From Waterfall to Agile and back again – an unexpected journey

20 May 2015
09:40 - 10:30
International Auditorium: New York

From Waterfall to Agile and back again – an unexpected journey

This is the story of a test team’s unexpected journey. We went from Waterfall to Agile and then a few steps back again. Our unexpected journey helped us find our middle ground. We found a new harmony within a software house.

During the journey, independent testing enforcement diminished and was close to becoming obsolete, but it rose up again at the very last moment. This story tells us of a team of testers who were lost in agile translation, then found DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery) and a new refined identity.

It is my personal story as a test manager:  how I almost lost my job, how I had my role threatened with extinction and then it turned out that I had every test manager’s dream come true. We had better insight into development activities, including their progress and their quality. We had a robust way to forecast how much testing was needed, and we could assess the actual quality which would be delivered to the test team even before delivery.

Finally but most importantly, this story tells how a software development corporation answered the mother of all questions when it comes to organizing IT teams:

  • United or decoupled?
  • This is contained in our methodology dilemma when we ask: Waterfall or Agile?
  • Our final verdict: we need both.

To provide justified and fruitful responses to our dilemma we needed a hybrid test organization: we wanted to drive away alienation, move to the provision of testing as a service, focus on increasing synergies, and promote diversity. But, we still needed a separate independent, functional test team.

The conclusion of our story is that as an empowered and independent test team we could deliver the best combination of agile and waterfall for our organisation.

The moral of the story is that all well-known and established methodologies are just like any off-the-shelf products. They may seem ideal in the ads with their dazzling wrappers, but they are rarely a perfect fit for our propriety needs and specificities. It takes work to make a methodology or blend of approaches work for you. This is not a criticism of any methodology but merely a comment about how we experience them. Regardless of what methodologies or models we adopt or our response to the “united or decoupled” question, everyone needs to work out his or her own way to unify diversities and make things work.

Test on every stage of your development process.

  • test strategies
  • test automation
  • quality in/for development