Skip to main content

Don't worry, it'll hold together. You hear me, agile transformation? Hold together!





Things are getting interesting. 

Your organisation has been transforming itself to an agile way of working for, say, a year or so now. Now comes the critical moment, which I will hereafter refer to as ‘The Wobble.’

‘The Wobble’ is a series of questions and searching of souls. ’Is this transformation really working?’ and ‘Are we working on the right features, at the right pace, with the right value, at the right level of quality?’ are common. Now, here’s the trick and it sound a little woolly but bear with me, if your business sponsors don’t know that its working, then I’m afraid that this confusion is trying to tell you something. That something generally is that something is wrong.

Like most of life’s wobbles, ‘The Wobble’ itself not the key, the reaction to ‘The Wobble’ is critical. So what are common reactions?

Abandon Ship! Liberally distribute yourselves overboard and revert to chaos. By which I mean your previous methodology, which wasn’t even waterfall, just old fashioned chaos.
Measure everything! Try and enforce blanket metrics across teams which mean little to the business and try and ‘standardise’ progress across teams. Think back to why you wanted to transform your organisation. The prison of meaningless metrics probably had something to do with it.
More Resource! Forget you ever read the Mythical Man Month and fully embrace the law of diminishing returns in all its glory.

So, I hear your brains ask, smarty-pants, what would you do?

Don’t panic and add more process – making your teams ‘heavier’ only alienates them, and the business representatives just see more processes and less building of stuff they want. This cycle repeats itself until the team’s produce beautiful reports and documents but no working software. Sound familiar?


Cash Value. In Moolah, Dosh, Wonga, Sterling. In Production - Its time to get honest. It doesn't get more honest than cash. Its honesty tells you where you really are, in your transformation. A lot of features built but still takes two months to put a release together? £0. Building lots of technically interesting features but not what the business wants? £0. I am aware however; very few organisations are willing to be this honest. However, without acknowledging this, you limit your progress and strengthen the power of ‘The Wobble.’

Putting a monetary value on something that is yet to be is hard, but it forces you to ask a great question. If I don’t know what this is worth, then why am I building it. For me the key to agility is honesty, with your team, with your wider project community, with the business. Without it, ‘The Wobble’ becomes more earthquake than minor tremor and may be more than your agile transformation can withstand.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Testers Guide to Myths of Unit Testing

One area that testers might be able to enhance their contributions to software development teams is how we perceive and contribute to unit testing. I believe testers busting their own illusions about this aspect of building something good would bring us much closer to developers, and help us realise what other layers of testing can cover most effectively.

Also, I want to do a talk about it, so I figured I would test the premise, see if potential audiences were into it. I put this on Twitter:
Working on a talk about what testers might believe about unit #testing & how we interact with developers creating unit tests. Any challenges/additions for my list below? #development#agilepic.twitter.com/4oT5HE4qs3 — Ash Winter (@northern_tester) December 19, 201730 replies with ideas tends to indicate that people might be into it. 
The ListI thought, as my final blog of 2017, I would provide a super useful list of the myths and legends we as testers might believe about unit testing:
That developer…

Why do Testers become Scrum Masters?

It was late and I was stuck on a train, so I pondered on the question of why do testers often (in my experience) become Scrum Masters. Its a very dear question to me, as its been a big part of my career journey In fact, I've been there and back again. Tester to supposed-to-be-testing-but-being-a-Scrum-Master to Scrum Master, back to Tester and very happy thank you.

I encapsulated my reasoning in the following:
Long train delay, decided to think about a thing. :) Why do testers (in my world anyway) often become Scrum Masters? #testing#agile#scrumpic.twitter.com/FGGXFiBGz1 — Ash Winter (@northern_tester) February 13, 2018The tweet got a lot of traction, and generated a couple of interesting threads which made me think.
Great list. Personally I think that as a scrum master I can add even more towards the goal of quality. — Christian Kram (@chr_kram) February 13, 2018 Perhaps part of the reason for the transition is a growing appreciation of where quality has its roots? If testing i…

Wheel of Testing Part 3 - Applications

I've only had to quit two jobs to finally find the time to finish this blog series. Winning at life. If you need reminders (like I did) check out Part 1 and Part 2 before reading on...

After the first two blogs regarding the Wheel of Testing, I was delighted to receive a few requests for the wheel itself, which got me thinking about applications of it, beyond what its original intent was, which I've explored in detail in part 1 of this series of intermittent blogs. Most models need a little air time to show their value, in software development we crank out models all the time, but I'm not sure how many get used. I am inspired by models such as the "Heuristic Test Strategy Model" by James Marcus Bach, as I have used it and seen the benefits it has brought for my clients, particularly the ability to ask questions. So, I wanted to create a model which has a number of use cases, both real and imagined:

Helping to unlocking a career in testing which may be stuck

It is no…