UI Tests: The Illusion of Quality at the Cost of Quality

UI-based tests are often the de facto method of verifying software correctness in many organizations. It involves deploying the software, making sure all the integration points are hooked up, and then having people attack the UI using tests cases that were developed (often in isolation) to ensure the software meets specification. Much has been written about the downside of this approach which ends up resulting in slow and brittle tests. It is the main reason why automation pyramids suggest that UI-based tests be the smallest number of tests written in a suite....

May 9, 2022

5 Story Mapping Anti-Patterns

Source: beliminal.com Story Mapping can be a valuable planning exercise which can help prioritize work while centering the conversation on the customer. It can help a team align on an MVP, create releases, identify dependencies, prioritize stories, and generally lean out the product. It does this by bringing about a multitude of opinions and ideas in how to deliver value to the customer, and having a healthy discussion around the possibilities....

April 21, 2022

Simple Practices to Improve Software Development Teams

This assumes a team where we have the following roles: Product Owner, Developers, Quality Assurance and a Business Analyst. QA tests from the same spec as developers Whatever verification QA does should already have been done by developers. 95% of things that QA checks should not be undergoing a test for the first time, but developers should have already checked it. The remaining 5% are exceptions and should ultimately be reduced to 0%....

December 8, 2021

The Backend and Frontend Story Divide

In this post I will tackle the idea of splitting user stories based on role, i.e., back-end user story, front-end user story. What is and isn’t a user story? To start this discussion we first have to agree on what a user story is. At the highest level, it is an invitation to a conversation. That conversation is where people (i.e., developers, business people) can examine the value proposition, discuss implementation complexity, evaluate cost/value trade-offs, identify dependencies and come up with a general approach to a solution....

May 5, 2021

Evaluating Metrics

Good Continous Delivery podcast where they talked about how to evaluate metrics and their suitability to the situation. If you don’t know how to respond to a metric, don’t measure it. This is a quote from How to Measure Anything) and is a clever way of asking why we need to measure something. If we’re not willing to act when we see a metric, what’s the point? If there is additional work needed to create the metric and it isn’t a natural byproduct of the work, then we have to ask the question whether the effort of creating an observable metric is worth the opportunity cost?...

March 31, 2021

On Estimation

This post is updated with the discussion here. Estimation and/or pointing has three purposes: To generate discussion within the team so people have an idea of the complexity of the work and are aligned on what it takes to get the job done, and what the general approach will be. It’s the main reason we have story points - to see how aligned people are in their view of the work....

February 26, 2021

On Planning in Kanban

The “backlog refinement” time is the planning time to see what we should be working on next. This is like sprint planning except there is no idea of commitment and it’s just planning what’s ahead without dealing with when things should be done because we acknowledge that things will take what they take - we try to be as fast as possible and seek to continuously improve. To plan effectively in Kanban one has to make good use of the this time....

February 26, 2021

Autonomy, Maturity and Chaos

We rely on evidence, experience, advice and intuition to make decisions. If there is hard enough data that indicates a path we use it. If not we rely on our previous experience in the matter (or related matter) to guide us. When that is not possible we ask for advice from people who may have that experience. And when we don’t we use our intuition, which is aided by data, our experience, knowledge gained through consultation, etc....

July 2, 2020

Compliance Metrics

People will try their best to follow a framework, especially if it is prescribed by someone who is seen as an expert. Though the framework can itself be useful, religious compliance to the framework’s metrics can distract from the goals that the framework is supposed to help with. Velocity, throughput, cycle time and any other metric should be subject to this scrutiny. If the goal is to continuously deliver value to your customers then the evaluation of value must happen outside the framework’s scope....

July 1, 2020