Jim York, Software FoxHedge, Ltd.

One-Day Class: Attaining Agile Proficiency

Monday, April 15, 2013: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM



Agile is big. Not only is agile the “in” thing, there’s an abundance of methods, techniques, and practices, all claiming to be agile. As a tester, if you want to attain proficiency in agile, what should you do next? The journey to agile expertise can take many paths. How do you decide which path is the right one? Well, it depends on where you want to end up. For each stage of the journey, knowing where you want to arrive next is key to success. Your organization, project, or manager’s goals can serve as a compass to guide your steps. This class takes participants through 4 stages of agile proficiency, how these stages align with specific goals, and how these goals provide direction for skill development.

Course Objectives

This class is for testers who are assigned to or are working with an agile team. How does what you do fit within the context of the agile team? How do your testing skills, experience, and knowledge apply to an agile workflow? Within the various agile techniques and practices, how should you adapt your work so that you can help the organization achieve its goals?

Attendees will learn:

  • 4 stages of agile proficiency
  • How agile proficiency aligns with strategic goals
  • How goals inform the use of agile practices
  • How to apply agile testing skills to help the organization achieve its goals by attaining proficiency in agile

Course Outline

  • What is agile anyway?
    A quick introduction or review of agile, its origins, and why it’s the “in” thing.
  • What is proficiency?
    An examination of the meaning of proficiency and why it matters in being successful with agile.
  • 4 stages of proficiency
    Exploring the implications of agile on strategy and outcome at different stages of proficiency.
  • Aligning agile practice with Strategy
    How to match tactics and execution with strategic goals.
  • Applying what we’ve learned
    Team-based activity to build a plan for action for attendees to take back to their organization.

Angela Dugan, Polaris Solutions

Half-Day Tutorial: How to Be an Awesome Agile Team Member

Tuesday, April 16, 2013: 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM


On an agile team, everyone is considered a software developer. Not everyone writes code, but everyone who contributes to the delivery of shippable product is called, and is indeed, a “software developer.” This workshop will walk you through some of the common activities that occur on agile teams to help you to foster an effective environment for delivering quality software quickly. You will experience the roles of various agile team members, participate in a daily stand-up, prioritize and groom a product backlog, and discuss the artifacts and deliverables often attributed to agile and Scrum processes. Join us for this interactive tutorial to learn even more about participating on an agile team and becoming an awesome agile software developer!

  • Discuss how agile practices materialize within real-world software development teams
  • Experience some of the activities necessary to being a member of an agile team
  • Understand the artifacts and deliverables of an agile team

Linda Westfall, The Westfall Team

Half-Day Tutorial: Risk-Based Peer Reviews

Tuesday, April 16, 2013: 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM


Testers should be actively participating in peer reviews, bringing diversity of purpose to the team. While everyone else focuses on making the software work, testers bring a “how can I break it” focus that identifies additional defects, improving review effectiveness. Testers are also just as likely to make mistakes as developers. Test work products including test plans, cases, procedures and automation should also be peer reviewed. This minimizes wasted time debugging reported anomalies whose root cause is defects in the testing work products and not in the software. This tutorial is intended to teach skills that increase peer review effectiveness. You will explore the decisions needed to be made in the peer review process including the type of peer review to apply, the level of formality required, the number of participants, and peer review sufficiency.

  • Learn skills to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of peer review processes
  • Discover how to use criteria for analyzing risk probability and impact indicators when making strategic peer review decisions
  • Explore the differences between peer review types and formalities

Angela Dugan, Polaris Solutions

Presentation: Agile Testing in a Waterfall World

Wednesday, April 17, 2013: 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM


Everybody seems to be talking about agile these days, but most companies are still using a waterfall based methodology. Often, the team delivering the code uses a different process than the team responsible for software quality. In this presentation, Angela will discuss which agile tenets are worth incorporating into your daily testing activities in this situation and the impacts, both positive and negative, that you should expect. You will learn tips and tricks for introducing agile concepts into a waterfall environment slowly and successfully; methods that incorporate not just application lifecycle management tools, but a look at strategies for process improvement and in some cases good, old-fashioned psychology. Join Angela to find that low hanging fruit you can address quickly to become more agile, understand how to recognize and mitigate common pitfalls, and learn tools and techniques for managing an agile-under-waterfall testing effort.

Megan Sumrell, Mosaic ATM

Presentation: Writing Testable User Stories and Acceptance Criteria

Wednesday, April 17, 2013: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Switching from traditional requirements to user stories can be a challenging transition. Teams often struggle with writing effective user stories and corresponding acceptance criteria. In this talk, Megan will take a deep dive into writing user stories and their acceptance criteria. She will cover topics including the INVEST model, where user stories and acceptance criteria fit into agile teams, and different ways to express acceptance criteria. Join Megan and leave with tips and strategies to take back to your teams to improve the testability of your user stories.

Jim York, Software FoxHedge, Ltd.

Workshop: Little ‘a’ Versus Big ‘A’ Agile

Wednesday, April 17, 2013: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Workshop Leader:

There is quite a bit of “not quite there” or even “not getting anywhere” agile going on. Sometimes organizations start out on the right foot, but quickly get mired in the process of integrating new practices with their existing processes. Stuck in Agilefall, ScrumBut, or FrAgile, they are not getting the results they expected from their agile adoptions. Agile is not about implementing new practices. Rather, it is a new way of thinking and a new way of being. The point is not to “do” agile, but rather to “be” agile. This workshop examines the potential and perils of agile practices, looking beyond the rule or the technique to the changes in thinking and behavior the practice promotes. Focusing on the intent behind the practice, this session establishes a foundation for aligning practice with purpose.

  • Learn the essential success criteria for agile adoption
  • Explore the potentials and pitfalls of agile practices
  • Understand the technique for aligning practice with purpose

Deepika Mamnani, Hexaware Technologies

Presentation: Agile Testing Innovations in a Distributed World

Wednesday, April 17, 2013: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Increased transparency and the need to drive quantitative business outcomes with a “right the first time” expectation brings a major change to the way we deliver software services. These are key drivers for the transition to agile methodologies. This transition demands a paradigm shift in testing and necessitates nimble processes to be coupled with right tools and technology. Barry Boehm’s principle of “using better and fewer people,” is central to an agile process which requires re-skilling the testing organization. Added to this is the issue of distributed teams, a given in today’s environment. To aid this transition, a best practice is to build innovations and deliver testing services with pre-built assets and out of the box solutions. In this session, you will learn first-hand the critical factors in transitioning to agile methodologies. Deepika will highlight real world experience in agile testing along with assets on various platforms to aid global delivery in a distributed environment.

Paul Shovlin, Checkpoint Technologies

Presentation: Criticality Analysis & Risk Assessment: Determining High Risk Requirements

Thursday, April 18, 2013: 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM


Everyone knows what risk-based testing is, but how do you decide which requirements are high risk and when? This determination should not be made by testers alone. Come to Paul’s presentation and see a proven risk assessment method that is used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The CARA process is used to highlight notable risk requirements for the project team during the planning phase. Determining the risk up front helps project managers and developers focus on high risk areas. It also functions to determine the level of testing/quality services required. Join Paul as he walks you through the CARA process, explaining how requirement risk is calculated in an objective manner across standard probability and impact categories. You will learn which documents and what project information is required during the planning phase to perform the risk assessment and leave with the knowledge to integrate the CARA process into your next project.

Raf Los, HP Software and Solutions

Presentation: DevOps: Releasing at High Velocity without Forgetting Security

Thursday, April 18, 2013: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


When you think about DevOps, you think about velocity. However, the need for speed doesn’t often come with the ability to fully test all aspects of the application, from function, to performance, to security. Or, does it? Surely even in DevOps, speed and testing can work together and complete quality coverage can occur. The key is collaboration and the enablement of a cycle of continuous build verification testing that allows functional, performance, and security testing to be baked into the DevOps process. To put this strategy into practice, you will need to develop an automation suite that reflects the triangle of testing. And, you will particularly need to ensure that your teams understand the different layers of security testing. Join Genefa to learn how to make this work in your organization.

Eric Landes, AgileThought

Workshop: Exploring the Testing Queue: Integrating Testing Techniques into Kanban

Thursday, April 18, 2013: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Workshop Leader:

There are many agile methods that can be used to help your development team deliver value. One of the latest is called Kanban, from the Lean manufacturing movement. In this workshop, Eric will lead you through using agile and traditional testing techniques in a Kanban process. You will learn how to create a Kanban board for different teams and situations and how visualizing constraints can help testers and developers deliver finished work faster. Eric will explain why using Kanban to track testing is different than a testing strategy using Scrum or other iterative processes. Learn why a team would use Kanban for their methodology and how the structures within a Kanban board can help testers to continuously improve their craft. You will apply these lessons to a practical Kanban testing solution during this workshop.

  • Understand the Kanban process
  • Learn how to develop a Kanban board for a variety of situations
  • Practice using a Kanban testing solution

Shaun Bradshaw, Zenergy Technologies

Presentation: QA Process Implementation on Large Scale Projects

Thursday, April 18, 2013: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Working on a large, complex project over a year in duration and made up of over 100 resources, requires special considerations when developing overall QA strategies and test plans. This presentation provides attendees with insights based on a $70 million PeopleSoft implementation with additional components including business intelligence reporting and a data integration hub. Tasked with third party validation through managing the test effort for the project, Shaun Bradshaw acted as QA Architect to provide the test strategy and planning for the implementation vendor’s customization and development efforts. Shaun will discuss the real-world experience he gained including how to prepare, communicate, and manage the QA effort for such a complex project. He also shares the obstacles and challenges he and his team had to overcome to deliver as smooth an implementation and go-live as possible.

Ashish Kuthiala, Electric Cloud

Presentation: Harnessing the Cloud for On-Demand Software Testing

Friday, April 19, 2013: 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM


Agile testing starts with the developer. And, as coding progresses, the developer builds up an increasingly large set of unit tests. Best practice suggests that all these tests should be run in their entirety. Additionally, some progressive build and DevOps managers encourage developers to run tests more often, even continuously. These tests serve as early warning mechanisms of unexpected repercussions stemming from a code change. By using continuous testing (CT), the developer can be alerted to specific problems as early as possible. Increasing the amount of testing across the whole software cycle, though, increases the challenges of provisioning appropriate test compute resources continuously. However, the advent of cloud and virtual computing enables organizations to address this challenge in a practical manner. This presentation will discuss the challenges and benefits of implementing a CT practice throughout a large enterprise and how to leverage on-demand compute infrastructure.

Coming soon!

Presentation: Shaping the Future of Testing Tools: Escaping the 1990’s!

Friday, April 19, 2013: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


The testing tools marketplace is flooded with products that address very specific parts of the quality management lifecycle. Many of these tools have been around, in one form or another, for the best part of 20 years. As a result, they are inflexible and, quite frankly, do not apply to today’s way of working. Others are more recent innovations, typically open-source and, on the surface, shiny and new. However, once we get past the shiny wrapper, they tend emulate their significantly older relatives. As such, the currently available support infrastructure tends not to deliver benefits, only overhead. In this session you will explore how the current tool sets limit our agility in an ever-changing environment. Tim will introduce some alternative approaches that could allow flexibility in our way of working and, most importantly, our way of thinking. Join Tim to discover what you should be demanding from the tools industry and why.

Stephanie Chace, Meridian Technologies

Workshop: Selling an Investment in Quality

Friday, April 19, 2013: 2:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Workshop Leader:

Most process improvement efforts fail to produce the desired results or achieve any lasting benefit. And so, in the current climate of cost cutting initiatives, it has become increasingly difficult to convince budget conscious executives to invest in quality improvements. Despite this challenging reality, on-going improvement is necessary for organizations to remain competitive. To help testers be ready to successfully overcome this challenge, this practical workshop defines a framework for establishing a business case for investing in improvements to quality and test related practice. The framework goes beyond ROI and helps testers understand how to quantify the value derived from quality investments in terms that business leadership finds compelling. Stephanie will show you how the framework can be leveraged strategically to drive incremental improvements, establish near term wins, and help build momentum for a quality minded culture. Join Stephanie and receive the keys to selling, and ultimately implementing, all the great quality improvement techniques you’ve learned during this conference.

  • Communicate the impact of poor quality in terms of quantifiable cost and cost avoidance
  • Explore different types of quality investments and how they can be translated into business value
  • Learn to assess potential investments to determine which will provide the greatest value