Posted in agile, conferences, team, Uncategorized

Test team will help you out

Test Team

Hi Boys and Girls,

Being close to the test community at Test Warez Conference, on which I am at the moment, made me think about my team and how do we do things at New Voice Media.
I believe it is worth to spread and inspire you to introduce good practices into your test / scrum teams.

Next week I’ll provide you with wider summary of Test Warez – today I want to focus on one aspect that came to my mind yesterday during the discussion panel run by
Łukasz Pietrucha about planning your tests.

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We’ve started with lightweight talk about ISTQB’ish approach to formal documentation and planning across organisations but end up with vivid discussion and sharing good practices and personal project-related experiences (not necessarily related to panel’s subject 🙂 ). It made me think that planning your tests and organising testing in your organisations, in general, is extremely context-related. You might think that one, structured, recommended by ISTQB idea should work, but sometimes, to be honest, it is just useless.

I went back to my roots as a software tester.

One of my very first sources of knowledge about software testing in general was Polish blog.testowka.pl . It is technical, teaches you how to start with Selenium and gives updates about software testing in general – very thought through source of knowledge (For some reason I was convinced that it is run by a girl…. but never mind, just leave it 🙂 – sorry Wiktor! ).
Wiktor Żołnowski – the author – wrote a few words about himself on that blog. However, I’ve read it just a week or two ago. Wiktor wrote ‘It was ‘Agile’ – people and interactions over processes and tools. Then I’ve acknowledged that all things which I knew about testing ans so-called quality processes promoted by different organisations, had little value. Software can be crafted just better.‘ – and I consider it as a quote close to my heart. I still keep thinking about it, that’s why I decided to write today’s post.
Now, at New Voice Media, I can tell the same thing. There was always a missing part in my teams / projects/ organisations, even with their structured processes and diverse working environments, and I don’t speak about faking the agile style of work only – what I mean is – craftsmanship and team spirit (what a cliche).
It suites me better – it may not suit you at all, so don’t feel offended, Dear Reader 🙂

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As some of you probably know, at New Voice Media we – the DevOps team – work  in Scrum or Scrumban. This is the first time, where I an able to see theory in practice and it works good for the organisation. We have testers and developers in our team, but we try to widen our responsibilities to enable all team members to learn and improve their skills.

Apart from separated feature teams – we also try to gather in community of interests, Sound ‘Spotify’ish’ 🙂 Maybe. On the other hand, it helps. We try to share knowledge across teams and locations (some of us work in Poland and some in the UK) to avoid silos of knowledge

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– it means we meet, talk and help one another out. It also means, that when somebody gets sick, has some emergency or has too many tasks to do at once – other testers may (and will!) help. We use different communication tools, chatters, video conferences, Wiki spaces and so on, but first of all – WE WANT to share and WE WANT to learn. It is not the organisation, who makes us do it – it’s us who do it, because it just helps.

I am not sure if that would be an approach for entire corporation – but for small departments – maybe? Would it work in a software house? I don’t know – but at leas you may try it. I know at leas one software house, that has it’s own community of interests and it works great for them. 😉 When you feel the energy and willingness to do something – you can definitely progress at things.

You cannot build (good) your software alone these days, so it is good to have a team which would help you out. Just in case 🙂

As always, you can comment down below or stalk me on Twitter.

Cheers!

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Posted in agile, conferences

Wrocław – the meeting place

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Last week I had a chance to participate in two fantastic events in Wrocław. There is a lot going on in here. My beloved city is a fantastic spot to meet people, exchange ideas and get more involved in testers’ community.

Apart from Wrotqa – we have quite fresh meetup for testers run by DataArt company.
I had a chance to speak at that event. Great energy, warm welcoming and breathtaking view from the window:) You should definitely attend their next events.

Wrocław Agile Day

Yesterday there was an amazing event for agile-maniacs 🙂 New Voice Media organized Wrocław Agile Day. Apart from the spot and atmosphere – it was an unique opportunity to take par in workshops run by experienced agile coaches – such as Helen Lisowski or Will Jacobs.

It seems that real agility is more and more visible in software development. 🙂

I had a chance to present my new talk “Yes, you need time for bug fixes” as well. As you can see in the picture – people had a lot of fun! I’m happy about that. 🙂

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It seems that developers, testers and other IT people have similar experiences when it comes to projects and rush incorrectly called “agile”. It was fun to meet all of you and exchange ideas.

Thanks to Michał, I have this fantastic photos! Awesome 🙂

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Keynote

The keynote speaker of Wrocław Agile Day was the one and only – Rob Lambert. I wish that every newbie in public speaking had a chance to meet him in person and listen to his advises. Rob was like a shepherd – going among us and repeating “You’ll be fine“. It was a bit like live version of his “simple” guide for public speakers. 🙂

THANK YOU!

Not only was Rob mentoring us, but also delivered a keynote presentation “Releasing Agility – A journey to frequent releases“. Everyone that I spoke to afterward were impressed and excited about the talk.

All of that should be accessible on YouTube soon, so you would be able to listen to all of New Voice Media presenters.

See you all next year in Wrocław!

Cheers.

Posted in agile, scrum

I had scrum once. It was… fantastic!

National Sunglasses Day Sale

Hey People!

Why sunglasses at the beginning? It is 34 C degrees in Poland at the moment. Really hot – so sunny kisses for those of you –  who have milder weather conditions:)

Reason No 2 – it will be my last post before well deserved holidays (you can be jealous). Some major changes are coming just after the holidays, but let’s keep it in secret for now;)

Why Scrum again?

After my previous post I was asked if I had an example of nicely done retrospective meetings. Can I recommend some approaches?

I decided to leave theory and books aside for today and focus on practice. This is a unique opportunity of real-life project retrospective memoirs.

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Step one – Communication

There is no Scrum, no Agile, no retrospective when people don’t talk. How to obtain it when not working at one spot? The other day I’ve heard of great approach “Pretend you are all remote”, even if some of you is sitting next to each other.

What’s the benefit? We are all at the same page. We are able to talk with the whole team  and at the same time, no one is excluded from important sessions or decisions. From tester’s point of view it is highly valuable.

My experiences with remote work and remote retrospective meetings used to be bad, very bad, actually. When people were sitting in two or more locations – the knowledge, skills and social life were divided as well. Retrospectives were rather rare and ALSO divided. People gathered in some conference rooms, were not able to hear well, some of them were excluded. Do you have such experiences as well?

BUT

The change has come.

Unique approach

I had a chance to work in a scrum project once. The real scrum project – with a scrum master, great mindsets and whole bunch of good  Agile treats 🙂
It was not a long-term, but definitely outstanding one.

We were located in three cities, but it was not important. Development team was at the same page all the time. However, great communication and demanding tasks were not the only features that make me think of this project as of the good one – retrospective made it remarkable.

What was so unique? Does remote retrospective really work? Sure it does! All you need is approach, sense of humor and the purpose.

The meeting

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Nah, not that kind of meeting 🙂

I’m rather talking about such level of curiosity :

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First of all, meetings were recurrent – same day, same time each sprint.
As I wrote before, the need of ritual is essential when talking about retrospective. Next – it was fun!

The scrum master took us by surprise each time. He provided awesome and delicious boards (online boards, of course), on which EACH OF US were welcome to “stick” their notes.

It was virtual – but it worked perfectly well. Going this direction, we had:
doughnuts retrospective, candy retrospective, pink fairy retrospective and so on…

Some of us complained that it is not “serious”, “somebody bought Creative Retrospectives book” or so. We played each time a bit like kids, but at the end of the day everyone benefit from it.

I also would like to highlight, that the funny form and elements of joy were not that important as the method, that made everyone speak and look for both:

  • fields for improvements
  • good things to honor.

Examples

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How were we able to obtain that? By ‘talking’ or ‘thinking’ for somebody else. What do I mean by that?

Let’s try to rephrase a standard question:

What you are particularly proud of after this sprint?

or

What was not correct in this sprint?

INTO

What a person, who sits on your right thinks about it?
What he is proud of?
What did he achieved?
What was his blocker?

This little magic trick enables your mind to completely different behavior. It helps you to become a team, to acknowledge someone else’s needs and before the next meeting – you’ll ask first:)

As i said, each time we had surprise. Games were different, surrounding was different, but eventually it made a team – and this is all about in Agile, isn’t it?

Catch me on Twitter, I’ll keep you posted (and make you angry) from sunny beach 🙂 Cheers!