The software industry is still quite young, yet as it matures, we’ve seen many development trends, technologies and tools come and go. As you know, one methodology that has become popular of late is Agile. We all know it as an adjective, we all desire to be agile. Who wants to be slow and clumsy? Those that gathered and put together the Agile Manifesto certainly chose a good name for “it”, whatever “IT” is. That’s the subject of this article, the definition of Agile or what is Agile? Agile is capitalized from here on, because we all know we’re talking about the noun, as a development methodology, rather than the adjective.
We've given many workshops and webinars on Agile Metrics and how to connect your agile objectives to measure and improve the agile process. In Rex Black's talk on "Stupid Metrics Tricks" in 2016 at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference, he discussed some of the ways people manipulate and use metrics for their own personal gain, how to that, and how to use them in a productive way. The important thing to remember is that when developing your agile objectives, velocity can be one objective but needs to be balanced with others. And we all need to recognize that...
As software engineers and testers, we are so deep into the “Agile” transformation movement, that we often forget that Agile is also an adjective. Habit #7 is understanding that you must always maintain a "long term view" on your goals and efforts to implement Agile effectively.
As software engineers and testers, we are so deep into the “Agile” transformation movement, that we often forget that Agile is also an adjective. Habit #6 is understanding that you must always maintain "focus on the customer" to implement Agile effectively.
7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile What do we do – or not do – in order to effectively implement Agile in an organization? In this White Paper, we draw on 10 years of experience in working with our clients in Agile implementation and boil down the common factors that either lead to success or failure. We detail seven good habits that you should follow in order to successfully implement Agile. Many of these habits you already know, like having a solid definition of “done,” but you might not realize that some of your practices are not only hurting [...]
As software engineers and testers, we are so deep into this “Agile” transformation movement, but often forget that Agile is also an adjective. Habit #4 is understanding that you must change parts of your "being" to implement Agile effectively.
Agile is everywhere. Software development companies can’t seem to live without it – no Scrum, no glory. But Scrum as an agile implementation is no recipe for a guaranteed success: it may even be the opposite. While it´s tempting to go Agile “all the way”, you might want to think twice before doing so and ask yourself what is it you want to achieve through applying it. In this webinar, catch up with Heidi Araya, our guest speaker, who will discuss agile virtual team challenges and how to alleviate some of the inconveniences of working in an agile remote environment.
As software engineers and testers, we are so deep into this “Agile” transformation movement, but often forget that Agile is also an adjective. Habit #4 is understanding that you must change parts of your "being" to implement Agile effectively.
At the beginning of August, Our CEO Philip Lew spoke at the Softec Asia 2017 conference in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. With the theme "Testing As A Service," speakers tackled the topic with knowledge in all aspects of improving software quality. Here is a visual look at what some of the speakers focused on in their presentations.
In this post, we’ll cover Habit #3: Sustain an Improvement Frame of Mind. At XBOSoft, we use these 7 “habits” to guide our everyday work. They’re all important, but I think Habit #3 is all encompassing of the others.The key word here is “maintain.” One of the key tenets of agile is sustainability. If you can’t sustain an effort with a constant pace, then you’ll soon fall behind and lose the race. And what better way to understand your pace than metrics?
In this video, XBOSoft's CEO, Phil Lew, explains a key agile testing tip, Habit #2 of 7, and summarizes points made in our blog post, as well as his recent keynote at TestIstanbul 2017. In treating the user as royalty, you really need to focus on getting user stories right, prioritizing all your activities around the end user, and understanding the end user deeply in their own context. Don't forget, they are why you exist. For more in the series, check out Habit #1 too.
Treating the end software user as royalty is a critical factor for best software testing results during agile development.
Cognitive biases such as inattentional blindness and anchoring can cause testers to make missteps during the testing process that can have disastrous effects.
June 4th to 9th, 2017XBOSoft CEO Philip Lew to Make Three Software Testing Presentations at Better Software West in Las Vegas
XBOSoft CEO Philip Lew will be a triple threat presenter at Techwell's Better Software West. He will present a tutorial and an interactive speech on issues involved with mobile platform and product testing and will co-present a workshop on Agile Risk Management.
Elvis. Celine Dion. Cher. Penn & Teller. These legends have all appeared on The Las Vegas Strip. And soon, our own XBOSoft CEO Phil Lew joins them when he presenters at Better Software West at Caesars Palace, June 4th through 9th.
I read Stephen Covey’s famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when it first came out in 1989, almost 30 years ago. I was just starting my career then and was able to apply many of the principles to not just my work life, but life in general. When I was invited to give the closing keynote at TestIstanbul, in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 25, I knew giving a tailored version of my 7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testers talk would work well for this audience.
Philip Lew delivers a keynote address in Istanbul on his agile software testing process. Will Turkey be the next wellspring of quality assurance innovation? Istanbul is home to TestIstanbul, an international tech conference that focuses on quality assurance and testing. TestInstanbul attracts entrepreneurs and engineers from around the world to share what they have learned about agile software testing practices. Philip Lew, XBOSoft founder and CEO, delivered the closing keynote presentation for the 2017 conference. A packed audience heard Lew’s signature speech: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Agile Testing.” Lew has been influenced in his career and [...]
As Phil Lew told his TestIstanbul audience, “These seven habits have evolved over the years through working with clients that had software quality issues after implementing agile development. Some people think agile development will solve all their problems." He stresses, "Well, it can solve some, but if poorly implemented, it can cause many others. I’ve been able to boil it down to these 7 habits as a way to continually ‘sharpen the saw’ and root out problems one by one.”
Jon Hagar, who will be the guest on our upcoming April 3 webinar, has dedicated his career to improving software testing methods and standards. After a long and successful career at aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, he founded Grand Software Testing, which he runs today. As a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Hagar works to develop standards for testing and generally to enhance the profession. Hagar will be discussing the challenges presented to developers and software testers by the Mobile IoT era. Our CEO, Philip Lew, will be asking Hagar about those challenges and what solutions [...]
San Francisco, CA (PRWeb) March 21, 2017--With agile software development the dominant industry process, testing is under increased pressure to keep up with agile's pace. In the rush to meet accelerated release dates, testing and the entire concept of quality assurance is often not prioritized. That's changing as software quality experts who focus on the agile testing process are establishing best practices for agile testing. Several such professionals will discuss trends and best practices in agile testing in a one-hour webinar March 27. Hosted by the nonprofit community Coaching Agile Journeys, the webinar will feature Philip Lew, CEO and founder [...]
Software Should be Made for Humans
I attended Cornell Silicon Valley 2017, #CSV17, in early March. I’m a graduate of Cornell, and have found all of the Cornell events I have attended beneficial. This year’s conference was no exception. It featured presentations on various types of software innovation, some designed to plumb our humanity, others designed to replace it. The event never fails to rejuvenate me, inspiring new ideas and fresh thinking.
I listened closely to the keynote speech on reverse-engineering the brain for intelligent machines and thought the most important takeaway was that current algorithms are very fragile, not adaptive. Yes, we have gone beyond the first stage of artificial intelligence. But for truly adaptive and learning algorithms, we have a long road ahead. Applying this to our field of software engineering and, in particular, software quality and testing, I get a clearer picture of what’s ahead for software testing. We will see test cases that adapt and change, applying testing algorithms rather than specific test cases. Just as there will be software innovations in development, they will occur in quality assurance as well.
Yes, we have gone beyond the first stage of artificial intelligence. But for truly adaptive and learning algorithms, we have a long road ahead.
Philip Lew, XBOSoft founder and CEO, will participate in two webinars on consecutive Mondays as March morphs into April. You will want to save the dates of March 27 and April 3 if you are interested in learning more about the challenges of Agile testing, as well as testing in the mobile IoT era. Lew will be guest speaker for an hour-long webinar March 27 hosted by Coaching Agile Journeys. Lew will share his insights into Agile testing in the trenches. In this talk, he will cover agile testing issues such as test plans and cases. You will learn where [...]
HBO has already ordered a second season of Westworld, the space Western Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy premiered for HBO last fall. We’ll have to wait until 2018 to see new episodes, though. Luckily, Westworld gave us a lot to think about in the meanwhile — especially when it comes to good software development practices. via GIPHY
A new age is upon us: the Mobile IoT Period. Driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, and in particular the smartphone, we now face a complex and integrated infrastructure of technologies and concepts called the Internet of Things (IoT), all connected by mobile technology. The challenges we face to ensuring software quality for the myriad technologies that are being shaped by the Mobile IoT Period are daunting. Let’s take a look at the Top 7 Challenges in the Mobile IoT Period. Big Data Big data would not be possible without mobile network technologies to get the data from one [...]
Five years ago, Mobile MedSoft turned to XBOSoft to manage its healthcare software quality control. Since the partnership formed, the two companies have developed a deep and highly effective relationship that, says Mobile MedSoft President and CEO Duke Yetter, has resulted in better end products for the company’s long-term care pharmacy customers.
Did you watch the Super Bowl? There was an 84 Lumber commercial showing a mother and daughter risking their lives trying to get to the United States from Mexico. Showing the long and arduous journey through the desert, only to face a giant wall separating them from America.Particularly poignant after what the now-president said about Mexican immigrants while campaigning, the ad was purposeful in showing one type of extremely arduous immigrant experience. It was gut-wrenching in a way that made you want to see what happens next to the mother and daughter, which drove traffic to the 84 Lumber site where the rest of the video could be seen. The only problem is that they didn’t predict they would be so successful and all the incoming traffic crashed their site.
QA expert and author Johanna Rothman asks in a recent article whether managers in agile testing should "scale" agile to help multiple teams deliver products. Her answer: an emphatic "No." Why?
"Scaling process leads to bloat. Instead of scaling process, scale collaboration."
XBOSoft's Ed Curran explores best practices for JMeter Testing and Google Analytics
This XBOSoft webinar, “Load Performance Testing with JMeter,” covers how to utilize JMeter to be able to test a heavy load’s strength or to analyze overall performance under different load types. Featuring XBOSoft VP of Engineering Ed Curran, the webinar goes in-depth on using this excellent testing option, a load testing tool used to analyze and measure the performance of web applications. View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >
Your site or web app may be running smoothly now, but do you know when it will run out of capacity? Instead of waiting to find out, there is a proactive way to find and address it before it impacts your customers.
The upcoming Tuesday, Jan. 17 XBOSoft webinar “Load Performance Testing with JMeter” at 8-9 AM PT covers how to utilize JMeter to be able to test a heavy load’s strength or to analyze overall performance under different load types.
October 20, 2016
Agile Storytelling: Discover the Big Picture for Agile Efforts Webinar with Tom Cagley
Peeling back Agile, one layer at a time.Storytelling is a powerful tool to elevate even the most diehard requirements analyst from a discussion of individual requirements to a discussion of outcomes. Outcomes are the big picture that acts as an anchor for whole efforts and which is continuously broken down into more and more detailed backlogs. The onion metaphor popularly used in Agile planning, Cohn’s Planning Onion, can be used to describe the evolution of these backlogs. View this XBOSoft webinar to learn more >
I had the pleasure of attending the keynote talk of my colleague and friend, Michael Mah, at the recent PSQT conference in San Diego in August. Michael, as usual, was very entertaining and passionate about his ideas and research. In his talk, he discussed a case study in which one of his clients has achieved and continues to achieve great results in implementing XP. He also drew an analogy of their Agile team characteristics as compared to other high performing teams. No, he wasn't talking about the Golden State Warriors. Michael's passion is saving the oceans, so he was sharing his experience in working with the Sea Shepherds. The Sea Shepherds work together with passion and purpose and Michael's story could motivate anyone to stop going to SeaWorld and join the fight in saving the oceans and the life within them.
Recently, one of our clients asked me to come and give a talk on software testing trends. They wanted to know 'best practices' but of course we all know there is no such thing. Despite that, I whipped up a presentation on what I thought were 'directions to go' in terms of where software testing is headed and the direction that companies should move. As I put together the talk, I started to think about how the boundaries between hardware and software are falling. Whatever you chose to call this disruption, the Internet of Things, the connected world, etc., it means that products are more complicated. So although software is simplifying our lives, it also takes more connectivity and integration to make them work. In my recent keynote at PSQT, I discussed how the Internet of Things was impacting QA and how we, as testers, needed to adapt. Extracting some of the key points, software testing trends are mostly pointing in these directions:
- Software is everywhere. It's working its way into almost all industries. What was once a hardware or embedded software company such as a speaker, garage door opener, refrigerator, now has a software component and that software continues to evolve with more functionality. Most of that additional functionality is tied to other products in an ecosystem whether it be home automation, security, or for life's conveniences. This means software engineers need to have much broader understanding and skills to think of how the products they develop will work not only by themselves but mostly with others (and some you don't know). Since a large part of the value of the product will be how it integrates with other products, ensuring that integration is seamless will require new knowledge and skills.
A few short weeks ago at the PSQT conference, I had the fortune of sitting in on Tom Cagley's session, titled Impact of Risk Management on Software Quality. One of the components that Tom mentioned as part of the Agile Risk Taxonomy is Agile Organizational Risk or People Risk. He describes it as the "impact of an environment populated by people." Some may think that this is the most nebulous risk, when compared to business or technical risk. I think it's probably one of the most important but, unfortunately, it's often swept under the rug.
Risk is a weird entity. Many equate risk with uncertainty but it's not. We are uncertain about many things but they are not necessarily risks. Risks come about when you have an negative outcome with a probability greater than zero. But there are many types of negative outcomes and corresponding risks.
In sports, everyone plays different positions and makes different salaries based on their position and skills. A quarterback generally makes more than a linebacker. Likewise, Tom Brady makes more money than Michael Vick. Everyone knows it and they accept it. His numbers are better and his team wins. His teammates also know he makes more money than they do. However, for some reason, when it comes to evaluating Agile teams, I tend to hear only about measuring the team's overall success. Well, how do you put together a good team without knowing the true value of highly performing individuals like Tom Brady?
In the software development world, we often discuss DevOps synonymously with continuous integration and continuous releases. It seems everything is continuous these days and I’m wondering where this trend is taking us. With Agile, where “everyone is responsible for quality,” we are no longer throwing software over the wall after development to be tested. Different kinds of testing happen all the time. I call it Continuous Quality.
"Continuous" describes a movement much bigger than software, but supported mostly by technology and software. It's a movement that is founded on everything being smaller and delivered in smaller quantities (except food in restaurants, where we tend to like to supersize). Everything is moving toward smaller transactions.
GQM stands for the Goal Question Metrics approach, promoted by Victor Basili from the University of Maryland. He is often given credit for the approach, after supervising a Ph.D. thesis by Dr. David M. Weiss. Weiss' work was inspired by the work of Albert Endres at IBM Germany, so I suppose that Endres, Weiss and Basili were all co-inventors of the approach and possibly others. This approach has been widely used in different industries, but often applied to software measurement. In a recent talk at the QAI Quest Software Quality Conference in Chicago, I applied GQM to Agile, calling it Agile Goal [...]
Reston, VA (PRWEB) July 1, 2016
With Agile becoming increasingly popular amongst software organizations, the playing field has once again shifted. Some companies are finding the perfect plays to success while the rest seem to be stuck trying to figure out the best possible patterns.
Managing Partner of QSM Associates Michael Mah will join XBOSoft for the firm's third quarter webinar, When Agile is a Quality Game Changer: Predictive Forecasting of Defect Profiles. The live, interactive, hour-long webinar takes place Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET, and will explore the reasons for development and testing success and failure in the maturing software community.
When we start working with a client who is in the process of converting, or have converted to agile from waterfall, one of the most common questions is "What Do Testers Do in Agile?" The typical consulting answer is 'it depends'. As much as I hate to give that answer, it really does depend on what agile recipe you are using and the skills of your team.
Agile software development follows an iterative method with the goal of providing working software to stakeholders at the end of each iteration. By providing a view of the software at the end of each iteration, I think each team member gets to see what the others have done and if the team has moved forward towards its final goal of delivering the software. I think that this process helps to build what I call Agile Trust. That is, confidence is provided throughout the process, not only for the stakeholders that the product is moving in the right direction, but also for the development team that they have understood the requirements well.
As a QA on an Agile team, providing confidence to stakeholders on a product in development requires consistent performance throughout the lifecycle.
Earlier this quarter, we hosted a webinar on Agile testing requirements with requirements and testing expert Robin Goldsmith. The webinar, titled Not Your Grandfather’s Requirements-Based Testing: Do Agile User Stories or ATDD Fix It?, generated a lot of interest and questions. Here, Robin answers a question from one of our viewers.
When recruiting Agile testers for scrum teams, everyone wants to have all senior testers. However, this is not usually the case, and many times you need to recruit the newbies. When I run through my list of considerations, testing skills are, surprisingly, the last thing I look at.
GQM (Goal Question Metric) is a methodology for aligning goals with metrics for a business process. Although used mostly in software development environments, GQM is also used in many business management environments. But the tough part is asking the right questions. With our upcoming half-day tutorial titled "Agile Metrics – It’s Not About Velocity" at QUEST 2016 in Chicago on April 19, I sat down with Phil Lew, our CEO, to discuss some key GQM questions that come to mind when using the paradigm in light of Agile. Here's just a sampling of some of the questions.
Relating Metrics Back to Our Agile Objectives
When designing metrics to measure your agile process, it's important to recognize that not all metrics are fit for all organizations. It wouldn’t make sense to measure blood sugar everyday for a patient not prone to diabetes who shows no symptoms, so it wouldn’t make sense to buy any of the special equipment to do so nor spend the time to do it. The point is that to determine the optimal metrics for your organization, you need to examine your current processes and determine where your problem areas are as well as your goals. If we are an organization that uses an agile development process, let’s start by looking at two key agile objectives of quality and velocity:
Agile software development methods have become more popular in recent years as development cycles shorten and competitive pressures mount to deliver quicker. Unfortunately Agile Technical Debt tends to pile up faster than we can pay it back. You see, with agile, the objective is to deliver working software in a short time frame with each iteration ‘working’ for the customer. Sometimes we get defects, yet we have ‘working’ software. We all want minimum overhead and value “working software over documentation”. Unfortunately, with each iteration, many times we can’t fix the defects and have to put it into the backlog. Any work item in backlog should be described in detail enough for those that need to work on it.
One of the main methodologies in agile is extreme programming where programming is done in pairs with extensive peer review. Extreme Testing by using pair testing, not to be confused with Pairwise Testing, is a cousin of Extreme Programming developed at XBOSoft, from the testing point of view. In our own software testing practice, we have used Extreme Testing methods to increase test effectiveness and as a great way to get testers to collaborate in a purposeful way. Within Extreme Testing, we have a few non-mutually exclusive practices:
I recently gave a short seminar discussing Agile implementation. In several previous webinars as well as blogs, we've discussed Agile implementation success stories, so I was actually happy to present another viewpoint that not everyone is excited and satisfied with Agile, as Agile does not fit everyone. One of my slides, titled Agile Reality, was on Agile not being so easy and not all it’s cracked up to be. Here are some of the points in my lecture.
From our webinar last December with Greg Burns and Ron Ben Yosef from BlackLine Systems on agile challenges that they’ve faced and how they got through them, there were several questions from the audience that we had no time to answer. We sat down with Ron and Greg and discussed the classic question of the recommended Developer-to-Tester Ratio.