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My Musical Freedom is over now. Through the past year – most of my time I’ve spent on rehearsing, practicing, talking, dancing, acting and singing. Quite large chunk of work, I’d say, especially for newbies on a stage.

I have to admit – we made it. Probably even better that anybody expected.
I am proud of myself and all of us separately. I had this unique opportunity to sing on the stage, in front of 800 people gathered in the Theater – feeling that something big is going on. And feeling great.

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Agnieszka Franus – a girl who did fantastic visuals for our show – did this galactic piece of art with my face (twice) on it. Originally it is me singing Star People song 🙂 Impressive!

Here is me rehearsing my song –> YouTube –> you can watch the entire movie about improving yourself and the whole event done my Marcin Pławnicki – the movie is in Polish but has English subtitles 🙂

Wait a minute – but we are talking tech here, right?

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Right!

Summing up the musical – the closer we were to our premiere date – the more we’ve been rushing.
It sounds like

EVERY

IT

PROJECT…

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True.

I believe that each (Agile) project has those three phases:

  1. We have to deliver product x somewhere in the future.
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    We know our deadline – more less what to do, but think also about huge timeline in front of us.
  2. We have a month to the release date.
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    All hands or deck, saving the deadline, doing over hours, fixing tons of bugs 🙂
  3. After several patches it is finally in production. 😉
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    You can rest now.

With the musical it was pretty much the same. We’ve started form small scenes, exercises, vocal warm ups. We did a lot of those, as the premiere date was far ahead from us. We’ve been practicing for several moths, but still “had plenty of time”. We took our time to learn lyrics, scenes, prepare our roles, stenography and costumes, did it slow with no rush, some people came up to every rehearsal, some did not. We knew our deadline, but did’t feel it yet.

When the premiere’s date emerged – I’d say during a month before The Big Day – we were able to finish all the scenes, which has been half-done for months, have all decorations and costumes prepared (at least several times in a row, because our director was tend to change her mind often), learn lyrics and songs by heart, do new vocals, record them, record them again, as they were not good enough, do it all in our  rehersal place and to it all again on the real stage in the theater. We’ve spend multiple over hours, night hours, morning hours and lunch hours rehearsing in order to make us and the audience happy.

How many times were you able to spend your extra time just to make sure that your production code work as requested? Just to make sure that the release went smooth, just to make sure that there is no issue with production database, customer data or performance? We did pretty much the same with our theater performance.
I’d say we were extremely agile and I assume that every actor, singer and performer is agile as well in the IT – agile way.

We had different conditions in our rehearsal hall than in the real theater and we had to adjust really quick.

Our director demanded changes in the play all the time – it was too slow, too shy, too quiet, needed more moves, less moves, more people, less people, different entrances… We had to respond to all changes at once. Each of us in individual scenes and all together as a choir, a team.
I was stunned that it all looked like big IT project. With the same dose of chaos, energy and motivation. People with no, quite and lot of experience and skills, speaking different languages, having different habits and customs. Together with one goal. I think that every scrum master I know would be pleased taking part in it.

We had no daily meetings – so some of you would say – oh, so it’s not Agile, it’s not Scrum.
We were having just moving speeches done by hour director about what was good and what needs to be improved. I would compare it to a retro meeting – done daily 🙂

I believe that it is not the matter of IT project – this whole 3-stage approach. Maybe it is not even the matter of Agile, Waterfall or any other fancy way of work you choose. It is rather a way of how we – the people – tend to work. If you are a Tester, PO, Scrum Master or any Actor on a stage – you will be dedicated to your project if it matters to you.

When we have:

A GOAL that  is understandable for every member of project team (it may include the deadline or release date as well),

COMMON APPROACH – done in different way by different people but overall helping us act together as a team,

GOOD TEAM – they may have not equal stage of expertise in the subject – but have to be dedicated to a task

RESPONSIVE CUSTOMER, who gives instant feedback of what to improve, what to change, what doesn’t look good.

In the end – you all can rest and celebrate the success together with the customer (or your audience).

We are on a good path to achieve success. Either in a theater, movie or within an IT project.  We’re not always right but we have to keep on it.
What do you think?

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Theater is agile. Agile is a theater.

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!