Agile Testing, Big Data and Remote (Agile) Working

After a month off we are back with a couple of talks around agile testing and working. Adam Knight will be giving the talk he gave at Agile Testing Days in Berlin last month and I'll give a talk I did recently at Lean Kanban UK and add a bit about how my team all moved to the country and started working from home. As usual we'd like a voluntary contribution of £3 for our fantastic venue. 

“Big Data Small Sprint” - Adam Knight

For 6 years I have been testing a data storage system in the context of an agile team. Initially targeting single server archiving we have seen the data storage requirements of our customers increase exponentially to the massive volumes that now constitute “Big Data”. In this talk I’ll examine how our customer data requirements have grown exponentially, and how an agile approach has allowed us to target the emerging Big Data markets, but has also presented unique challenges. With neither the time nor the budget to recreate the parameters of our customer implementations, we have had to use innovative approaches to ensure that scalability and performance targets are tested within the constraints of each sprint. I will present some approaches that we have adopted to test the product quickly and effectively. I’ll discuss the importance of a strong tester-developer relationship in our understanding of each new feature, allowing us to apply tactical scaling at the appropriate interfaces of the application to gain confidence in much larger systems. I’ll also examine some of the testability features that this relationship has allowed us to implement into the system and contrast these with some examples of when testability was not considered and the impact that this had on the testing operation. As we look at our successes and failures I hope that the audience gains an insight into the issues that the agile approach presents when operating in the emerging Big Data market.

Adam Knight is currently Director of QA and Support at UK Big Data storage vendor RainStor. He has been successfully working in an agile organisation for 6 years and his work at RainStor was used as a case study for successful agile acceptance testing and automation in Gojko Adzic’s award winning 2011 book “Specification by Example”. As a passionate tester and member of the UK testing community Adam maintains an active blog and has spoken at various testing events including UKTMF, BCS and STC Meetups, TestBash and EUROstar.

Twitter: @adampknight



"What could you do with 10 years of Continuous Improvement" - Tom Howlett (Me!)

More than half of my team has been working together for more than 10 years . Whilst you might think this is a recipe for stagnation, through continuous improvement and Kanban the team is more alive and effective today than it's ever been. The talk charts the progress we've made from command and control to a collaborative, self organising team using kanban to search for the next improvement.

We moved from features that grinded on for months to lead times for stories of less than 10 days and bugs less than 2 days. We moved from the business planing releases months ahead to daily changes of priorities. We've gone from rarely talking to continuously sharing and learning from each other. In 10 years we've built a happy and effective team.

The talk discusses some of the big decisions we took over the years and some of the behaviours that emerged naturally. I'll discuss my thoughts on how to build teams that stay together and refuse to stand still.

Twitter: @diaryofscrum


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  • Uyi E.

    Please can this meeting be recorded and maybe uploaded to youtube or vimeo?

    1 · November 20, 2013

    • Tom H.

      If anyone fancies video/streaming this or any other geek night that would be fantastic :-)

      1 · November 20, 2013

    • Tom H.

      My talk that I orginally gave at a Lean Kanban UK Conf is here­. Unfortunately it lacks all the great questions that were asked at the GeekNight

      December 17, 2013

  • Jez P.

    2 great talks that went well together. Looking forward to the next one already.

    November 22, 2013

  • Kelvin J.

    I attended my first Cheltenham Geek Night last night, and really enjoyed the talks, although a bit miffed that I missed most of Tom's.

    The best thing is, there are a load of smart people to learn from.

    Looking forward to future events, especially when Upayavira does his talk on chef / devops… can't wait.

    November 22, 2013

  • Nic H.

    thanks Tom and Adam - a really interesting and informative evening.
    Looking forward to Upayavira's next gig!

    2 · November 21, 2013

  • Linda E.

    Very useful information! unfortunately I won't be able to attend.

    November 21, 2013

  • Matt B.

    Does anyone know anyone who has a CNC router for wood? I've got a small scale wooden design I want to create but it is too involved for hand tools.

    November 5, 2013

    • Matt B.

      Thanks Hamish - I'll check it out.

      1 · November 6, 2013

    • Clive H.

      I'd definately be interested in some CNC action!

      November 21, 2013

  • David E.

    Can't make this one, but I was in Berlin with Adam and his talk is great, should be a good evening.

    1 · November 20, 2013

  • Craig P.

    Thursday night childcare failure :(

    November 19, 2013

  • John D.

    Might be a bit of a "MAYBE" on this one, certainly likely to turn up late at least as Im at an event at the Uni@Park until about 8pm!

    November 18, 2013

  • David B.

    What's the chances of streaming this one live? ;) I'm in Aussie so going to miss out unfortunately. But working remotely in an Agile manner, so I guess I'm there in spirit.

    1 · November 16, 2013

  • Jason

    If any of you are handy with Ruby on Rails and fancy spending a few hours pointing me in the right direction then I'll gladly buy you a pint or two.

    November 6, 2013

    • Jez P.

      Hi Jason. Are you looking for help with a specific problem or an intro? While my last Rails was done so long ago as to be irrelevant (about 2006, and not in much depth), if you're looking to be introduced, that might be a good hack night topic. If a specific problem, maybe a night like the one we had a few months back where people brought their own problems in might be useful.

      1 · November 6, 2013

    • Tom H.

      I've done quite a bit of Rails in the past, but not for a couple of years. Might be fun to do a Rails Hack Night as it Seems like a popular topic. There are a few Ruby User Groups around I'm sure we could get someone to lead it.

      1 · November 6, 2013

  • Hamish M.

    Tom, Another good night (21 Nov) I'll not be able to make due work commitments. Thanks for your efforts. Hope to catch up in Dec.

    1 · November 5, 2013

  • Matt B.

    Sorry can't make it.

    November 5, 2013

  • JonAlb

    Sounds like a Great Night, can't wait guys :-)

    1 · November 5, 2013

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