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SPaMCAST 558 features our essay Story Points – Leave Them, Don’t Love Them.  Story Points are not evil and they may be useful in some circumstances. But like most tools, at some point, they lose focus. They have outlived their usefulness, therefore, I will leave them when at all possible.  

This week, Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the podcast.  We talked about focus. How much focus is enough and how much is too much? Mr. Berriault has an opinion and stories to back his opinion up.  (more…)

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SPaMCAST 550 features our essay titled, Intertwining Conway’s Law And Agile. Conway’s Law trains a spotlight on how an organization’s structure impacts the product they ship. The “Law” states that the structure of a software product will mimic the structure of the organization that produces the software.  It can (and has) been said that you are shipping the “org structure.” How you are structured therefore is going to impact just how much agile you can achieve.

We also visit the QA Corner with Jeremy Berriault.  Jeremy discusses the differences between test engineers and testers. We also tackle whether every person with the word test in their title should have the ability to code or script. Jeremy’s LinkedIn:

I know this is not the show I promoted last week but my guest, Mike Lynn,  is out of pocket this week and wanted to around when the show went live. Not only am I agile, but I am also flexible therefore we are rearranging the lineup!   (more…)


I am attending the QAI Quest Conference this week.  This is not my first Quest and I hope it won’t be my last – I am going to augment my Test Driven Development (TDD) class with a robotics twist. Thanks to Jason Huggins for a great keynote on robotics to spark the idea, this is one of the reasons going to conferences is useful. For those that don’t know, Quest is primarily a quality and testing conference put on by the Quality Assurance Institute with smatterings of other related topics. As with all conferences, I am a collector of ideas and people, this week I have noticed a lot of lists being generated. I have captured many of the lists related to the problems people are having implementing agile.  I think even with a day left I can summarize the lists and confirm my summarization and perception based on the conversations I have had during meals and breaks. There are seven common threads test and quality focused personnel experience being agile. (more…)

I am currently at the QAI Quest Conference.  The conference has a heavy quality and testing focus (I am teaching a tutorial, participating as a subject matter expert and giving a talk on agile) – I am enjoying this conference. A session I participated in early this week developed a list of problems leaders were having with leveraging agile. I will mine the list next week. However, for now, I want to consider one issue that I heard several times.  The “silo’ization” of coders and testers. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 533 features our essay titled, Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall? The long answer is yes, but the short answer is yes, but try to find a way to avoid the self-inflicted complexity. If you can’t avoid mixing and matching frameworks, there are paths to success you can leverage.

Other essays in our series on interfacing SAFe and waterfall efforts include:

Can Agile (SAFe) Be Interfaced With Waterfall? –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? – Transparency –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? –  Synchronization –

Interfacing Agile (SAFe) With Waterfall? –  Code –

This week we also have a quick visit from Tom Henricksen.  Tom created the popular Online Agile Summit. Today he announces the DevOps Online Summit that will be held on April 8th through 11th.  After you listen, check out the website!

Jeremy Berriault brings a new installment of the QA Corner ( to the cast this week.  Jeremy leverages work by Simon Sinek and tackles the “why” of testing.

Re-Read Saturday News
This week we continue our re-read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In chapter two, Gladwell dives into the law of the few.  There are three types of people that are important to pushing an idea up to and over a tipping point: connectors, mavens, and salespeople.  All three are required. Remember to dust off your copy or buy a new copy and read along!

Current entry:

Week 3 – The Law of the Few (more…)

Today we have a guest post from Jeremy Berriault.  Jeremy is a columnist on the Software Process and Measurement Cast and the author of the QA Corner blog. He is a professional tester and is currently a QA manager.  During a recent recording session, Jeremy and I talked about using story maps in testing.  That discussion resulted in this guest post.

Guest Post: Story Maps for Testing

The use of story maps has been picking up speed and the use of them have proven to be a good tool to start linking items up so that there are no surprises down the road.

From a testing perspective, I feel, this is something that should be looked at as not only helping see what the bigger picture is, yet also identifying areas to simulate early so that the teams can prepare.

Barry Overeem’s article, has a nice description of how it all works, along with a nice picture of what one would look like. Yes, the intent is to ensure that features are not done sooner than any other dependent tickets, which is a good thing. When I talk about setting up simulations, it is more about not waiting of those features if the scheduling of the development in the release is not fully aligned. From a quality standpoint, it is making sure things are smooth.

Now imagine using string (well virtual string if your map is online) to connect the tickets along with the deliverables. It could end up like a conspiracy theory wall. Which in the end it is ok since you will now have a good path of where and when you can focus attention and see where help might be required early.

For me I see this as another tool in the toolbox to get things straightened out. I remember the days of 80-page requirement and doing something like this to identify where I need to plan things out and when. A nice graphical view allows for easier consumption and not missing something. Which helps with early detection and making the appropriate changes.

The way I see it there shouldn’t be one ticket that is not linked to another in some way. Something always builds onto another one. Same as how I talk about test case building. To keep it modular and easy to use, a test case should have the output of a different case to feed into another. If you think about it you will have only one test case where that would not happen, the initial main case to get the system going, unless you get granular (which is a bad idea for testing functionality and should be focused on Unit testing).

From a test planning view, you would have a second “map” of just test cases that should overlap over the product story map. With the exception that there will be a lot more connections on the test case map. Now all that is left to do is plan out the simulations (Data, SOA, Files etc…) and get to work.

Both maps together would then help reduce the risk of having an “oh crap” moment late in the release cycle when something new is discovered or not thought of. Work smarter not harder, correct?


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SPaMCAST 525 continues our conversation about story points.  Many teams find that story points are only a partially useful tool to facilitate the flow of work within a team. Today we will highlight a behavioral fix and talk RATS.

We will also have a visit from Jeremy Berriault with a discussion from the QA Corner.  Jeremey and I talked about how the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP) impacts testing.  Check out Mr. Berriault’s blog at

Re-Read Saturday News
We are re-reading Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 – Buy a copy and read along).  Chapter 10 focuses on what when Hollywood makes a movie from Bad Blood will be a titanic battle between the indomitable Elizabeth and a career military officer, but what is really a struggle between right and wrong.

Week 8 – Who is LTC Shoemaker

Previous Entries:
Week 1 – Approach and Introduction    (more…)