Are you a Good Agile Leader?

Agile leaders are supposed to get the maximum amount of quality work done with minimum control of the situation. The team constantly needs support and guidance while remaining independent and self-motivated.

How do you get this done within the tight deadlines? Do you have the team’s trust, and do they have yours? How do you know if you are a good leader for your agile team?

In my article for Testrail blog, I discussed the challenges of Agile Leadership and shared some tips for aspiring Agile Leaders to excel in their team management! Here are some areas to focus on:-

Communication

Communication is the backbone of agile. Open, clear and frequent communication breathes life into the agile team.

As an agile leader, you will be required to be big on communication, stressing its need, ensuring it is happening, and keeping it open and constructive at all times. You may even need to get over your own fear or reluctance if you are an introvert! A good agile leader needs to constantly encourage people to work together, discuss issues, and enforce good communication practices.

Vision

As a good agile leader, it is imperative to maintain a clear vision for the project. Since agile requires teams to deliver working software frequently, most of the team’s time is spent concentrating on different tasks and activities to make the release happen.

But since requirements change often, it is easy to lose sight of the overall vision for the project amidst all that chaos. It falls to the leader to keep the team aligned, maintain the overall vision, and help everyone zoom out periodically to look at the bigger picture.

Removing Impediments

A Good Agile Leader

An agile leader is required to be a constant problem solver. They need to look for problems before they happen and resolve them as early as possible.………

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Four Things That Can Sabotage a Sprint

Success and failure are a part of any journey. For agile teams, continuous delivery is the expectation, and that may be a hard thing to achieve. As sprints go on and tasks pile up, we may deter from the path.

Whether your team is beginning their agile journey or are already agile pros, you are bound to encounter a failed sprint at some point.

When do you deem a sprint as failed? Why does a sprint fail? What are the possible reasons, and how can you learn from the mistakes to avoid them in the future? In my article published at TestRail blog – I examine four possible reasons for a failed sprint.

Read the complete article at https://blog.gurock.com/four-things-sabotage-sprint/

Bad Estimation

Estimates cannot be completely accurate every time. But when the agile team fails to see the correct depth or complexity of a task or a user story, the estimates may go haywire, leading to a big diversion from planned timelines within the sprint.

Incoherent Definition of Done

To ensure true completeness, we must list coherent and agreed-upon definitions of done for each type of task we undertake within a sprint, be it development, testing, design, review tasks or test automation. This makes it easier to keep track of the quality of work and get every person’s understanding of the expected work on the same page.

Incomplete Stories

More often than not, user stories being developed in the sprint get stuck at some tricky juncture toward the end. Situations may arise where you reached the last day of the sprint but there are still things holding up the team:

  • Development of the story was completed but testing is still underway
  • Developers and testers paired to conduct tests but some critical issues remain in the feature that need fixing
  • Development and testing are completed but the automation script is yet to be created for regression of the feature (and automation was part of the exit criteria for the user story)
  • Code review is pending, although it is already checked in and working fine
  • Tests for the user story were not added to the test management system even though the tester has performed exploratory tests

Due to any of these reasons or a similar situation, the user story will be incomplete at the end of the sprint. At this point, that feature cannot be deemed fit for release and cannot be counted as delivered.

Technical Debt

In a fast-paced agile environment, we cannot shirk off any part of our work or leave it for later. This becomes technical debt that is hard to pay off. The longer we do not pick up the task, the harder it gets to find the time and spend the effort on it while working on ongoing tasks at the same pace… Continue Reading

My contribution to the eBook “Software People- Work From Home” -now on Leanpub

I am super excited to share that I have my first ever contribution to an eBook now published on Leanpub. This eBook called “Software People- Work From Home” is initiated and compiled by Stephan Kamper and Maik Nogens which has many software professionals from all around the globe contributing their stories, experiences and ideas on their work-from-home experiences.

In my chapter , I wrote about Speaking and Engaging from home in this pandemic-induced lock-down situation. I shared my take on engaging with your colleagues, engaging with the community and also with oneself while working from home. Check out Chapter-9 in the eBook to read my contribution. Please give it a read and support this wonderful initiative –> https://leanpub.com/softwarepeopleworkfromhome

Catch updates and opinions about the book, and tweet about it using the hashtag #SoftwarePeopleWfhBook

My Work-from-Home Desk

Another fun aspect of this eBook is getting to see all the fun ‘work-from-home’ setups and desk images shared by the authors along with their write-ups. It brings a sense of belonging, understanding and normalcy to this unique situation and helps you relate to the writer’s life and experiences. I , too shared by home desk image! 🙂

Find out how software people experienced the corona-virus-caused time working from home!

Software people from all over the planet share their insights & experiences, opinions, and tips.

The coronian times during the year of 2020 have – in fact are still at the time of the writing – proven to provide a good number of challenges for everyone.

– eBook “Software People- Work From Home”

This eBook is available for free at LeanPub. Please give it a read and support this wonderful initiative! https://leanpub.com/softwarepeopleworkfromhome

Cheers

Nishi

Four Ideas for Self-Care When Working from Home

Work life can be equally as stressful as personal life, if not more. This especially true when your home becomes your workplace. The boundaries between professional and personal life are blurred and it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Tech professionals need to tackle their daily stresses in order to be happy, healthy and more productive.

Practicing self-care goes a long way toward helping battle those stressors and can have great benefits for your mental and physical health. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to care for yourself. It’s not selfish to make your health a priority. And it’s not just for you, either: You will be better able to help others when you are your healthiest.

You cannot control everything life throws your way, but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Here are four ideas to practice self-care when working from home to increase happiness and bring back balance to your life. Read full article at https://blog.gurock.com/four-ideas-for-self-care-at-work/

Simplify Your Schedule

Although you may be frequently tempted to, it is best not to overpack your day with too many discussions or online meetings. Spending too much time talking about work rarely leaves you with the time or energy to get any actual work done during the day, leading you to burn the midnight oil.

Set a limit to spend a maximum of two hours in meetings per day. Keep your calendar open for others to see and let them know they can schedule time with you only up to that limit and within the hours you are most comfortable with. This will give you a simpler schedule and not take away your most productive hours with meetings.

Similarly, create a simple schedule for your personal tasks, chores, and things to do around the house each day and set some time aside to get them done. You will feel so much better doing things and checking things off your list, instantly adding a boost in your productivity.

Avoid Stress Triggers

Although it is easier said than done, you must make special efforts to avoid any known triggers or stress-inducing things at work, as well as while working from home. Some situations, people or types of interaction may leave you zapped of energy and feeling bogged down. If you look for these situations and learn to recognize them, you can then make an effort to avoid those scenarios, saving your energy and giving you better mental health.

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Four Goals of Testing Beyond Finding Defects

Are you testing with the sole purpose of finding defects? What if you don’t find any? Your testing should deliver more value than just finding bugs. In my article published at https://blog.gurock.com/, I examined the true goals of testing and how we can aim at achieving all four of them for the quality benefits of our software.

Gaining knowledge about defects 

While there is more to testing than pinpointing bugs, finding defects and problems is the first instinctive goal. Looking for places where the functionality breaks or does not work as expected is key. 

Testers can adopt a number of approaches, test techniques and strategies to find these problems before users do. This helps the team keep updated on the status of product quality, fix the problems, and improve the software for the users.

Proving functionality

If you have been testing diligently and going through a bunch of test cases and various scenarios but haven’t yet found a defect, it doesn’t mean it was all for nothing! If a test doesn’t fail, that means it passed, and that is useful information, too.

Another major goal of testing is to prove that the functionality works fine, and it is that proof that helps us make decisions about its future. Without this proof, we would never have a clear picture of the software’s quality, its intended functionality or whether it’s fit for use. Many teams would also get into problems with regulations, audits, and compliance without this proof of functionality.

Generating information

Testing also generates a lot more information than just passing or failing tests. Testers generally have loads of questions occur to them while testing. They may be about the need, implementation or design of the features, their related integrations with existing features, or actual usage scenarios. The answers to these questions are paramount in making the feature assimilate well within the software. 

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Working from Home? Five Tips to Keep Your Sanity and Productivity Intact

As teams and companies across the globe are following social distancing recommendations, many workers are wading into unchartered territory. How are you supposed to maintain any kind of workflow when your surroundings (and mental state) are different from what you’re used to?

If you are new to working from home, here are five tips to help keep your sanity and productivity intact! Read Full article at https://blog.gurock.com/working-from-home-tips-productivity-sanity/

Embrace the Change

Working from home will be different from working from your office. You might miss the human interaction — the lunches with your team or the coffee breaks and informal chats. You might also feel derailed from your goals a little as you figure out the dynamics of online collaboration tools, remote meetings, and screen-sharing applications that take away time from your actual work.

But this is not the time to get bogged down by these changes. Since most of it is out of your control anyway, it is better to embrace the changes — or at least accept them — to give yourself peace of mind. Try not to fight your new situation or get negative about it.

Manage Your Distractions

Your day at home will be filled with many distractions that may take your focus away from your work. Working can be hard when you see that sink full of dishes or a dirty living room that needs a vacuum. I personally find myself rushing to the kitchen every hour to fix myself a snack, just because I am so close to it! You may also have partners, children or other people living with you who are trying to get through their day too.

It is imperative to create a routine that helps you manage these distractions. First, try to set your work hours at a time that fits your day and your family. Your at-home work hours may not be the same as your in-office work hours, and that is OK. If you can wake up early to get a couple of hours of work done before your kids are up, do that! It will start your day off on a productive note and you will feel less stressed about spending an hour feeding your toddler breakfast. Once you get them to settle down for the day with schoolwork or an activity, you can resume working.

If you have a partner also working from home, manage your time with them in mind. What are the best times to begin working? Do you both want to take a break to have lunch together? How can you split your chores so that you are not perpetually stressed and distracted with them?

Even if you live alone, having a routine and set times for beginning work, having a snack or lunch, and finishing work will help you keep your focus and get things done!

Designate Your Space

This is the most important factor when living with someone else. Being productive requires a space of your own and the feeling of being at work. Even if it is as little as setting up a desk, using a corner in the living room or making your couch your work area, you will need to make the effort! Have your laptop, books, chargers and other stuff you need at hand, and set up that area to feel like your workplace from now on. Use that space consistently for at least a few hours each day and keep distractions to a minimum. 

If you are lucky enough to have a study, home office or other separate room to work, you might need to coordinate with your partner on using the desk at different parts of your day. My husband and I use our study room alternately, mostly with me spending the first part of the day there while he uses it in the later half of the day, since most of his work calls happen at that time. If you and a partner or roommate are both scheduled for calls at the same time, decide on your separate areas and give each other space to work in peace…….

Read More — > https://blog.gurock.com/working-from-home-tips-productivity-sanity/

Published at (https://blog.gurock.com/)

Blind Spots in Software Testing

Reduced awareness or unintended ignorance of certain aspects can lead to inattentional blindness, or the failure to notice something that should have been visible because our attention was engaged elsewhere. As a human psychological concept, inattentional blindness also plagues testers and their mindset when testing. In my latest article for Testrail blog, I look at some steps we can take to overcome this challenge and avoid blind spots in our testing work.

Target Fixation

It is a natural response of our brain to avoid getting overloaded with information. It automatically focuses on information that is most important while avoiding unnecessary details and noise.

In many situations, this manifests in our focus on the task at hand and its context so much that we neglect surrounding details. This is true for day-to-day activities like bumping into a pillar while looking at our phones, failing to see a swerving car when watching the road ahead… or not noticing a takeaway coffee cup in the middle of a popular television show set in ancient times!

Let’s say you are browsing through a website with the intention of looking at the layouts that must match provided mockups. While you are doing that, you may miss the following:

  • The homepage of the website has an older logo of the company that should have been replaced by the newer version.
  • The login box has username and password fields but the login button is missing.
  • The URL structure of the website is all wonky and the individual page URLs are not named correctly.

Overlooked Information

Testers often execute tests that have defined steps and expected results, so we frequently overlook anything that is not defined and only check for the results we’re looking for. The tester’s mind is attuned to looking for specified errors, while other information or defects may tend to get missed, even though they may be right in front of our eyes.
Pick up any passed test case and try to re-execute it, but this time keep an open eye and an open mind for any new information surrounding the test. More often than not, you will find that many more defects, risk areas or questions can be found in the same area, despite the test having passed.

Read More—>

Read complete article at https://blog.gurock.com/blind-spots-software-testing/

How Technology Has Changed Project Management

The use of advanced technology in business environments can sometimes be jarring. Adjustments can be difficult, and on top of that many employees across a range of industries worry that technology can make them obsolete. These can be legitimate concerns in some cases. But, more often than not, technology serves instead to simplify processes and, ultimately, make life easier on people as they go about performing their jobs. This is certainly proving to be the case where project management is concerned.

Project management demands and processes vary across different businesses and industries, which means that not all teams in this category can implement modern technology in exactly the same ways. Here we’ll examine a few key ways in which tech can and has changed project management for the better.

Communication & File Sharing

Maybe the biggest change that technology has brought about for project management teams is a simplification of communication among groups in a work setting. In 2019, our post on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams’ touched on the idea that various barriers to regular communication can negatively impact productivity. And the same is absolutely true for project management teams of all kinds.

Now, however, there are several different communications platforms that are being used in professional environments to streamline collaboration. Often enough, they’re used to simplify digital communications in office environments in general, providing a space where everyone from a manager to a part-time freelancer can log in, see shared information, engage in relevant chats, and generally stay up to speed. These platforms can also be invaluable for project management teams.

For instance, think about a fairly common project such as developing a website or an app for a business. These are projects that involve contributions from people with different skills in conjunction with one another. A page design can’t be completed without understanding of the content layout; content layout can’t be finalized without a thoroughly developed visual aesthetic, and so on. On these modern communication platforms, these matters can easily be discussed between relevant parties such that the greater project can move forward. Updates and examples can be shared, and people can easily work with relevant collaborators whenever they need to.

Collaborative Design

In the past, one issue that plagued some project management teams is how to get everyone on the same page in more multi-faceted projects. There haven’t always been structured ways for different aspects of one overarching project to be addressed in a cohesive manner. This is changing, however, thanks in large part to both abstract and specific software.

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How to become a self-taught Tester in 2020

Learning is an ongoing process, and hopefully a lifelong one. Being a professional in any field requires you to constantly update your knowledge and continue to learn.

Software testing is a very in-demand role, so many people aspire to get into this line of work — but they may not know where to begin.

If you are fresh out of college or looking to switch careers, even if you are not from a computing or engineering background at all, you can jump-start your career in testing. In my article published at TestRail blog, I have given some tips and advice on how to become a self-taught software tester this year.

Read

Books provide a world of knowledge, and despite shifting trends, books can never be outdated, as older ideas can give you a foundation for new information. Reading a book allows you to delve deeper into a topic of your choice at your own pace.

  • Begin by searching for books on software testing, quality assurance practices, and industry leaders.
  • Then seek books that can help you start applying the knowledge.
  • If picking up a physical book is not your cup of tea, read online — there are many great portals with awesome content, articles, and ideas.

Diversify Your Knowledge

Software testing is not a singular skill; it requires a number of skills, both technical and non-technical. When beginning your quest to learn about software testing, delve into various areas of the domain and look for what interests you the most.

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The Art of Bug Advocacy

Testers find defects and raise awareness about quality. What happens after the bugs are found can be any tester’s guess, though. Bugs may get delayed, postponed, go unnoticed or linger on due to lack of information.

In my article for Ranorex blog, I talk about how Testers need to champion the cause of their bugs in order to avoid unneeded delays in fixing defects that are important. At the same time, testers should maintain a distance to make it an impersonal and impartial experience. Testers need to master the art of bug advocacy!

Why is advocacy important?

Advocacy is basically pleading the case for a bug to be fixed. The testers who find the bugs are the ones who need to advocate for their bugs. It is important that they take a stand and voice their opinions.

Some bugs may not be deemed important from a business perspective, as they seem too small. But in reality, they may be blocking an important feature for a particular user group. On the other hand, some bugs may seem more critical than they truly are, and while fixing them may be important, it may not be the highest of priority.

Whatever the case, testers must aim to present the facts and data in such a way that decision-makers are able to make well-informed resolutions about the issue.

Communication is key

Advocating for anything is not a one-way street. It takes discussion, debate and reaching a consensus on key points to make a collective decision. This is where testers’ communication skill plays a key role. Testers need to have good communication, both verbal and written.

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