Eurostar > Day 1 > Keynote 1: Putting Tradition to the Test – Antony Marcano #esconfs

Antony Marcano presented about:

Tradition. The news of Mr and Mrs Anderson Williams having a baby and the fact Mrs Anderson Williams would not be staying at home to look after baby. Traditions change. That's what she told her disgruntled mother. Time have changed, traditions and roles have changed, things are changing, morphing and evolving.

Antony draws the comparison to Agile Development and how our roles should change. If our working environments are changing then why are we hanging on to old roles, for old methodologies, for old teams?

What does a test manager do now teams have dedicated testers? Change their role and learn about testing, become a thought leader, become a practice manager and guru. That's what.

Antony then talks about special service teams whose team members are essentially cross functional, yet with specific specialities. Antony introduces us to a special forces process of clearing rooms from enemies. Each member is a specialist, but they know what the others do; they can switch roles easily. Antony draws a comparison to project teams and cross disciplinary, cross functional abilities.

The final story was about Nicole. She was a software tester. She started working in a government department full of ISO, IEEE and compliance. Documenting everything. Triple checking. Covering herself for blame. But she did enjoy it and the testers were passionate, but she decided to move on. She looked in to agile but couldn't see how this could work. She got a job though working for an agile consultancy company looking to move in to government departments.

1st day was iteration planning. Wow – what a way to start your deep dive in to agile. Trouble is they had no test plan. So she got out the trusted old style Test Plan, filled it in and sent it off to the team for review. Nothing back though. Nothing at all.

The problem was she sent it by email, and it turns out they don't check their emails. They concentrate on just building stuff. Not checking emails.

The manager drew a few diagrams on the board and showed her an architecture diagram, making a point that she needn't have dropped all of that information in to a document. The test plan was on the wall. 15 – 20 minutes was all it took, not hours.

My question would be is how do they communicate that to the customer; this big gov agency? Don't they require certain sign offs, approvals, assurances? How can this team be sure they communicate with the right purpose, audience and context? Lots of unanswered questions and the point seems to be about format of communication (i.e. drop email) than about what might actually be needed. Good example, but missing a few points 🙂 Collaboration is key is what Antony is suggesting – couldn't agree more, but collaboration can only happen when communication is great.

The Epilogue.
Nicole got loads of experience at agile and apparently even spoke at a previous Eurostar event.

Great opening talk by Antony, but the audience are indeed very quiet and, at the moment, a little shy. Antony's delivery is a little more rigid than I've seen him before, but the crowd is large and yep, he's opening the proceedings. Really clear presentation, great use of visuals too. Good start to Eurostar 2010.