Mining Code

What is Agile testing?

An article I recently wrote on Agile Test Data Management prompted some responses on a more fundamental level. What is Agile testing? There are plenty of methods, frameworks, and comprehensive guides available that will provide you with a template for Agile testing. Unfortunately, most of these are either too prescriptive or thinly-veiled waterfall anyway.

This isn’t one of those, this will be a quick dive into the principles that might help you evolve your own practice.

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Agile Test Data Management

It’s likely a coincidence, but I’ve recently noticed a slew of issues arising in my work around test data management. As I dug into this, I found a disappointing lack of prescient information on how to manage this in an Agile environment. It’s going to be a quick one this week, but here’s my take on agile test data management.

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A product team is not the answer

group of people huddling
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

You can’t move for people talking about the project to product journey lately. Getting organisations to start mapping out what their products are so they can build cross-functional teams around them. Projects are transitory and lose us all of the learning, we want long-lived squads! While these sentiments are all rock-solid, unfortunately, they’re missing the point. I’m going to be controversial and say that creating a product team simply isn’t good enough. What you actually need is outcome alignment.

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Business outcome alignment

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

One of the largest challenges preventing organisations from competing effectively in the market is their structure. When you are optimised for technology or role, then you are not optimised for customer value. But how do you actually get there? What does good look like for your organisation if you went back to the drawing board? I’m going to share a process I’ve developed for redesigning a system for outcome alignment.

Note that this is not going to be a full article on digital transformation or strategic redesign. I am simply going to focus on the guiding principles and a specific approach to assist in exploring an outcome aligned design.

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Lean PMO

A runner on the starting block.

Where We Stand

The role of the project manager in Agile is often a complicated one. While there is little concrete direction by many of the frameworks, it is often understood that a traditional project manager may often find themselves moving into a Scrum Master or Product Owner role. The intent behind this guidance is clear, there’s no need for a Project Management Office (PMO) where we’re going. I disagree. Let me introduce the Lean PMO.

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Dependency Chain modelling

A rusted chain
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

A dependency chain is where you have a number of functions that all need to do some part of a piece of work in order to fully deliver it. These functions complete their part and then pass it along to another.

In my last article I showed why your IT requests were likely taking so much longer to service than you expected. But what if you have multiple dependencies chained together? How can you get a rough idea of how long something is going to take when you have a disconnected dependency chain rather than an end to end view of the system. In this article, I’ll explain the process of getting a rough statistical idea of how long something is going to take when you have multiple dependencies all linked together. I’ll explain this through an R script, but the concept is easily transferable.

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Why do we have IT delays?

closeup photo of a stop sign
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

You’ve got a quick job to do so fire it off to an IT team. It should only take around half a day of effort so you expect to hear back by the end of the week. Three weeks later and you’re still waiting. So why is this happening? What is the deal with IT delays?

Apologies in advance to all scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

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Agile Line Management

Paper boats lining up behind a leader
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

This is going to be another opinionated piece on the ideal line management reporting structure for an Agile team. I’m not going to get into organisational hierarchy or connections between teams, instead just focusing on the Agile team itself. This does, however, relate to the concept of dependencies.

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The Psychological Impact of IT dependencies

Man wearing white top using MacBook
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Over this series, I’ve spoken in detail about the organisational impact of IT dependencies in your system. I’d like to take a diversion and discuss how it can impact the individual.

I posit that even without the work benefits you could derive from eliminating dependencies, the quality of life changes you could bring about would more than pay for the effort.

This isn’t an article about workplace stress, we’re all pretty familiar with its cost to our economy. Nor is this an article about the cost of employee churn. It’s not even about the cost to productivity through disengagement. Let’s move forward knowing the impact of people not being happy.

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Quick and dirty dependency map automation

horizontal neon lights
Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

After some of my recent articles on building a dependency map, a few people got in touch asking for tips on actually creating them. Here’s a quick way to get started.

You might have noticed the following example in my previous posts.

Dependency map example

I created the graphic above with an amazing bit of kit called Neo4j. It’s actually an incredibly sophisticated graph database technology, so it almost feels a little sacrilegious to be using it for this.

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