I’m an Agile Test Manager:Do I really exist?A discussion and debate David Evans & Ivan Ericsson SQS Group Limited Test Management Summit London, 30th January 2008
Agenda • Who are we? • What do we think? • What do you think? • What have we concluded?
Who are we? Dave Ericsson : not a real person • Dave Ericsson • Not a real person, but a moniker in SQS to refer to us together • We think frighteningly alike on most subjects in testing • Just as well, since we jointly hold the title of “Directors of Methodology” • As consultants we have both served roles that could be called “Agile Test Manager” • Dave Evans • Software developer and tester for 20 years • Agile convert for 5 years • Prefers the term ‘Coach’ or even ‘Evangelist’ over ‘Manager’ • Ivan Ericsson • Involved in testing for 12 years • A Test Manager for 8, 1 year in agile • Test Manager as shoeshine boy
Who are you? Raise your hand. Keep it raised if… • You have heard of Agile Software Development • You have at least a reasonable sense of what it means • Your organisation has had projects that called themselves agile • Your organisation has completed projects that were really agile • You have been a Test Manager directly involved in an Agile team
Recap of Common Agile Characteristics Most Agile methods have these features in common • Iterative development • Running, tested features developed in order of business priority • Responsive to changing requirements • Many opportunities to re-prioritise and re-evaluate • ‘Travel light’ • Favour conversations over documentation and formal process • Customer (Product Owner) is part of the team • Empowered customer rep either on-site or accessible to the team, provides constant feedback on quality and priorities • Focus on delivering Business Value • Everything costs, so don’t do anything that doesn’t add value! • Test-Driven • High emphasis on testing early, testing often & testing fast • Restrospectives • The team review and improve their own processes regularly
The Agile Manifesto – What the Agile camp has declared it believes Are you left-leaning or right-leaning? Please read all of it! “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, We value the items on the left more.” www.agilemanifesto.org
Canonical Agile (Scrum) Roles Hey, where’s the Test Manager? • Customer (Product Owner) • The person responsible for defining Requirements (Product Backlog items) and prioritising items for each Iteration / Sprint. • Coach (Scrum Master) • The person whose primary role is to remove impediments blocking the team • Team of developers and testers • Collaborating to produce running, tested features. • Developers, testers and any specialists that may be needed (e.g. DBA, UI designer) • The team are all ‘pigs’, not ‘chickens’ • Although testing is very high on the agenda of all good agile projects, you will be hard pressed to find the term “Test Manager” in any book about Agile.
Test Management This is what we do. Isn’t it? • Ensure independence of testing • Ensure corporate standards are complied with • Ensure the test effort remains state-of-the-art • QA of the test effort • Manage effectiveness of the test effort • Manage efficiency of the test effort
Agile Test Management? Questioning those assumptions • Assumption: Ensure independence of testing • What is the business value of independence? • Aren’t the testers and developers representing the customer? • Is independence more valuable than shared goals, knowledge and communication? • Could the automated tests be the independent evidence? • Assumption: Ensure corporate standards are complied with • Is compliance always more valuable than improvement and innovation? • Is it more valuable than doing the right thing, right now? • Could we use standards as platforms rather than cages? • Assumption: Ensure the test effort remains state-of-the-art • How would we do this, other than by examining and improving our own process? • Does state-of-the-art testing deliver more business value?
Agile Test Management? Questioning those assumptions • Assumption: QA of the test effort • Does this need a TM, or could the quality of the test effort be measured by the customer’s level of confidence in the test coverage and satisfaction with the product? • Assumption: Manage effectiveness of the test effort • Can the customer make the decision on what is good enough? • Isn’t the team collectively responsible for the effectiveness of testing? • Assumption: Manage efficiency of the test effort • If features are estimated (for development and testing effort) and completed within short time-boxes, wont any inefficiencies be transparent? • As long as we achieve the appropriate quality levels within the team’s group estimates, does it matter how we get there?
Your Thoughts Can we reconcile these positions? • As a Test Manager, what value could you deliver to an Agile project? • Is this enough to justify your salary? • How would you position your role in a ‘classic’ agile team? • Would the whole team be satisfied with this? • What are the risks to a project of having no TM involvement? • Are there other ways to mitigate these risks?
Our Thoughts Some possible ways through… • All the activities of Test Management have a valid role, somewhere • The Test Manager needs to determine where and when • Understand when to wear different ‘hats’ as manager, coach, test expert etc. • Focussing relentlessly on business value might make us do a better job of management • Let the team be self-organising: do less man-management • Consider how your responsibilities helps the team get better at delivering value • Manage testers better by helping them do their job well • Lead by example: do what they do, at least some of the time • Understand their issues, observe their problems first-hand • Be an amplifier of information about quality to all who care • Don’t hoard or ‘own’ this information • Don’t try to ‘own’ Quality • If you do, no-one else will take responsibility for it
Thanks! • Any other questions or thoughts, feel free to contact us. David.Evans@sqs-uk.com Ivan.Ericsson@sqs-uk.com
SQS Group Limited 120 MoorgateLondon EC2M 6SSUnited Kingdom Phone: +44 (0) 2074 484620Fax: +44 (0) 2074 484651 David.Evans@sqs-uk.comIvan.Ericsson@sqs-uk.com Internet: www.sqs-uk.com