Agile– retrospectives

Retrospectives after a sprint can be fun, challenging and at times trying. It is not a finger pointing session but a chance to reflect on what was good or bad about the last sprint. All team members should participate if they aren’t this would be the first issue to address. One way to get participation is by having one member start by sharing a good experience.The group then takes turn discussing this experience. Often other good and bad experiences come from that discussion. During the discussion a ball can be used to toss to the person that is talking. The ball becomes the signal that a member is talking and should not be interrupted. When the member is done they toss the ball to another member. This keeps the session moving, gives everyone a chance to talk and it can be fun. All good and bad items should be put on a white board. Each bad experience should have a plan to resolve. This is not to say that every bad experience can be resolved in the next Sprint, it may take a few Sprints. One bad experience teams encounter is getting the business involved and/or getting the business to address User Story questions in a timely manner. If you read Lisa Crispin’s articleExperimenting” she gives a great example of how her team addressed a bad experience using faces to rate User Stories. A happy face given to User Stories that were documented well and the team was able to assign to a Sprint. A sad face was given to User Stores that were badly documented and/or waiting on the business for information. The User Story face rating was shared with the business and it was known going into a Sprint the business information needed and that if it was not obtained the Story would not be done. Read the article it is very interesting.

I think we should add to the Product Back Log work item a field that can be used for face rating. It can be done! 

Testa, ALM MVP

Agile, Manage & Test–Stickyminds launches TechWell for the test community.

Sticky has launched a new site called TechWell for the Agile, Manage and Test communities. You can interact with others through blogs, forums and groups. Access videos, podcasts, articles, and more all pertaining to testing.

With todays changes in the Software Industry happening quickly testers are facing challenges in the skills they need. The future is Agile with a Scrum methodology and framework. Testers need to be ready and it is going to  happen quickly, in fact it has started already.

I recommend checking out TechWell and getting the scoop from your peers in the community. Click on TechWell to check out.


Microsoft ALM – the next release code named vNext

At TechEd 2011 in Atlanta Microsoft showcased some of the new features coming in the next release code named  vNext. Check it out by clicking the different links below:

VNext –  click the link to the vNext demo.


New Features are:

  • Storyboarding– A plug-in for PowerPoint that connects the creation and review of story boards with the rest of the team.
  • Backlog & Sprint Planning– New web based product backlog, sprint planning and task board.
  • Client Feedback –New tooling support to invite and receive feedback from stakeholders during development.
  • Team Navigator– More time ‘in the zone’, through improved experiences for day-to-day tasks.
  • Continuous Testing – A new unit test runner continuously running unit tests in the background
  • Agile Quality Assurance – Increased code quality with code review support, enhanced unit testing frameworks and new exploratory testing support.
  • Aligning Development with Operations (Intellitrace in Production) – Increased connections and insight between the operations and development teams lowering the time it takes to fix a bug in production.
  • SCOM & TFS Integration – Software Centre Operations Management now integrated with TFS.

Channel 9 - The Future of Microsoft Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management Cameron Skinner talk at TechEd 2011 

Whitepaper: PDF whitepaper which reinforces the value propositions for what we’re delivering in vNext.



Testing Tools Your Teams Want–Microsoft Visual Studio & MTM

Microsoft has launched a new web site Testing Tools Your Teams Want

There are concept video’s covering testing topics.

White Papers on Performance and Stress Testing, Effective & Efficient Testing, Integrated Lab Management

Research and Evidence speaks for itself.

If you want to find out about Microsoft Testing tools this is the place.


Why Software Fails - your not using TFS2010 & Test Manager?

A colleague emailed asking if anyone had seen this article. It was written in 2005 and is very enlightening to read even today. I thought I’d post it for people to read. Click here Why Software Fails

As outlined in the article here are the most common factors:

  • Unrealistic or unarticulated project goals

  • Inaccurate estimates of needed resources

  • Badly defined system requirements

  • Poor reporting of the project's status

  • Unmanaged risks

  • Poor communication among customers, developers, and users

  • Use of immature technology

  • Inability to handle the project's complexity

  • Sloppy development practices

  • Poor project management

  • Stakeholder politics

  • Commercial pressures

Has this changed, in my opinion not enough yet. As a strong advocate of Agile and a user of Microsoft TFS2010 and Test Manger - the communications is available we just need to get better at it and share the responsibilities as a team.

Testa Smile