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Archive for the tag “feedback”

Meaningful Agile Metrics

People like to set deadlines and to measure things, this is how we roll. In my classes, I hear many questions about how to measure software quality in an agile context. Many teams who switched to agile continue to measure quality like they used to do it before: number of found bugs, number of closed bugs, number of automated tests, stories rejected by PO etc. But after some time they found it was not helpful.

I am very cautious with metrics. First of all, because out of context they are misleading. Secondly, people tend to focus on what they are measuring, because they want to improve that thing. If we focus only on the numbers, it can be very dangerous. 

If you measure “stories rejected by PO” you will work with those numbers, but not address the real reason behind the problem, so in the majority of cases, it will not change. Just like in Dilbert comics or more current issue with Trump who did not want to test people for Corona, because then the numbers will sky rocket. He “likes the numbers where they are”.

OK, let’s assume I convinced you – metrics are tricky. But what can we do? My first suggestion is to evaluate if we really need a metric. If yes – for what and why? Sometimes the answer to those questions can give the solution. “Because we’ve always measured something!”, “Our management / stakeholders want to know it!”, “Our boss wants to know to whom he should pay a bonus”. Some of those are indicators of bad management, others of bad agile approach and I hope you understand that no metric will solve those problems.

If your challenge is nothing like this, then for the second round, I have a story to tell. Two years ago I took an Agile Testing Fellowship TrainTheTrainer course. I had two major highlights in the training, two things that changed my agile approach. I remember so vividly the moment when Janet Gregory announced: “forget about traceability in agile! We don’t need it”!

It came as a shock. How?! Why?? No traceability??? But, but, but… how will I work without traceability? Traceability always was a part of software development – starting from requirement elicitation until support and maintenance. I needed some time to process it. In the end I had to agree with Janet. If everything from beginning to end works, if testing is a part of development, if the team is the one who leads, if stakeholders support the team and give freedom of a decision then of course we don’t need a traceability. It becomes one and the same as the process.After reevaluation of traceability, I started to revise other old “religions”. As you can guess, one of them was metrics. My idea was – if I would remove everything I used to know about measuring quality and assume that it is baked in, what would I like to measure then? I will save you the whole rethinking process. At the end, I decided to focus on the whole team. For that I use 5 values of eXtreme Programming: Simplicity, Communication, Feedback, Respect, Courage. There are several ways to measure each of them. I will give you few examples that you know what I mean: simplicity besides known methods can be measured by checking if everyone on the team can read and understand code from somebody else. Respect I prefer to measure with closed team dot voting. For courage I find it very important to monitor how strong a team feels about pushing back or questioning (unnecessary?) user stories. 

It took some courage (ha -ha) to leave old practices in the past and I must admit not with every team and company this will be possible. If you practise fragile (bad agile), if the company does not really live by agile values, it will not work.     

For a dessert I want to share a video of a TED talk about missing baby dinosaurs. Maybe it gives you another perspective on known things.

 

Attempt to Improve the Blog: Who are my Readers?

One thing what I want to improve in 2019 is my blogging. Not loosing a day, here come the first improvements.

I started blogging by sharing my current ideas and topics. The idea behind it was to track my personal development. My part was clear to me, but I had no idea about the readers. For a long time I did not know if somebody at all read the blog: I got some little traffic, but there was no sign that this somebody really read the article and found it useful. I kept writing and one day, I guess it was after it was added to MOT blog feed, system informed me about my very first follower. At the moment I have 46 followers in WordPress and 7, who subscribed per email.

In the mean time I started to learn about the tool I am using – WordPress. Many topics are still very blurry to me, e.g. where WordPress ends and Automatic starts, where exactly information is stored etc, but I am learning. WordPress shows me information where the readers come from. As you see from the graphic above, most of you come from Twitter or MinistryOfTesting websites. Facebook is a mystery to me, because I do not use it. What comes to search engines, no idea what they where looking for, because I do not see keywords. For more detailed information I would need to instal reader tracking, but I prefer to keep it very basic.

Once you landed on my page, the question is, what else do you read? For today it looks like this.

First three are my last blog posts, linked in right sidebar for each page on my blog. Funny thing is that I linked there last four blog post, but 4th does not appear on todays summary. Conclusions which I make here:

a) you already read Trainer Notes before;

b) no interested in my stories as a trainer;

c) you did not see it;

d) you had time to read only three blog posts;

e) there is something between my blog and you, who overrides my settings and shows only last three posts.

I could continue like this forever, but in software development we talk a lot about getting to know your users. If I see this blog as kind of product, that you, my dear reader, are user of it. So…

Here we come to the most important part. Call for feedback! Dear 53 followers and guest readers, I would really appreciate if you would share what you like in my blog and what you do not like, any suggestions, feedback or simply to say “hi!”. It would be great to get to know you! For this occasion I reopened comment feature. GDPR made me disable it, so be aware that by leaving a  comment, WordPress system will save your IP address and only possibility to delete it, is by deleting your comment.

Don’t Patronize Me

Some time ago I talked with a testing friend and he said: “I have never seen you test nor have we talked much about testing”. And suddenly it hit me, I am afraid to talk about testing. I am afraid to be patronised. There is always somebody who knows better. I remember the time 10 years ago – I wrote a question in some forum how to test something better. Very first response explained me that I asked the question wrongly. Since that time unaware I have followed unwritten rule:

  • do not ask questions
  • do not give statements
  • never claim that I know something
  • answer the questions

Why? Because I was afraid to be judged.

First step was to realise – I can hide as hard as I want, I am judged anyway. Second step was to accept it, but without impact on my self-awareness. It took me some time and energy to change it. I have confidence now to deal with somebodies opinion about my abilities or knowledge.

 

 

Dictum – Factum

I am the doer. I see a problem/aim/thing I want and I go for it. If I have obstacles, I will put my mind around it, I will make compromise, but I will get a results.

I have put my finger on several key processes along my employee career and for a looong time I thought that I do not need to label my ideas and/or results as mine. Mainly because I believe in following two things:

  • an idea is more important as a human, who brought it to the life. If my idea/work lives and developes without me, than that was really necessary for the world and not just for my ego.
  • everyone, who works together with me, knows what I am capable of and which parts of work was delivered by me.

Mostly it worked well. Everyone in the company knew QA=Kristine. Even if I was not part of the project, people with testing or quality related issue were asking my opinion or help. I am also very good in puzzles – from small information bits I like to create big picture – that comes handy if you work on big projects or big companies where people do not know each other.

Than one day I organised feedback workshop with my old team. We had small, but cool team and I thought it could be perfect to exercise on self-introduction and feedback giving the same time. Nice and easy, right? It went not so bad, but I was not prepared of getting feedback for my own introduction. I got one negative (and 4 positive) feedback! I was so surprised. I shaped my introduction to people with whom I work together, I was assuming that they all know who I am, what are my topics and how I am working. In this case I could excuse myself with the fact that the person, who gave that negative feedback, was working remotely. But frankly it shocked me that even people on my team can misunderstand me so greatly.

I started to rethink it all and to pay attention what is my message, what do I say. Besides other things, I noticed that in most of the cases I use “we”. One example – since almost two years I organise TestParadies – a meet-up for testers and QAs. Alone. I have no team, no sponsors, all the fees I am paying from my own pocket. Year ago I was lucky to get Petra on team to write retrospective blog posts about the meet-ups, but generally I do the whole thing alone – looking for speakers, looking for locations, maintaining platforms, writing emails, moderate discussions, deciding on topics. And still when I talk about TestParadies I say “we did…”, ” we plan…” no matter that there is no “we”! An outsider could think that I am ashamed of running a meet-up! Why I do not take the credit for my work?

Why and How Testers Should Act Like Marketeers” was talk by Rosie Sherry on European Testing Conference 2017. I was not lucky to attend it, but found her slides on slideshare. Many good ideas there! Marketing and selling testing seems not to be those things testers are familiar with. Currently I am trying to shape my blog as my portfolio and I struggle on first page – how to design it that the message is clear? I decided to visit blogs/websites of test people who do consulting to collect some of ideas. Almost everyone I checked had a personal bio, but I was very surprised to found just a few business oriented introductions. 

Some time ago I was working together with a developer on contract. He was working 3 days/week on the project and 2 days/week managing his company. At the beginning I thought that it is only an excuse, he is working on some other project and does not want to admit it. Now I see it from different angle and believe that being great developer or tester is not enough. I expand that old Latin saying to:

Dictum – Factum – Signum – Explicatum

(Said – Done – Signed – Explained)

30DayChallenge

KristinesChallengeJuly1

I love challenges! So it was natural for me that even I am going on 4 week vacation on July, I will participate 30DayChallange organised by Ministry Of Testing aka call to do THINGS and STUFF and not loose energy in meaningless fights.

Here is my progress so far:

1.Buy one testing related book and read it by day 30

I bought a book and I start to read a book, it is just not the same book. The book I ordered is stuck somewhere on its way to me, so I checked my eBook “shelf”, blow the dust and will read “The Secrets of Consulting” by Gerald Weinberg.

16.Go to a non-testing event

I attended local Software Craftsmanship meet-up. The topic was Elastic Search with Kibana. Not really my cup of tea, but I learned a new tool, met people out of my circle and saw how developers organise their meet-ups.

IMG_20160630_205433

17.Find and share a quote that inspires you

The way how I feel and do things is very active. I came lately to conclusion that I need lean back and rethink – is this really something where I want to invest my time and energy? That is why my current quote is:

don’t feed what you don’t want to see grow

23.Help someone test better

I have a colleague who is great tester, but did not believe herself. I willed to help her to become better and more aware of her skills. We started reading club. It works pretty good and we are now more connected, because via sharing our thought on the book, we learn how each of us think and notice. Our latest session was on Thursday and afterwards we both agreed to make an experiment and do pair testing together for #30DaysChallenge. I am really looking forward to it!

30.Give someone positive feedback

This is another thing what I intentionally do on daily bases – I give feedback and I try to find something positive. I do not know how about you, but I constantly get negative feedback. I do not know, may be people think something bad will happen if they will say something positive… At the beginning I thought that everything what I do is bad. It took me long time to build confidence for my work. I learned that feedback and my work is not directly connected. Side effect of negative-feedback-community is – if you finally say something positive, people do not believe! This week we had retrospective in our development team and I told to my developers that I like to work with them together. They reaction was no reaction. So I continued with “It is not politeness, guys, I REALLY like to work with you!” At the end we all were laughing.

Preparation For My First Conference Talk

http://www.tropicalmba.com/presentation/

My personal professional aim for 2016 was to perform as testing conference speaker. I did some presentations in my 20s as I worked in life-long education and co-run courses for adults, but in testing I fellt the best in the background: planing, improving, building teams and motivating others. I decided to leave my comfort zone!

My first steps to achieve my aim was to apply for SpeakEasy mentorship and to join English class. I got great mentor and she helped me to find my subject, to polish it and to submit my very first conference abstract(have you seen those submission forms? HUGE!). Following with second right after it. One of those got accepted and currently I work on my first conference presentation.

No matter that internet is full of information how to be a speaker and to make a presentation, I did not know where to start. I tried few things, but my thoughts did not want to stick to the paper. I put my first slides together but I was ashamed to share it even to my mentor. It did not look even close to presentations what I saw and liked.

Than I found a 15 minute guide: how to create a conference presentation and thought – this is doable! Very practical and easy to follow suggestions. It even cover topic how to glue it together. From that point I was on the horse again.

There was two another things which I did. I ask for advice on Twitter:

and got amazing feedback with many useful tips. Thank you everyone!

I also shared my slides with other testers in order to test – is my message clear enough? I learned it as I wrote my third conference abstract and my mentor was shortly not available. I had this new idea and wanted to have a feedback, to know should I continue or not, is this something for conference or better for local meet-up. I asked several testers if they would like to review my draft. Believe me or not – no one said “no”. People are nice and like to help. Only thing – you should ask!

Talking about feedback – may be it is only coincidence but my observation is that ladies are more supportive and less specific and critical. My suggestion would be, if you want to test your message, send it to ladies and gentlemen and to testers with different background and knowledge level.

After collecting feedback and putting that into my presentation, the next step will be to practise presentation itself. My current plan includes recording and watching it and presenting for small groups.

Release date is in exactly one month!

Shake It Off

image

I have three kids and they are my teachers. This is my oldest, 11 years old dreamer, lego builder and kayaker. A few weeks ago he participated in the local championship. He had bad results in solo and in team race they even did not finish – one of his two team mates felt in the water. It was cold and windy day. After they put their equipment back in place, I got some sweets from my car and went to find the boys to cheer them up. To my surprise, they were not disappointed at all, but instead planning to go to Berlin and be part of national team! “Berlin!? What Berlin? Wake up – you just got disqualified on local river!”- I screamed inside of me. I did say nothing out loud, but watched distanced their childish and untroubled behaviour.

A week later there was another competition. All three of them had good solo results and got qualified for Germany national championship. As a team they finished second and came home with medal. At first we did not believe our sons story (I was not at the race). Qualified for national races – yeah, right! But it turned out to be true. I shamed on me because I did not believe my child can achieve good results.

Short time ago I had talk at work. I am good with dealing feedback and criticism about my work – how I test, what I test, when I test. But this time it was about how I communicated. My first reaction was – this is not serious! I am very aware of importance of communication. I did the worst thing ever – I took it personal. Criticism was not about my work, it was about me as a person.

It took me few days, but than I remembered my son. I shook it off, analysed my communication as objective as I could, got second opinion and localised few weaknesses I want to work on for next few month. It is just one persons opinion and just one in row of many others. It is hard to stay professional if feedback is personal, but as my work experience grows, I see how greatly personality influences work issues. My next conference talk idea is to talk about trust – item, you can not put in contract, but what has huge impact in results.

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