Monday, August 1, 2016

Modern Agile Testing

My most valuable takeaway from Agile2016 conference are my thoughts and feelings about the Wednesday keynote. Joshua Kerievsky presented the keynote on Modern Agile, and enjoyed his framing of brushed up principles.

The differences of emphasis on the principles of modern agile and agile as set with 2001 principles is subtle, yet relevant. And they make me think a lot about reframing some of my ideas for Modern Agile Testing.

There's four values:

  • Make people awesome
  • Make safety a prerequisite
  • Experiment and learn rapidly
  • Deliver value continuously
Make people awesome is a great framing for thinking about quality. What kind of experience with the products we create would make the user awesome? What kind of experience with creating the software would make us makers/menders awesome? What would be a little more awesome than where we are today?

Make safety a prerequisite touches me most. If we are afraid, we won't learn. And since agile, many testers have really been regularly unsafe. I've blogged about how hard it feels to be always against the  ideas that the experiences I as a tester have acquired over 20 years would no longer have value without personal commitment to automation. My personal commitment is to being better every day. Automation may play a role. In particular, it plays a role for me to collaborate better with my developer colleagues in creation of automation. If we are not safe, we can't be productive. But the principle is not just about the makers/menders being safe, but all the users of our software being safe. This is the "make world a better place, by default" principle. 

Experiment and learn rapidly is core to what testers do. We identify illusions that need to be broken, empirical evidence over speculation. Learn to learn in layers, and co-create better ways of learning. Everyone should learn about designing experiments. There's a need for the constructively critical eye, that asks if we really know what we think we know, and drives forward ideas of experimenting. 

Deliver value continuously is to say we work in small batches. Batches of value to someone. Going forward. And with each delivery, we keep safety as a prerequisite, and make people just a little more awesome. Identifying small and safe pieces takes often a focus testers have and can share. 

Joshua's talk is well worth watching when it becomes available.