Monthly Archives: May 2011

Get High Performance Out of Your Testing Team

Michael Hackett

Testing is often looked upon by many as an unmanageable, unpredictable, unorganized practice with little structure. It is common to hear questions or complaints from development including:

  • What are test teams doing?
  • Testing takes too long
  • Testers have negative attitudes

Agile Retrospectives

Mark Levison

Continuous Improvement and Short Feedback loops (think: Test Driven Development; Sprint Demo/Review; …) are at the core of any Agile process. Without a structured improvement process it can be difficult for teams to improve and without improvement we stagnate. For methods like Scrum, XP and et al., Retrospectives are that tool.

Get High Performance Out of Your Testing Team

triangle

Michael Hackett

Testing is often looked upon by many as an unmanageable, unpredictable, unorganized practice with little structure. It is common to hear questions or complaints from development including:

  • What are test teams doing?
  • Testing takes too long
  • Testers have negative attitudes

Testers know that these complaints and questions are often unfair and untrue. Setting aside the development/testing debate, there can always be room for improvement. The first step in improving strategy and turning a test team into a higher performance test team is getting a grasp on where you are now. You want to address the following:

Agile Retrospectives: The Preventative Medicine

3months

One of the features of using Agile methods is the opportunity for continuous improvement within a project. There are a number of improvement opportunities throughout a typical iteration or sprint─over the next few weeks I’m going to walk through a few, starting this week with the Retrospective. Retrospectives are one of the many tools in Scrum and other Agile methods that are absolute must-haves for continuous improvement.

Viet Nam Scope – Timeout with Evangeline Mitchell

Following highly sought out native-English speakers for teachers in Asia, are Filipinos. They’re strong presence in the US medical profession as hardworking and professional employees stand in equal measure within English teaching courses in developing countries. In the Philippines, English is the medium in which all courses are taught from the sciences to the humanities. It is only appropriate that they have the closest accent to an American.

Filipino teacher Evangeline Mitchell has taught English not only in Viet Nam but also in Thailand, Burma, Myanmar and for the United Nations for over twenty years with her American husband, who is also a teacher. Her background is based heavily with international schools and universities but enjoys her switch to a more business environment with LogiGear VN. Mitchell takes time between classes to answer a few questions:

1. Where did you work prior to LogiGear? What’s the biggest difference between your last position and LogiGear?

Book Review: How We Test at Microsoft

Bryan Pendleton

I’ve been intending to write a book review of How We Test Software At Microsoft, by Alan Page, Ken Johnston, and Bj Rollison, but for whatever reason I just never found the time, until now.

In general, I like this book a lot. It’s a nice blend of the tactical and the strategic, of the pragmatic and the theoretic, and it covers a lot of ground in a very readable fashion. It’s hard to imagine anybody who is seriously interested in software testing who wouldn’t find something that interested them in the book.

Spotlight Interview with Mark Levison

Mark Levison has over twenty years experience in the IT industry, working as a developer, manager, technical lead, architect, and consultant. He  discovered Agile in 2001 and is now a Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach with Agile Pain Relief Consulting.

Levison has introduced Scrum, Lean and other Agile methods to a number of organizations and coaches from executive level to the individual developer and tester. Levison is also an Agile editor at InfoQ and has written dozens of articles on Agile topics and publishes a blog – Notes from a Tool User. Mark’s training benefits from his study and writing on the neuroscience of learning: Learning Best Approaches for Your Brain. To contact Mark Levison, please email him at mark@agilepainrelief.com.

2010 Global Testing Survey Results: Test Process & SDLC

Michael Hackett, Senior Vice President, LogiGear Corporation

Process

The objective of this survey and analysis is to gather information on the actual state-of-the-practice in software testing today. The questions originate from software development team assessments I executed over the years. A process assessment is an observation and questioning of how and what you and your team does.

Book Excerpt: The Agile Samurai

Jonathan Rasmusson

Author Jonathan Rasmusson explains in his latest book how to successfully set-up, execute and deliver Agile projects. Download the excerpt below for “Chapter 7: Estimation The Fine Art of Guessing.” To read his interview in last month’s issue, please click on “Spotlight Interview: Jonathan Rasmusson” to read his views on the best practices for test automation in Agile projects.

Same or Different? Retrospectives and Post-mortems

Michael Hackett

Let’s look at a few distinctions between the two process improvement practices that make all the difference in their usefulness for making projects and job situations better! An extreme way to look at the goals of these practices is: what makes your work easier (retrospective) versus what did someone else decide is best practice (post-mortem)?

First, look elsewhere for a “how-to.” There are many published materials on how to do a sprint retrospective and a post-mortem. We are looking at the differences in the mindset. To look at how post-mortems and retrospectives are different, let’s go back to the approach and foundation for these meetings. The following distinctions between the Agile and traditional software development mindset loom large in the mindset entering retrospectives and post-mortems.