To scale even agile needs governance

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Key takeaways from [ "Why Agile doesn't scale, and what you can do about it" | Dan north (@tastapod) | GOTO Aarhus 2013 ] If you want the full version see his full slide deck here.

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Being agile is about getting something out the door – it’s very good in doing SHIP IT - Tweak it – think it build it. Wax on – wax off. Being agile is about people and tools  and is a great approach for problems that allows to be solved with these borders.

The challenge is in the more complex  domains with a bigger solution, a bigger problem, a bigger program with many people, many dependencies, many teams. In these (NP?) problem domains other factors come into play: Governance, Customers, Money and the organization as a whole (see slides regarding Agile Adoption Patterns).

In the later contexts agile as a delivery model doesn’t scale without project governance and portfolio management to oversee and prioritize based on strategic returns on investment. Shipping any minimum viable product from time to time in a larger context requires more oversight on “are we nearly there?” “are we ensuring delivery?” “are we ensuring credibility?” .. are the many global teams going agile in each their direction?

The same goes for the testing efforts – agile scales to a certain point, and at that point the scrums, the state-models and so on are a part of the solution engine. It’s what’s tests something, but with size comes the need to know why we make the decisions we make – and  are we there yet?

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Disclaimer: GOTO Aarhus 2013 is sponsoring my attendance as a blogger.

On applying a single method

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Simon Wardley, Leading Edge ForumOh not again - should we be an agile or six sigma shop? ]

First, every system of any reasonable scale consists of multiple components. Those components are all evolving (due to the effects of competition) and you can (and should) map out the components of any system before embarking on trying to build it. Below in figure 1 is a basic map from a heavy engineering project with a large IT component

Now, all the components are evolving from left to right and as they do so their characteristics change – they move from an uncharted space (the novel, the chaotic, unpredictable, uncertain, potential differential) to the more industrialised (the common, appearance of linear order, the predictable, the certain, the cost of doing business). 

The same thing with your testing – that is: If you dare to take a holistic approach and not only focus on the mechanics. See also:  Mapping testing Competencies , Learn to think like a businessWhen do testing happen? 3D model for testing contexts Black or white – it is the same box

Are you looking too hard

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When you are looking for the blue brick – stop and look for the red one – and the blue turns up.

When you are fighting – stop and look – are you going to win the war, but lose the piece

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When it smells fishy, there is something fishy going on

More than carrots and sticks

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motivation

There is more to motivation than carrots and sticks – or in the case of the image above: Gold and rotten potatoes.

  • The poor farmer above had his potato harvest fail, and he had to move driven by fear, hunger, despair - at being targeted for outplacement…. as modern management speak would label depleted human resources.
  • The wise guy with the pickaxe is out for the rewards of the gold. Out for the cheat and greed of the quick fix. He though fails to deliver in the long run. His balanced score card is loaded for the current budget – containing only my, myself and I.
  • Lady Liberty in the back as a symbol of opportunities and unknown rewards. A New Hope. I doubt that many immigrants of the days ever visited the monument in the turmoil – it remained only a beacon…

 So what has this got to do about testing? 

Motivating people is very much about leading testers. But the three “personas” above might also inspire in thinking about things to test:

- Where are the burning platforms?

- Where are the quick rewards?

- Where are the long-term rewards?

If you are not Alan Page – go see RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Reframing the five levels of know-how

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Have you heard about snow plow testing yet?

Have you googled it?

What did you do with the search results?

[ Recognise and Acknowledge Your Skills  | Ministry Of Testing - The Testing Planet | June 2013]

This 5 level rating of skills is nothing new, and perhaps you use a rating with more or less steps in your context. Perhaps it’s very detailed, with very discrete steps – or perhaps it’s just a guideline, a floating value between “a little” and “a lot”.

  Google level  Snow plow testing
Level 0 – No knowledge I’ll haven’t searched it Never heard of it
Level 1 – Mentee I searched – and read the results page Heard of it, can do with help
Level 2 – Independent I read the linked material Can do without help
Level 3 – Mentor I wrote the material being found Can teach others
Level 4 – Mastery I search for new practices Focus on contexts

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Stakeholders

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Motivated by LEGO, Pasta with ketchup, DR Ramasjang Rally - as other boys

Pelle og Simon 2013

Yet with autism (both, as in official  ICD-10 and DSM-IV). They could have been placed on a side track. They could be educated and trained to know that structure and predictability is the known world. But they are too curious, communicative and smart…. #methinks :)

We (ABA) train them to be able to deal with change, unpredictability and the benefits of both direct and intrinsic motivationBecause they benefit from it and it helps them being accepted and included.

Related: DK om at udsætte sine behov,  Weekend formulaThat’s what friends are forThe 860 kcal bug, will work for LEGOThe yardstick of mythical normality acceptance is more than can be measured 

Mapping testing Competencies

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[ Recognise and Acknowledge Your Skills  | Ministry Of Testing - The Testing Planet | June 2013]

The below model is directly inspired by the Vancouver Agile Quadrant introduced in “Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams” by Crispin and Gregory 2009 based on the original matrix from Brian Marick in 2003. It consists of four primary branches – as seen on the illustration. It is not a matrix or a table, but four directions with each their cloud of buzzwords. For specific contexts a mind-map will be a better choice of illustration – try drawing your own competencies.

 

Tester Skills Matrix

Tester Skills Matrix

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