As a prequel to Agile Testing Days where I will do my presentation, I am trying to interview the other speakers. Today we have Arie van Bennekum, (co-)author of the Agile Manifesto (www.agilemanifesto.org) , Chair of the Agile Consortium International (www.agileconsortium.net). He is a DSDM Practioner, Trainer, Examiner and Consultant.
Eusebiu Blindu: How would Arie van Bennekum describe himself in the context of the testing community and as a person?
Arie van Bennekum: My contribution to the Agile Manifesto in February 2011 was DSDM (Atern). In DSDM testing is heavily covered in one of the 9 principles (now there are 8 ) and also with 6 separate testing principles. Testing by (amongst others) the end-users gives real using-quality (they know what they need at their fingertips). On top of this is it creates acceptance because people get to know the system. Acceptance gives quality of use. This helps an organization to achieve their objectives. A perfect solution and bad use destroys any objective.
This I know, see and try to make people aware of, both inside and outside the community.
Eusebiu Blindu: How would you shortly define "Agile Testing"?
Arie van Bennekum: Testing in an Agile environment should be integrated throughout the project cycle, independent, repeatable and focused both on bugs and achievement of business objectives.
Eusebiu Blindu: Wow! "DSDM", "Atern", x number of principles…. In general we need some sort of guiding. But to do "Agile" do we need to learn every concept that is related to it, or we can manage just with what we think is agile and use no definition?
Arie van Bennekum: For me agile is not 'do what we like'. The agility is in the flexibility we have to create functionality in the solution vs. a specification up front. To be able to do so agile is a very disciplined process, so yes, we need to know the method (whatever method we use) and work according to it.
Eusebiu Blindu: I have noticed many speakers (at least in testing conferences) from Netherlands. They seem to have the highest number from Europe. Do you agree? Why do you think is that? Do you think they are more motivated?
Arie van Bennekum: Don’t know numbers but NL is keen on (business) quality. Is requires testing for both bugs (does it work right) and business value (do we achieve to expected benefits)
Eusebiu Blindu: Using wikipedia I see for principle "4. Never compromise quality" – "test early and continuous". What does this mean? How early do we need to start testing?
Arie van Bennekum: Please check the manual. The basic is that every functionality will get the needed time in testing. When there is time pressure we leave out less important functionality, we do not test less, like most projects do.
Eusebiu Blindu: I guess I just want to know what was the initial motivation for the creation of the manifesto and the events that preceded it. Is it because we need most of the time standards? I mean does we always need someone to officially say "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"?
Arie van Bennekum: Good point, my view is you don't tie people but you make sure you understand each other and are synchronized. This is why I like frameworks instead of detailed predefined stuff.
Eusebiu Blindu: Do you plan something like the Agile Manifesto in the future?
Arie van Bennekum: Not really but the authors agreed to meet again in 3 years. Who knows what will come out of this
Eusebiu Blindu: Is the agile model inspired from something outside the software development world?
Arie van Bennekum: It has an origin that is diverse. DSDM has its origin in Rapid Application Development which means software. It has been applied in many since, also outside software development. On top of this, DSDM covers the whole project of the solution development, including processes, user acceptance, etc. I prefer to call for that reason DSDM a solution development framework.
Eusebiu Blindu: Is the agile model currently inspiring areas that are not related to software development?
Arie van Bennekum: Yes, you can see all sorts of developments. There is the, maybe logical, connection with Lean. Also in total different areas like pharmacie (oktober Berlin).
Eusebiu Blindu: Is there anything that you don't like about the way agile is understood/applied from what you have heard or see?
Arie van Bennekum: What i would like to see adapted a little is the strong focus on software. I would like to move it to 'solution' which includes to whole thing including change, communication, etc. A successful project is the project that helps the organization to achieve business objectives. Software is part of the solution that creates this. We need to do a lot more, it should be done too. BTW, DSDM adds a lot here.
Eusebiu Blindu: "Rapid Application Development" seems like “Rapid Software Testing". I am not sure if the "testing" version was borrowed from it, but this gives me ideas. Do you think it’s inspired to adopt other things that are related to "Agile" and insert it into testing?
Arie van Bennekum: No, I don’t think so. RAD was very poor on testing but had a lot improving actual methods at the time. It brought thinks like user participation, sessions, real prioritizing, prototyping, etc. DSDM structured this, including increasing insight, which RAD was blocking. DSDM also was and is strong on the testing parts i mentioned earlier.
Eusebiu Blindu: And a final question related to your talk at the conference, called “Get them in(volved)”: can you tell us what to expect from it?
Arie van Bennekum: Gehgehgeh, come and watch! It is all about acceptance and quality for business
Eusebiu Blindu: Arie, thanks for the time given to answer my (questionable : ) ) questions. Looking forward to meeting you there!