The following PNSQC 2008 full-day workshops were held on Monday, October 13, 2008.
Tamara Sulaiman & Hubert Smits
In our work, we often encounter questions about the amount and quality of planning in Agile projects. “What about planning?” “Does being Agile mean we don’t plan?”
This workshop will not only answer those questions, it will also teach you how to plan in Agile projects. We will do this by focusing on the levels of agile planning recommended for large product development efforts using Scrum. Following the planning structure for large, scaled projects, we will hold hands-on exercises following the development of a single product through the levels of Product Visioning, Product Road-mapping, Release Planning, Sprint planning, the daily Scrum and the Scrum of Scrums.
The structure of the session follows the planning structure for large agile projects. Each level will involve explanation, discussion, and hands-on exercises. We begin with a brief overview of the Scrum framework and the levels of planning involved. Then the audience splits into groups of 5-10 people, which will stay together as a team during the remainder of the workshop. Each team will have participants play the roles of Product Owner, ScrumMaster and Delivery Team member at different parts of the session. The team’s first task is to develop a vision for a new product within given parameters. They will be given different techniques to do this (through an elevator statement, a product box, or a metaphor). The next steps are to develop a product roadmap, the sequence in which the product will be delivered, and then hold a story writing session where each group develops a backlog of product features.
The workshop continues with release planning using the integrated product backlog developed in the morning session. From there we will hold a joint sprint planning session, decomposing the most important stories into tasks and estimating those tasks. The last part of the workshop will be based on the Scrum stand-up meeting, and the aggregated version of it, the Scrum of Scrums.
Tamara Sulaiman is Managing Consultant at AppliedScrum where she is focused on coaching teams and organizations transitioning to Agile software development. Tamara brings over 20 years of experience in management across a spectrum of industries including: information technology, construction, international development, and education to her consulting expertise. She is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and Project Management Professional (PMP). Since 2003, Tamara has assisted teams in transitioning to agile methods both as a hands-on ScrumMaster and as an Agile Coach and Scrum trainer. As an educator and coach, she brings her wide ranging professional expertise to training and mentoring teams new to Agile and the Scrum framework. As a Managing Consultant, Trainer, Coach, ScrumMaster, and Project Manager, she focuses on coaching teams to effectively provide value to key stakeholders and customers through the frequent delivery of software.
Hubert Smits is a coach for Rally Software Development. Based in Boulder, Colorado he travels around to globe to introduce and guide software development teams on their trail towards agility. He works mainly with international organizations, guiding management teams in the creation of rollout plans for their agile initiatives, and coaching them in the inspect-and-adapt process during the implementation process. He trains delivery teams, project managers, product management teams and support teams, and facilitates their endeavors in planning projects, releases, and iterations and reviews the results with them in their demo/retrospective meetings, enabling change in the respective teams. Hubert’s home is Scrum – he is a Scrum Trainer and enjoys applying the framework to new challenges.
Karen N. Johnson
Understanding the relational data model behind an application enables testers to design additional tests and gain a deeper understanding of the application they are testing. This class is an introduction to relational databases and SQL. The workshop is designed for software testers and test leads to gain an understanding of relational data models and data types. Students will learn the fundamentals of writing structured queries and learn how to navigate through a data schema. SQL knowledge helps both manual and automated testers. This class is not designed specifically for any relational database. This class will discuss several of the most common databases including MySQL, Oracle, Sybase, and Microsoft SQL Server. Workshop attendees will need to bring a lap top computer to class.
Karen N. Johnson is a software-testing consultant in Chicago, Illinois. Karen views software testing as an intellectual challenge and believes in the context-driven school of testing. She has extensive experience in software testing and test management. Karen frequently speaks at software testing conferences. She has presented at STPCon, CAST, PNSQC, StarEast, and StarWest. She’s also presented at several local quality group meetings such as IQAA, CQAA, and NOSQAA. She publishes articles on software testing and has been published in Better Software, InformIT and StickyMinds.com. Karen is an executive board member for the Association for Software Testing (AST), and the program co-chair for CAST 2008, the Conference for the Association for Software Testing. Karen is a hosted software-testing expert on Tech Target’s website, searchsoftwarequality.com.
Testers and developers, who have come from a traditional software development background, often have no collaborative skills necessary to work with each other. They can work within their functional team but no one has shown them how to work with the other teams. Common vocabulary is a powerful tool to give to teams to start the interaction necessary for great collaboration efforts.
Explore ways to collaborate using Brian Marick’s testing quadrant as a base for the vocabulary. The quadrant can serve as a mechanism to start discussions and encourage collaboration within the project team as well as with teams or customers that may external to the project. The four quadrants describe different reasons why we test. They are:
1. Technology facing tests that support programming.
2. Business facing tests that support programming.
3. Business facing tests that critique the product.
4. Technology facing tests that critique the product.
In this workshop, we will examine different ways to interact with each other to get the best information possible. For example, to support programming, we will study how testers can help define story tests using examples for story development. The interaction between customer, tester, and developer is critical to getting the right information.
The workshop will use hands-on experience, role playing, examples, group exercises, discussion, and personal experiences to help the participants learn interaction techniques to help your team develop a great test experience.
Janet Gregory is a Calgary-based consultant specializing building quality systems and her passion is promoting agile quality processes. She has helped to introduce development agile practices into companies as tester or coach, and has successfully transitioned traditional test teams into the agile world. Her focus is working the business users and testers to understand their role in agile projects.
She is currently writing a book on agile testing with Lisa Crispin due out early 2009. Janet has presented at the Agile and StarWest conference several times and is active in the Agile Testing community.
If a project team is working on the wrong problem, the best solution in the world will not satisfy their customer. How can you help a project team zero on the right problem? You cannot do it by yourself. You will need help. You will need to gather the right people. In addition, you will need to help them work together effectively.
This workshop will introduce participants to a three-step method for facilitating stakeholders to zero in on the right problems. Learn how you can help groups distinguish between problems that must be solved and those that could be solved. Practice facilitating during the workshop so that when you return to your organization, you can put these methods to use.
Steven M. Smith is a management consultant who helps managers make effective decisions about satisfying customers, managing change, and strengthening teamwork. With more than three decades of experience as a thought leader in technical organizations, he shares his know-how through his writing, consulting, and workshops. He is a founder and host of the annual Amplifying Your Effectiveness (AYE) Conference, at which he leads experiential workshops.