More about acceptance tests

Coming back to the definition of done, I wanted to spend a couple more words about testing.

What does it mean that the working software is the primary artefact?

It means that if you spend two years finalising the requirements documentation for a 5-years project, you did not accomplish 40% of the work: you accomplished nothing.
Even if you started to develop or if you finished it but is not working, you still do not have anything.
It sounds sort of unfair, maybe you are really very close to have something working but this is all the point.

The artefact you need to produce at the end of every iteration is a working product: it needs to pass the acceptance tests.

And what are acceptance tests?

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[link] The dribbblisation of design

Post by Paul Adams about how too many designers are designing to impress their peers rather than address real business problems.

Things that look great but don’t work well. Perfect pixel executions of flat design, but work that doesn’t address real business goals, solve real problems people have every day, or take a full business ecosystem into consideration.

Design is a multi layered process

The iteration backlog and the definition of done

The iteration backlog is the list of refined items chosen from the Product Backlog for development in the current iteration, together with the team’s plan for accomplishing the work. Basically it’s a subset of the product backlog that reflects the team’s forecast of what work can be completed during the iteration.
With the iteration backlog in place, the iteration begins and the Team develops the new Product Increment defined by the iteration backlog.

I prefer to put the iteration backlog artefact directly in the cards that are used through all the iteration, on the whiteboard (real or virtual) but you can use your preferred tool, also an excel sheet.
Following is an example of how a backlog can be quickly created with a tool like a spreadsheet.

During the planning meeting, I fill a temporary excel sheet (that has a couple of useful macros and that I pre-filled in advance with a couple of information like start and end date, available days in the iteration net of eventual holidays, the most important stories (priority!) taken from the product backlog and so on).
One macro will then create the final tasks in our tracking system.

The temporary sheet. Each row represents the information for a topic (user story/issue/etc.), has a multiple sub-rows for each of its tasks and includes the following fields:

 July iteration  (Priority decreasing) – Start: 1. July   End: 28. July
Story Task Owner Estim. Done when Notes
As a campaign manager I want to display in my dashboard the statistics by time … Design the UI Alice 8 wireframes approved by PO based on UX product guidelines
Code the front-end part Bob 6 standard DoD
Adapt the user manual Carole 3 accepted by training team
  • Story – it’s just the story name or ID taken directly from the product backlog; here as a reference.
  • Task – the task title (something meaningful but not too long); if you wish you can add an extra column for the task description. You need to list under the story all the tasks that are necessary for it.
  • Owner – the name or initials, something to identify the volunteer who will implement the task.
  • Estimation – what has been decided in the planning meeting, for example the number of hours; some teams add extra columns (one for each day of the iteration) and put this estimation in the specific day/column. I prefer not to fix in advance in which days will be implemented and not to track the progress inside this file.
  • Definition of done – this one requires some more explanation below.

Continue reading “The iteration backlog and the definition of done”