What is your #1 software delivery challenge?

I’d love to reboot my blog and monthly newsletter with inspiring and educational information, to help you get better outcomes with your teams. I finally have some time to write again, but I’d like to try something a bit different – and ask people what they wanted to learn about.

If you could take just five minutes and tell me what is the single biggest challenge that you’re struggling with at the moment, I’d appreciate it very much, and more importantly I will be able to use that information to cover the topics that you specifically want to know about.

I’m collecting the information using SurveyGizmo. Please fill in this quick survey to help steer me!

Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests now available

My new book, Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve Your Tests, is now available on Amazon. Grab it at 50% discount before Friday:

This book is for cross-functional teams working in an iterative delivery environment, planning with user stories and testing frequently changing software under tough time pressure. This book will help you test your software better, easier and faster. Many of these ideas also help teams engage their business stakeholders better in defining key expectations and improve the quality of their software products.

For more info, check out FiftyQuickIdeas.com

To improve testing, snoop on the competition

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests

snoop on competitionAs a general rule, teams focus the majority of testing activities on their zone of control, on the modules they develop, or the software that they are directly delivering. But it’s just as irresponsible not to consider competition when planning testing as it is in the management of product development in general, whether the field is software or consumer electronics.

Software products that are unique are very rare, and it’s likely that someone else is working on something similar to the product or project that you are involved with at the moment. Although the products might be built using different technical platforms and address different segments, key usage scenarios probably translate well across teams and products, as do the key risks and major things that can go wrong.

When planning your testing activities, look at the competition for inspiration — the cheapest mistakes to fix are the ones already made by other people. Although it might seem logical that people won’t openly disclose information about their mistakes, it’s actually quite easy to get this data if you know where to look. Continue reading

Explore capabilities, not features

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Fifty Quick Ideas To Improve Your Tests

Exploratory testing requires a clear mission. The mission statement provides focus and enables teams to triage what is important and what is out of scope. A clear mission prevents exploratory testing sessions turning into unstructured playing with the system. As software features are implemented, and user stories get ready for exploratory testing, it’s only logical to set the mission for exploratory testing sessions around new stories or changed features. Although it might sound counter-intuitive, story oriented missions lead to tunnel-vision and prevent teams from getting the most out of their testing sessions. Continue reading