Teamwork & Making Good Choices

I was honored to be invited to participate in Turku Agile Days along with other wonderful practitioners and presenters including Matt Wynne, Elisabeth Hendrickson and Linda Rising (just to name a few). One of the most cool things about this conference is that YOU can see all of the action, including the exciting and hilarious Testing with the Stars, on video.

Needless to say, judging Testing with the Stars along with Elisabeth was a highlight, and took up all of the first day and much of the second, but totally worth it. Not only was I entertained, I learned stuff! I couldn’t believe how creative and experienced the ‘contestants’ were. Some were even pretty good at actually dancing!

I experimented with taking graphical notes, inspired by Marlena Compton a couple weeks ago at Telerik Testing Summit. I had colored pens and a sketchpad. My drawings probably wouldn’t be too intelligible to anyone else, but I could easily sit down with you and explain them, I feel I’ve retained the information much better with the addition of drawings and diagrams.

For example, when I look at my drawing of the music player that Sergey and Pekka (I’m not going to try to spell last names here, check the link above for the contestant pairs) used to demonstrate how to come up with a test strategy, I remember how they asked, “What does it tell us?” The little globe I drew reminds me that they thought of different geographical challenges, such as whether members of the development team were geographically dispersed, or whether users in different parts of the world would use the device differently. My drawing of Anssi and Tom’s toy motorcycle isn’t too great, but I can recognize it and recall their test strategy based on purpose, results, actions and learning. And I chuckle looking back at the stapler for which Petteri and Jenna Riia came up with a testing strategy (surprisingly, it was not red!)

You need to go watch the Testing with the Stars videos – at the very least, watch the semi-final and finals. The sessions are only 10 minutes each.

Elisabeth’s talk on learning from her #fail was also both amusing and educational. My favorite new metric for code reviews is “WTFs/minute”.

It’s a lot of trouble, but it would have been more trouble later, when someone wants to change the “plan administrator” functionality, and can only find “plan sponsor” in the code. We all think we’ll remember everything forever, but we have a big code base considering our team size, and what if we hire a new developer?

So what’s my point? As a team, we did what needed to be done to maintain a high standard of quality, and avoid technical debt. No manager told us to do that. Our Product Owner did not “prioritize” refactoring the code to have the new terminology, because that isn’t a business decision – we control our internal code quality. Though everyone on our team cares about quality, I made my own particular contribution by getting everyone to agree on terminology and verbiage, writing a task card and posting the mockups. It’s been a fun couple of days!

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