Agile/Scrum blog

The Team Consultant

Barry Overeem Door: Barry Overeem,  01-03-2015
Onderwerp: Scrum  Agile  

Currently I'm reading 'The Scrum Field Guide' written by Mitch Lacey. So far it's an excellent book that offers me some interesting, practical insights. One of them is the concept of the team consultant. This idea suits a matter I've encountered quite often. In this blog post I'll share some of the thoughts of Mitch Lacey on this topic and complement it with my own personal view and experiences.

The best team sizes are between five and nine people, all of whom are fully dedicated to a project for the duration of the project, and who work together in a cross-functional way to deliver working software at the end of every sprint.

Many organizations struggle to create teams that live up to these conditions, for example:

  • Some specialized knowledge might be thus scarcely available and highly wanted, that the people having this knowledge can't be allocated to just one team;
  • Some people have such highly specialized skills that a Scrum team can't offer them enough relevant and suitable tasks;
  • Some people don't have the personality to be the ideal Scrum team member. Ilan Goldstein wrote an excellent article in which he makes the distinction between 'rock stars' and 'studio musicians'.

So how can you compose a team that is dedicated to building the desired product, respects the fundamentals of teamwork but also takes the given realities as described above into account?

Technical Agile Coach

Marco Kroonwijk Door: Marco Kroonwijk ,  23-02-2015
Onderwerp: Technical Coach  Continuous Delivery  CD  Extreme Programming  XP  Agile Coach  Technical Debt  Architecture  Development Team  Role  Craftsmanship  Practices  

A while ago, I started working at Prowareness, and as new employees we choose our own role title best fitting our experience, skills, ambition and passion. I chose the title of Technical Agile Coach, without really having defined what it actually is. It just felt right!

However, occasionally, people ask me what a technical coach does and what the difference is with “other” Agile Coach titles. So here’s what that answer is, for me.

The User Story Mapping Game

Barry Overeem Door: Barry Overeem,  23-02-2015

Being an Agile Coach & Trainer for Prowareness, I use different types of games, tools and practices every week during meetings, workshops and trainings. Some of these I've invented myself, but most already existed and have only been changed slightly to a format that suits me best. The upcoming period I want to share some of these games, tools and practices. I will share the what-why-how-when and what worked well and what didn't. By sharing my experiences I hope to inspire you to give these tools and practices a try for yourself, improve it and hopefully share the perfected version in return.

What is user story mapping about?
User story mapping is a technique that allows you to add a second dimension to your backlog. The visualization enables you to see the big picture of the Product Backlog. It gives you a good opportunity for making decisions about refining and ordering the backlog. Or as Jeff Patton, the author of the book "User Story Mapping", puts it "a prioritized user story backlog helps to understand what to do next, but is a difficult tool for understanding what your whole system is intended to do. A user story map arranges user stories into a useful model to help understand the functionality of the system, identify holes and omissions in your backlog, and effectively plan holistic releases that deliver value to users and business with each release."

What is the user story mapping game about?
It is an exercise that gives you the opportunity to understand the strength of story mapping. By using an everyday real life example, a product backlog is created, visualized and prioritized in less than 30 minutes.

UI tests with Selenium - About Selenium

Door: Robert van Vark & Harm Pauw,  16-02-2015
Onderwerp: Testing  Tooling  Continuous delivery  CD  

This blog post is the first one in the series of “UI tests with Selenium”. This post will be about Selenium, how it’s often used and the problems that could arise when using it an a CI setup.

Selenium is one of the most used frameworks to create tests that interact with the browser. There are two flavors: Selenium IDE and Selenium WebDriver. The former is is not well suited for creating and maintaining test suites due to it’s record-and-playback setup: recorded tests are difficult to maintain and become outdated quickly. Selenium Webdriver provides a programmer with an API to interact with the browser in a uniform way. In combination with a test framework like jUnit, TestNG or Cucumber, a programmer can create UI tests in similar way as creating unit tests. Additionally, Selenium has features to record screenshots during the tests, which facilitates analyzing failures of your test runs.