115: Agile, Lean Startup Mindsets with Maaret Pyhäjärvi

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Maaret Pyhäjärvi Test Talks

On today’s show I’ll be test talking with Maaret Pyhajarvi, a collaborative software specialist with emphasis on testing, all about mob testing, pair testing, exploratory testing and more. Maaret has a soft spot for hands-on testing, and for helping teams grow and build successful products and businesses.

Maaret shares a bunch of knowledge in this episode to help us think with a more Agile, Lean startup mindset. Check it out!

About Maaret Pyhäjärvi

Maaret Pyhäjärvi is a tester extraordinaire specializing in breaking illusions about software through means of exploratory testing. She is a software specialist with soft spots for hands-on testing, helping teams grow and building successful products and businesses. She identifies as an empirical technologist, a tester and a programmer, a catalyst for improvement, a speaker and an organizer. She works with a small product development team at Granlund Oy and teaches testing as her side job.

She is the author of Mob Programming Guidebook and a regular blogger at http://visible-quality.blogspot.com. Maaret is also a serial volunteer for different non-profits driving forward the state of software development. She’s currently the chairman of Software Testing Finland, the main organizer for Agile Finland Tech Excellence Finland Meetup and the head organizer for European Testing Conference, aiming to change the world of non-profits and conferences to be more sustainable than pure volunteer organizations can ever be.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • Micro-skills is really something very new that I've started thinking of. I've noticed some people, especially in the Agile conferences, talking about micro-skills. They're like identifying the smallest possible things you can learn and become good at, instead of having these huge things, and I was having this session where we were improving our test automation for my team with one of the developers, and I was noticing that again, pairing up and having me drive, I was getting more and more comfortable; like drilling through the production code and seeing what is there behind the interfaces, and finding out all kinds of things about the structure.
  • I've also been part of these teams of QA or tester, testing professionals, and I really have started to favor this very close relationship with the developers, and figuring out how do we, in the close relationship, how do we actually build the quality together? For my background, I was a tester at first, then I became a test manager, and then I realized as a test manager in one of these very waterfall type of organizations, that if I actually had the hands on team that the testers do, I would've been able to help with major financial considerations in that organization.
  • I got the buy in from the developers that they would still keep trying to test their best, and one of the gimmicks that I've been using with them is that sometimes I put things into production, and I tell them in advance, and I look at their faces when I say that I will do that. Kind of like being available when they ask me is one of the things, sometimes they know to being available, and just making them work on their own. That's been one of my things.We've been still struggling a lot with all these kind of things, that's kind of how we got into Mob Programming, that I was trying to find ways of bringing my team more together, instead of having having this, “I will provide testing after the fact.” Mobbing has been a way for us to learn about what the different people do, so it's really the Mob Programming as it's usually assumed, and kind of me then to instill the ideas that a tester would bring.Also, it's a way for me to teach my developers, “What do I actually do?” Kind of showing what happens when I do exporter testing.
  • Mob Programming is the idea that the whole team works on one computer, so there's just one input device, and we're taking turns to be the driver of the keyboard, and nothing goes on that computer without the other members of the team, the navigators, speaking up about it. It's driven by this new code, strong style pairing, which is an idea that for an idea from my head, if I have an idea, to go onto the computer, it must go through someone else's hands.
  • Mobbing has changed a lot of the culture in my team, and it's been really nice experience in many ways. Like for me as a tester, going into the whole Mob Programming mindset, the idea that I would take my five minutes on the keyboard and having to type something I haven't done much before, like the on production code side, and not really knowing what's going on, that was a big fear of mine when we got started.
  • There's one thing that I believe everyone should do, and it is strong style pairing. The idea that instead of Mobbing, you would just find somebody with special skills that you don't have, and say that you will take the keyboard and just be their hands. It's amazing way of both creating the relationship, and learning from that other person.


Connect with Maaret Pyhäjärvi

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