F12 – 404: Agile vs Fragile: A Disciplined Approach or an Excuse for Chaos

Track: Agile Testing

On February 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, seventeen people met to talk, ski, relax, and try to find common ground and of course, to eat. What emerged was the Agile Software Development Manifesto. Representatives from Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM, Adaptive Software Development, Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, and others sympathetic to the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes convened.

Now, a bigger gathering of organizational anarchists would be hard to find, so what emerged from this meeting was symbolic – a Manifesto for Agile Software Development signed by all participants…

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

The Agile Manifesto establishes a set of principles aimed at increasing the speed at which customers can realize the value of a development undertaking. It focuses on delivering quick hits rather than protracted development timelines usually associated with traditional development methodologies, such as Waterfall. While the principles of Agile are a refreshing focus on delivery, they are often hijacked to become an excuse for the undisciplined development organization. The Agile framework’s focus on agility is anything but undisciplined with principles such as Test Driven Development (TDD); however rogue development organizations have pointed to Agile as the impetus to abandon all vestiges of process, documentation, and in many ways quality. These organizations have added a fifth principle to the manifesto: Speed of the Delivery over quality of the delivered.

This session will explore characteristics of effective Agile teams, as well as, identify the characteristics of teams that are using Agile as an excuse. This session will also help the attendee answer some of the common questions that testing teams have as it relates to Agile organizations.

Session Takeaways:

  • Agile or Fragile: How to tell which your organization is
  • Agile Characteristics: The characteristics of excellent Agile teams
  • Agile Manifesto: What does it mean for processes and documentation?
  • Agile Testing: The role of “independent” testing in the Agile framework
  • Agile Tools: Do testing tools have a place in Agile development?
  • Agile Façade: Strategies for breaking down the facade

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Session Speaker:

Brian CopelandBrian Copelan – dQA Practice Director, Northway Solutions Group
With over 25 years of senior level experience in the software development industry specializing in organizational transformation and development, Brian has been instrumental in the testing of critical business systems, from mission critical applications to commercial software. Mr. Copeland’s career has included 10 years as the Test Operations Manager for the Titan II, 34D, IVA, and IVB programs, managing both flight and ground software-testing facilities for Lockheed Martin. Mr. Copeland also served as the Sr. Manager of Quality Assurance for the shared services of Deloitte & Touché, LLP. His diverse experiences range across the aerospace, medical device, title insurance, legal services software, big four accounting firm, and banking industries. Brian has developed and delivered training courses aimed at not only providing tool training, but also competency based education. Mr. Copeland has utilized this diverse experience to develop a very practical and scalable approach to both quality assurance and business analytics. Brian recently led the global testing organization for The Nielsen Company, overseeing the successful transformation of the testing function made up of over 750 testing associates. Mr. Copeland is currently the QA Practice Director for Northway Solutions Group, an HP Elite Partner.

Mr. Copeland has been sought out by organizations to help them establish strategies for aligning their business with the marketplace and to help provide organizational and individual mentoring. Brian’s articles have been published in the industry periodical, Quality Digest. Mr. Copeland has been a key-note speaker at the International Business Forum, and has been a featured speaker at HP Software Universe. Brian is a past president of the greater Cincinnati International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA), and holds an ITIL v3.0 Foundations and RCV certifications.