Lawrence Ludlow, Intelliware
The Quality Assurance role on an Agile team is broader; more focused on delivery and less on testing compared to the way the traditional definition of the role. On an Agile team, QA specialists take a more active role throughout the various phases of the development lifecycle, from working with customers to define requirements and acceptance tests through to obtaining user acceptance on the delivered functionality and working with the customer to implement that functionality. QA specialists play a key part in the success of the project, helping the development team go as fast as possible by acting as an interface between the team and the many customer representatives that the team must work with.
About the panelist... Lawrence Ludlow has over 10 years of experience helping Agile development teams at Intelliware deliver successful software solutions to their clients. Lawrence has been involved in all aspects of project delivery in an Agile environment, from writing development roadmaps, project plans, and proposals through to testing, managing quality assurance, and implementation. As head of Intelliware's Process and Enterprise Technology shared service, Lawrence is also responsible for helping Intelliware's teams build better software faster through cross-team collaboration and support. For the last 5 years Lawrence has run the XPToronto/Agile users group, a Toronto area interest group dedicated to promoting Agile development practices.
Declan Whelan, Whelan & Associates
Our record on software quality is dismal. Traditional thinking and waterfall models have clearly fallen short. Agile principles and practices allow us to re-focus on what matters: working software. By being customer ambassadors, clarifying what we mean by working software and working within the team to deliver it, testers have a unique opportunity to infuse quality through all project phases. The main challenge is in our heads: we need to think and act like cathedral builders rather than stone-cutters.
About the panelist...
Declan Whelan is an active software developer and agile coach. He is a professional engineer with twenty-five years of experience in the software industry supporting many types of businesses including financial, medical, educational, manufacturing, and utilities. He was co-founder and CTO for Innovasys, a start-up company that developed electronic imaging and workflow products for the financial market. He successfully transitioned the company from a start-up through to profitable venture and eventual sale. Declan is a certified Scrum Master and a member of the IEEE Computer Society, Agile Alliance, and Scrum Alliance. Declan's focus is on working in the trenches with teams to deliver better value, quality, and time-to-market through agile principles and practices.
Burke proposes that it is necessary to escape the typical Agile focus on human processes and look to real-world, automated solutions that can accelerate development by stacking the deck in favor of project success. A central component of Agile feedback is the expanded role of a Continuous Integration (CI) server to deliver broad feedback to the entire team. Real world examples do support best-practices in test-driven development (TDD). If you are contemplating adoption of Agile methodologies, an ordered approach to introducing CI as a practice for your team is critical to your success.
About the panelist... As CEO of Stelligent Incorporated, Burke Cox is a seasoned software executive with proven success building and leading high technology organizations. Burke is a nationally recognized speaker at leading software conferences. He is a frequent contributor of written and oral commentary for industry editorials on important topics facing developers and the software industry today. Burke earned a Bachelor of Computer Engineering from Auburn University and currently serves on the industry advisory board for the Auburn University Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and on the advisory board for the George Mason University College of Information Technology and Engineering.
Alistair is a passionate supporter of Extreme Programming. It is Alistair's belief that Agile software development practices have brought about substantial changes in the way that programmers view and execute the testing of their code prior to releasing it to other groups in the development life cycle. It is a change significant enough that it also requires a change equally as momentous in the relationship between programmers and testers.
About the panelist... Alistair McKinnell has been writing software since the days of punch cards. Now a software architect, Alistair has over 10 years of experience leading teams to successful delivery of complex business applications. He is a technical leader with proven ability to innovate by researching and introducing new techniques and technologies into an organization. Alistair is able to build highly motivated and successful software development teams by fostering the concept of continuous learning. An active member of the Toronto XP/Agile community, Alistair has presented at SD Best Practices, Agile 2008, and XP/Agile Toronto.
About the moderator...
Nancy Kastl, CSQA, is President of the Kaslen Group, a Chicago based IT consulting firm. She is an accomplished professional with over twenty-five years experience as a consultant, manager, facilitator, and instructor. She brings her expertise to management teams in strategic planning, measurement, quality management, software testing, process re-engineering, program management offices, and project management. She is a former VP of Quality Assurance at Harris Bank and is the founder and President of the Chicago Quality Assurance Association. Nancy is a frequent conference speaker and has served on the Purdue University's IT Advisory Committee.