SPA 2006

Off to dinner

XP Day France is done. On to Great Britain to attend SPA2006.

The conference starts tomorrow afternoon. Before that, a few early birds are having dinner at a restaurant near the conference center.

I’m off to meet Rachel Davies, Andy Moorley, Willem van den Ende, Marc Evers and Norm Kerth. Norm wrote “Retrospectives”. If you haven’t read it yet, go out and buy it. Now.

As someone said: “If it doesn’t have retrospectives, it isn’t agile.“. I agree. Now, who said that?

Tags: SPA2006


XP Day France, day 2 (continued)

CMMI, the debate

As debates usually go, this one generated a bit of heat and little light. In my day-job I’m looking deeper into PMBOK, CMMI and ITIL. What are they good for, except for padding my bookcase and resumé? More about that later.

The afternoon

The standing lunch was a bit cramped. Lots of people came up to me to talk about the Toyota Way and my presentation. I think the sales of the Toyota Way, Lean Software Development and Retrospectives books will go up in the next few days.

Gery Derbier led a simulation of “specifiers and artists”, where we had to evolve (by way of retrospectives) ever more effective ways to explain what to do. In the simulation, we had to make drawings, based on the instructions from our specifiers. My team didn’t draw everything wanted, but got manyt of the requirements done in each of the three rounds. Consistent, but not much improvement. Another team didn’t get anything done in the first round, but managed to complete the second-round task completely, after making some major changes during the retrospective. Maybe they were motivated to change.

J.B. Rainsberger led a workshop on the role of testers in agile teams. First, we listed a few issues to discuss. Among them “the effects that tools have on the way developers and testers work together”, “the (lack of) respect testers get”, “what’s a tester’s job? Verification or validation?”. Joe sees testers as a third major role in XP, next to the developers and customer, helping the two other roles communicate. In our group we talked about the “respect” and “validation” topics. Testers are part of the “customer team”. They write the specification, the acceptance tests, they verify if the specification is met, validation. Gery uses the terms “developer tests” and “user tests”. Developer tests are all the tests made by developers: unit tests, integration tests… They are verification that it works. User tests are all the tests made in name of the user, by the customer and/or testers. They are verification that it does what it should do. Testers get a lot more respect if they act and are seen as ambassadors of the users.


There was a short closing. The conference was a success, people asked for more. Thanks to Laurent, Emmanuel and Christophe. See you next year!

Tags: XP Day