March 29 2010 – Dinner with Jeff Sutherland

Monday, March 29, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jeff Sutherland and other RTP leaders. The dinner was a fundraiser for CITCON, which came to RTP in April. This was an opportunity for Agile practitioners and experts to have an informal chat about the challenges and opportunities of using Agile in the world of work.

I was interested in learning more about Systematic, a CMMI level 5 company that implemented Scrum across its entire business. One thing that sets Systematic apart from other companies is that it has really good data to prove that Scrum works, and it is a software company that can execute perfect waterfalls every time. Systematic created hyper-productive teams, and by Jeff’s definition, they are at least 4 times more productive than industry average. They cut TTM in half and the development costs by the same as well.

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ICST Paris 2010 – Innovation in Test

Last week, the ICST Wednesday morning keynote was given by Patrick Copeland, senior director of engineering at Google. The talk was about testing, culture, and what Google is doing to improve TTM and quality through innovative approaches to testing. Productivity and Innovation in a hyper-competitive cloud computing world were the key themes of the talk.

There are those who are changers and those who are maintainers. Changers are people who are more likely to innovate. Maintainers will keep the existing running well. Innovators are changers who can take ideas and make them work in the real world. To innovate however, you need feedback mechanisms that let changers test ideas. Failing fast and early is the key. Mr. Copeland introduced the idea of “pretotyping”. A pre-prototype can give you early feedback. One example he cited in his talk was about voice recognition and dictation on a computer many years ago. You talk, the computer writes. The first demo of it was done with a microphone and a screen and as the subject spoke, the text would appear on the screen, but the text was being typed by a human who was listening in another room. What they learned from this is that talking into a computer is tiring and natural speech does not render well as written text. It provided some feedback that would have been obtained much later if a real prototype been built.

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A-TDD applied to a Congestion Control feature for Telecom & Data Networks

Congestion Control is a common telecom and network application to manage overload of data traffic through high-traffic Network Elements (NEs). Some slides offer an example of how to use A-TDD to decompose the requirements into User Stories, and develop scenarios for Acceptance Test in large, complex product development. You can find the slides on SlideShare here.

A-TDD as an Efficient Design Tool & Productivity Booster

Been thinking a lot about A-TDD these days with ICST and the TDD workshop coming up next week. A-TDD can help you do more than validate your product against Acceptance criteria. A-TDD asks you to think about the definition of Acceptance in Customer terms, and prepares you to be Ready-Ready. This represents the black-box product tests that customers will run. A-TDD covers not only functional tests, but also covers tests related to performance, stability, reliability, security, and other “-ility” tests. A-TDD can help you do the following as well:

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A-TDD Research in Large Scale Complex Product Development

At the TDD workshop at ICST in Paris on April 10, Catherine Louis and I will invite collaborators to launch a study on A-TDD in large scale, complex product development. There is very limited research on Acceptance Test-Driven Development in Large Scale product development. By collaborating together we hope to:

  • Find new and Innovative ways to introduce A-TDD into Large Scale Complex Product Development
  • Maximize your chances of Success with A-TDD introduction in your development practices.
  • Explore the frontier of Change adoption

Our goals:

  • Collaborating on a framework for introducing Acceptance Test-Driven Development in large, complex product development
  • Iterating and improving on that framework
  • Publishing the resulting research, identifying all critical success factors.

You can find additional information by downloading our invitation here. If you are interested in collaborating or would like more information, please contact us:

Catherine Louis: – Web site:
Raj Mudhar: – Web site:

“Collaboration breeds Innovation!”