If you read my last blog, you might remember that I mentioned that some people thought that Agile had killed QA. Well, here we are again. In this blog, we are talking about the possible demise of another aspect of traditional testing. This time the aggressors are Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The victim is manual testing. Will Machine Learning and AI replace manual testers? The short answer is no. The longer answer is heck, no! My money is on manual testers continuing to add value no matter what Machine Learning and AI bring to the table.
The QA process in agile differs greatly from QA in traditional testing, such as in Waterfall. Agile has changed the way we think of software quality. In fact, I have read rumblings in the blogosphere that Agile has killed QA. I promise you Quality Assurance is alive and well on agile teams. It just looks different than what most of us are used to. I think people who have promoted the “death” of QA in agile are not looking closely enough at what is really happening. Traditionally, testing was the only task people associated with measuring quality.
Once again, I have the pleasure of welcoming October. Soon it will be cooler and more colorful here in North Carolina. The holidays are coming, and many of my neighbors have already decorated for Halloween. I have been pondering what sort of ghoulish surprise I could cook up this year, and decided to go with one of my favorite creatures… ZOMBIES! Nothing says horror like a good old zombie movie (or TV show), and nothing brings misery to the otherwise happy-go-lucky people that I work with than Zombie Scrum.
Zenergy’s experts have been helping companies optimize modern software delivery methods well before DevOps became a buzzword. Every time we help a client improve their modern software delivery capabilities, we refine our playbook. What works well for one client, may not be the best solution for another. Every solution needs to fit the culture, the teams’ work style, and the software release goals of the organization.
There is some confusion around what agile is versus what agile methodologies are, and often people lump them together. Agile is a mindset (not a methodology) that encompasses a set of values and principles that were compiled by a group of software gurus in 2001. These values focus on customer collaboration, flexibility, a short iterative cycle, value delivery, people centricity, sustainability and simplicity, among other things. These values and principles are not to be confused with the frameworks that have been developed to assist teams in “becoming agile.”
When I first received my ScrumMaster certification, I regularly asked the senior ScrumMasters I worked with what I was supposed to do, besides facilitate Scrum events, enforce Scrum rules, and remove impediments. I tried to be a good ScrumMaster and worked with multiple teams, so I stayed busy, but I had heard that great ScrumMasters could only handle one team at a time. I didn’t understand what could take up that much time. As time progressed, I spent more time reviewing and reflecting on what the Scrum Guide says, and what that looks like in the real world.
The Hare and the Tortoise (or The Tortoise and the Hare, since that is what people told me it was called when I was young) is a fable attributed to Aesop, an ancient Greek storyteller. For those of you who are not familiar with it, a hare challenges a tortoise to a race. The hare, in his overconfidence, decides to take a nap when he gets close to the finish line. The tortoise plods along, eventually passing the hare, and wins the race. The moral of the story is: slow and steady wins the race.
Spring Cleaning? Now is the perfect time for agile backlog grooming. The sun is shining; the birds are singing. The tree leaves are back, along with people’s allergies, easily confused with COVID-19. Speaking of COVID-19, millions of people have been forced to stay home over the last few months, and many have started attacking home projects with a vengeance, because they have no place to go except for their local hardware store. Garages have been organized, along with closets, basements, and attics. Yards are now tidied, new flowers and vegetables planted, and the world is generally a cleaner place. The madness even overwhelmed me and I am now the proud owner of a freshly re-graveled driveway (and some seriously sore muscles). Many items on the To Do List have been checked off. Speaking of To Do Lists, (and because I need to get around to talking about agile things) how’s your product backlog?
As an Agile Coach, I often try to simplify things and refer people (and myself) to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Almost all agilists can remember at least the first core value, “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Though the introverts might cringe about it, most are also familiar with the principle, “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”
I love my wife. No big surprise that I would say that publicly, on the record. We have been together for over 32 years, have 3 amazing daughters, and have managed to partner with each other through the good and bad times. Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on our great loves, smell the roses, and consume copious amounts of candy. When I think of who and what I love, I have to put Agile on the list, not so much because it pays my bills, but because it contains a lot of concepts that have made my best relationships possible. So, for the sake of this blog “agile love” is a real thing.