed off many “Agile”  or “Testing” people there. They started to wear unicorn badge and add unicorns into their slides. Which was real fun.
  • Talk: “Get them in(volved)” Arie van Bennekum

    • Basically he’s re-emphasizing the importance of get “end-users” involved in to development, that is what Agile is about.
    • He once also said that PRINCE2 could be Agile too.
  • Talk: “Balancing and growing agile testing with high productive distributed teams” Mads Troels Hansen & Oleksiy Shepetko

    • Their 5 pillars for enabling their global Agile testing mindset are:
      • Constant Quality Focus
      • Global Test Leadership
      • Global Supporting Infrastructure
      • Global Agile Testing Practices
      • Global Product Ownership
    • The details descriptions of their problems and solutions could be found from their presentation, I’ll share when I get the material. They’re not new to me, it’s more like very simple principles and actions, just make it happen and keep doing it.
  • Keynote: “Myths About Agile Testing, De-Bunked” Janet Gregory & Lisa Crispin

    • The keynote listed some myths of Agile Testing, and they debunked them. Not a presentation about a specific topic or experience share.
    • Myths including:
      • Testing is dead
      • ATDD/SBE tests only confirm behavior
      • Tests much be able to program
      • Agile teams are dazzled by tools
      • Agile = speed

  • Open Space: Open Space Cirilo Wortel

    • I proposed a question about test strategy, the conclusions are:
      • Need to get managers buy-in, send them into trainings might be good (even a TDD training)
      • Move bottom-up, have quick wins
      • Collect data as much as possible, use as evidence later
      • Frequent retrospectives
  • Talk: “Developers Exploratory Testing – Raising the bar” Sigge Birgisson

    • Sigge shared how they got those developers to do high level Exploratory Testing
    • His gist is that developers want to be able to be proud of their work, but they have little or no trainings in testing, so he introduced pair work with training on ET and Session Based Testing. And also they find ways to keep stakeholders involved.
    • Testers working with developers and stakeholders or customers, has less thrash and ability to communicate directly and manage expectations.
    • His presentation on Prezi.com: http://prezi.com/nnyk1cvogobs/public_atd-2012-developers-exploratory-testing-raising-the-bar/
  • Keynote: “Self Coaching” Lasse Koskela

    • He said the topic doesn’t really exist, if you google it, you only get a book which has nothing to do with what he’s talking about.
    • The skills needed for self-coaching are:
      • Understand the Brain: he talked about the basic brain function, one part is for direct reaction, one part is for interpretation, one part on cognitive response. There is a threat/reward model, which leads to several consideration including status / certainty / autonomy / relatedness / fairness. The challenge is, perceived threats tend to outweigh rewards, so it takes many good experiences to outweigh a single bad one.
      • Reduce the Noise: do the right thing, and ignore others (e.g. worries if bad things happen). The problem is once a bad thing happened, we tend to focus on that, and this is the noise. He used the story of golfer Ernie Els to tell.
      • Stopping the Brain: when our Ladder of Influence are not based on facts and are essentially false in nature, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We need to be aware of what is going on, clarify what should we do and what we really want to do. He used an example that his wife is cooking and ask him to take out the trash (he used to do it), but right now the national football match is on play, should he refuse to do it or do it and watch TV, he went through the impact (or reaction) loop, to explain the choice and how to reflect what he really want (harmony?).
    • So in conclusion: pause frequently and evaluate your own reasons; check your own thinking; obey the sense you have of right and wrong

  • Lean Coffee

    • I participate the Lean Coffee organized by Lisa Crispin, it was held at the coffee bar next to breakfast rooms, more than 10 people appeared (they held Lean Coffee for all conference days, =3 times). Its style is similar to Open Space, just a facilitator will help to record time and stop when time expires. Totally it’s one hour, we discussed ~4 topics, it’s quick and efficient and full of different experience & opinions.

  • Keynote: “Let’s Help Melly (Changing Work Into Life)” Jurgen Appelo

    • His material is very visual and literal, just have a look: http://www.slideshare.net/jurgenappelo/lets-help-melly-14321103
    • First he noted that most workers in the world hate their jobs, and experts tend to help in this situation along the time, since 100,000 BC …
    • He mentioned later that, what organizations need is a “transformation”, but what organizations usually do is an “adoption”, in 77% of the cases managers initiated adoptions, but unfortunately many existing systems embrace and kill change.
    • Then he introduced his thinking, that we can do even better when we really understand complexity thinking.
    • He mentioned in one slide that the English verb “to manage” was originally derived from the Italian maneggiare, meaning to handle and train horses… His opinion is, management is too important to left to the managers, we all participate in the workout, and he introduced the Management 3.0 workout practices.
    • On one slide (no. 131, for “support emerging creativitiy”) it’s a table-football table, at Cisco Systems Norway Oslo, the engineers innovated it with the permission from managers. They added a laser in the door, so it can judge if it’s a goal or not; and there is a card reader which can records the players and the scores; the door has a camera inside, which and record those wonderful goals and replay.
    • The final words are: “steal healthy practices, use in safe-to-fail experiments, learn as fast as possible, adapt to your needs, and repeat…”
  • Talk: “Agile Test Planning & Documentation: Needed? How Much? How?” Dawn Haynes

    • She shared her early experience as a tester, was a massive test team of ONE surrounded by lots of hardware. There’s much much more work to do than she can, she needs to plan and manage her testing work, and she used just a simple spread sheet (she used a video to show how she created it).
    • She introduced some other tools too, e.g. xmind, mindmeister (she emphasized its history replay feature), to record test ideas etc.
    • I asked one question that how she used this idea to deal with multiple teams, and Scott Barber stood up and answered that, they also shared the idea to a customer, and the customer uses Google docs (spreadsheet) which has a “chat” function. Which in my opinion is great, because it addresses the need of communication (of course, work on face-to-face communication first).
    • Then another attendee asked “how does this work for inexperienced, maybe unskilled testers that don’t know the application?”, her answer was “non-skilled, untrained testers? I don’t do that!”
  • Talk: “Experiences with introducing a Continuous Integration Strategy in a Large Scale Development Organization” Simon Morley

  • Keynote: “Adaptation and Improvisation – but your weakness is not your technique” Markus Gärtner

    • He had too many good points in his presentation, which the material is not shared yet. Let’s wait. However below are a few from that.
    • He spoke about the problems with management and in particular, management by measurement. It encourages supervision, relies on extrinsic motivators and more often than not, the supposed KPIs introduced encourage the wrong behaviour (E.g. code coverage).
    • A team needs to be self-organizing and adapt to it’s context, he referred to The five dysfunctions of a team.  Trust underpins everything in the team, the harmony, team commitment, accountability for delivering and ultimately the result.
    • In the end, we each must decide whether we will take the Red Pill, and become fully Agile (or agile) or the Blue Pill and stay as we are. He quoted and rephrased the words Morpheus told Neo what the Matrix is in the Matrix movie, and asked us the question in the end of presentation.
  • Test Lab: TestLab Bart Knaack & James Lyndsay

    • It’s a hands-on test lab, we tried the practice of finding bugs of a few web-based systems, we (me and Ismo Aro) tried to do it by test automation with robotframework, while system was not stable, so we left just achieved a little. I joined the Consensus Talk (like Lightening Speech), I was late and only caught up with the speech by BDD tool SpecFlow’s developer Gasper Nagy.

  • Talk: “Excelling as an Agile Tester” Henrik Andersson

    • He told us that the TDD, BDD, ATDD and some other acronyms fall into the realm of “Checking” as Michael Bolton described, and we shouldn’t take those (and the value) away from the programmers.
    • He cited from Weinberg “A tester is one who knows that things can be different”, then Bach and Bolton “Testing helps us answer the question ‘is there a problem here?’”.
    • Then, what can an Agile Tester do? How to become EXCELLENT? Pair with a product owner on design of Acceptance Test; with PO when doing ET sessions; with PO to understand the customer; with programmer on checking; with programmer to understand the program.
    • He quoted James Bach’s “I’m here to make you look good.”, and rephrased to emphasize a tester should think “I’m here to make us look good.”
    • Generally he finds that giving information on the health of the system of greater value than the typical what-I-did-style of reporting.
  • Keynote: “Reinventing software quality” Gojko Adzic

    • The materials was not shared yet. But if you google it, you’ll find some same-named presentations he  gave at other conferences, which you could take as references. E.g.
    • He started with “we’ve got software quality completely wrong”, collecting the wrong data will hurt your company. He made a joke based on these days’ buzz, he asked the audience a question “who have seen unicorn these days?”, kind of everybody raised their hands, and he showed a pie-chart with 100% yes, and shared a faked newspaper with title “Unicorn exists! Proven at Agile Testing Days 2012 at Potsdam!”
    • He indicates “this is what happens when you track bugs as KPIs”, he was stressing that we too often measure the wrong thing, but not focus on what really matters – our progress towards business goals. He thinks “tracking bugs is a measure of your process, not your quality”.
    • He then referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and made a similar one for software system, and he explained in detail on his blog http://gojko.net/2012/05/08/redefining-software-quality/.
    • He closed the keynote with acrostic poetry as conclusion:
      • Understanding
      • Needed
      • Impacts
      • Captures
      • Objectives
      • Relatively
      • Nicely
  • Keynote: “Fast Feedback Teams” Ola Ellnestam

    • Materials was not shared yet too, but here is a photo of somebody’s sketches during another conference, http://www.flickr.com/photos/fczbkk/6208049181/in/photostream/, however Ola’s presentation was also in similar style (chalk drawing).
    • He shared 2 life examples of feedback loop
      1. His son wants a computer game, so he developed the 1st version, press a button and it shows “you win!”, his son was exited but last long; then he developed one that will show “you win!” and “you lose!” alternately, it’s fun. It’s funny when his sister jump in, so the son hit the button and “you win!” then the daughter hit the button but got “you lose!”, it’s kind of going forever… however he shows how he satisfies the needs of computer game with very simple solutions, and adjust based on very quick feedback
      2. The showers. Depending on how far the shower head is from the faucet handlers, you may have a bit of delay. The further away the two are, the longer it takes for you to know if the water is the temperature you want.
    • Frequency of feedback is very important. If the GPS system only updating say every minute, we might miss turns; for an aircraft at 33,000 feet you can’t rely on a feedback loop of say a couple of minutes, you need maybe instant response. Back to testing, we need to “remove stuff that slows you down”. He questioned that, if our task is to help solve problems, does the solution always involve creating software? Ola says he likes not creating software is  there is another solution.
    • It’s better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. E.g. a radiator has a thermostat to keep a room at a steady temperature. Recognizing the door or window is open and may have a bearing on the results.
    • Bug reports are records of things we did wrong.
    • To move an organization, particularly a new organization, toward success, sometimes the easiest way is to reduce stuff that does not help.
    • The last slide was 2 hikers, one with huge backpack, one with pretty small one (necessary stuff), who can walk longer?
  • Talk: “Automation of Test Oracle – unachievable dream or tomorrow’s reality” Dani Almog

    • He’s from an university at Israel, worked for Amdocs for many years.
    • Basically he was saying that test oracles can be automated, but the problem is he didn’t share real examples, still stay at fairly abstract level.
  • Talk: “Taking over a bank with open source test tooling” Cirilo Wortel

  • Keynote: “The ongoing evolution of testing in agile development” Scott Barber

  • Talk: “Changing the context: How a bank changes their software development methodology” Huib Schoots

  • Talk: “Quality On Submit, Continuous Integration in Practice” Asaf Saar

  • Keynote: “The Great Game of Testing” Matt Heusser

    • He started with a video clip from A Beautiful Mind with of John Nash describing game theory. Game theory presents that we can do work that will benefit us, and reciprocity means that we will act in the belief that in help one person, we will also be helped, by some measure. And he did an exercise with 4 folks, and showed that reciprocity worked in that case.
    • He described software testing as The Great Game of Testing.
    • He showed a picture of a real kanban board and explain that, let QA becomes the bottleneck doesn’t make sense. If we have a flow process where there are “workflow limits” in place, and dev can help QA clean their plate so they can then push the stories that are waiting, then they can get more stories done.
    • He then shared Elisabeth Hendrickson’s Shortcut game, to demonstrate what happens when we do “extra work” to make this sprint’s goals, but will negatively impact the next sprint.
    • Later he published a blog post started around a discussion where I was in, http://www.softwaretestpro.com/Item/5736/The-Divide-Between-Agile-Testing-and-Others/Agile-Testing-Test-and-QA

The conference organizers will publish the materials and videos later, you can keep an eye on their website as below.

Somebody is also colleting material links from twitter and other places, if you want to check their materials now, please go ahead to: http://www.testevents.com/website/testevent-news/testevent-news/1700-agile-testing-days-slides.

Other blogs and materials:

About

Xu Yi is a professional Agile & Lean Coach, check out more at http://kaverjody.com/about/.

Leave a Reply