Starting the Conversation . . . and Keeping It Going Agile Testing

In addition to thinking about personality differences we should also consider organizational viewpoints.

Technique:Weaver Triangle

All the communication points from traditional processes–reviews, entry and exit criteria, coverage measures–still have something to offer in terms of clarifying that everyone in the agile team has the same goals for the project. To help us with this, an “on one page” method of capturing goals for a project is the Weaver Triangle. This was originally developed by Jayne Weaver for use with not-for-profit organizations, and we then adapted it for use in IT and business projects. Using the triangle, the group identifies and agrees the aim of the project(why it is being done)and associated indicators of success, then the objectives of the project(what is to be done)and associated targets. This helps identify where stakeholders have different aims for the project. The form is used to encourage teams to focus on an overall aim or goal, and to show pictorially how the aims and objectives fit together.

Some ground rules of this approach are as follows:

  • The aim should answer the questions “why are we doing this?” and “what difference will this make?”
  • The specific aims should break down the overall aim into a small number of detailed aims.
  • Each specific aim also answers a “why?” and “what difference?” question.
  • In order for the aims to be achieved, something needs to be done, so each specific aim must be associated with at least one objective that answers the question “what do we need to do in order to meet the aim?”

Typical Weaver Triangle.

Typical Weaver Triangle.

  • Objectives, which may be projects within a program or parts of a project, depending on their size.
  • Each objective must be focused on achieving at least one of the aims, otherwise there is no point doing it.
  • Aims are measured by indicators that measure whether we are making the difference we intended.
  • Objectives are measured by delivery targets such as savings, number of people affected, and delivery dates.
  • Indicator and target measures should be linked to measures used generally in the organization; for example, you could show how these measures link to the organization’s balanced score card.
  • Consensus is required between the stakeholders.This is not done by the managers and told to everyone else;it needs contributions and discussion from the whole team.

Technique:Think Group Viewpoint

I discussed that there are five viewpoints in any IT project:the Customer, the Manager, the Builder(including all the analysis, design, and development groups), the Measurers(including testers and reviewers), and the Supporters(including IT infrastructure). Each of these groups holds particular views about quality, has specific information for the other groups, and requires particular information from the other groups.

The five IT project viewpoints

five IT project viewpoints

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