Experience Reports

We’re pleased to announce that alongside the open space, we will be having the following experience reports.

Antony Marcano, Kostas Mamalis, Jan Molak (Riverglide)

The Journey Beyond the Page Object pattern 

Many people who use Selenium/WebDriver will have employed the Page Object pattern as a way of reducing duplication and brittleness of GUI-test code.

This pattern was in use at a large financial institution, supporting tests written with Cucumber. As the test suite grew and they faced testing an ever more sophisticated web application, the limitations of the Page Object pattern began to surface–as many others may also have found. Tests became harder and harder to maintain, code duplication began to grow and, in an age of dynamic, AJAX-based, Javascript enhanced GUIs, what is a “page”?

In this session, Antony Marcano will talk about the origins of an alternative pattern he identified some years ago and support Jan Molak and Kostas Mamalis discussion of how the “Journey Pattern” was used to address the growing challenges of testing a number of web applications of a large financial institution.

Lauren Schaeffer (IBM Jazz)

Make Working From Home Work For You

Three years ago, I moved to a small town and began working from home.  I struggled with isolation, weight gain, not being able to disconnect from work, and a lack of passion for my work.  Since then, I’ve learned how to make working from home work for me.  I’m passionate about my work and am getting great reviews.  In this experience report, I’ll share my struggles as I transitioned to working from home as well as my tips and tricks for being a successful work from home employee.

Barry O’Reilly

“No more mushrooms” 

The days of developers sitting in the basement, in the dark and being fed information is over. Gemba is far from a stroll on the plant floor, a gemba represents a purposeful attempt to learn what is really going on. IDEO, for example, place their designers in the life of the customers they are aiming to build a product for.

The same principles apply to software development. We can no longer hide in dark, headphones on, removed from our customers and the environment they reside in.

I’ll share stories from lastminute.com, Justgiving, Amplify and others to show how you can build context and test solutions to find out what works, and what does not without a single line of code been written.

Sallyann Freudenberg (Travis Perkins)

An experience report on the use of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) at Travis Perkins

Here I will present my hands-on observations and those provided in a set of informal interviews with permanent TP staff. I will present findings in the style of a retrospective with an even balance of things I would start, stop and keep.

David Putman, Vince Ryan (Travis Perkins)

“Getting the Right People on the Bus”

It is every leader’s responsibility to improve the team’s performance at every opportunity. However, even the best leaders are human: interviews and CV trawls are breeding grounds for human biases, making objective recruitment problematic at best. Additionally, how can a recruiter differentiate between those that are merely aware, or perhaps know the basic theory, of agile techniques and those that practice them through nothing else but a desire to do things right?

Brian Leach, Nik Silver (Travis Perkins) [slides]

Using XP practices on 1960s green screen technology

Travis Perkins has introduced some very modern technologies in the last few years, but half of the 120-strong software engineering team is actively developing in BASIC on its 1960s green screen technology platform. Brian and Nik show how it is possible to introduce XP practices to technology that predates the moon landings, and will discuss lessons learned. They will cover unit testing, source control, and continuous integration, and will touch briefly on future objectives.

Jonathan Whitaker (An Investment Bank)

“Scaling Agile: A Practitioners Tale”

“Synopsis: 18 months on from an agile transformation, what has happened? Exploration of what management and leadership means in an organisation moving towards an agile operating model. Told from the perspective of the people in the feature teams as it was they who drove the conversation.”

Michael Rawling, Lewis Moore (Unruly Media) [slides]

“The story of a User Story”

A story of eXtreme User eXperience but with a twist. The UX designer will tell his story but so will the Product Manager. This story will highlight this extensive collaboration over the last year developing a brand new product with a rich user experience.

Jeff Foster, Mark Wightman, Simon Cromarty (Red Gate)

“Agile Career Development in Flatland”

When you don’t have hierarchical job titles or annual performance appraisals and goal setting or personal development plans are entirely optional, how do you keep your people growing?

Red Gate software in the Flatlands of Cambridge has changed a lot in the last few years, our product lines have expanded, our tools have matured and our customer base has grown but we were worried our people were losing their “spark” – they didn’t seem quite as excited as they had been.

Many people we’d hired as genius graduates and plenty of equally smart experienced people still had the same job titles. We don’t do “junior” or “senior” and there isn’t a career ladder. They didn’t know what direction to take their careers and they didn’t see opportunities to do anything different.

The picture isn’t quite as bleak as it sounds but feedback we’d been getting had us worried.

We’ve spent the last 6 months tackling a whole bunch of challenges around developing our people in agile ways and have three short stories to share:

  • “Brave Conversations”
    We interviewed every member of development and asked 10 really direct questions most companies would be too scared to ask. Shared the results and acted on the feedback. We’ll share with you what we asked and what we learned.
  • “The Portfolio Shuffle”
    After frustrating “house of cards” style people moves during our portfolio reviews we changed the rules (and restructured the whole company). How about *asking* everyone what they could do? A lesson in doing the right thing for your people.
  • “Personal Development Doesn’t Mean Climbing the Greasy Pole”
    Historically we’d taken the view that “you own your own career progression”. We were wrong. As part of our “brave conversations” we learned that our staff wanted help (and hadn’t felt able to ask). We’ll share 2 simple tools we’ve started using to help our people develop.

Lisa Long (BigCo)

Agile Adventures at BigCo

I work at a large company (100+ product managers, 2000+ engineers, 12 time zones) and am working on rolling out Agile.  This is a case study of what happened since my arrival, where we’re hoping to get to, and the interesting discoveries of the particular challenges faced by a large organization trying to make the transition.

Colin Vipurs, Savvas Dalkitsis (Shazam)

Testing at Shazam

In 2010, Shazam decided to rewrite the application server infrastructure from the ground up. We applied BDD from day one and knew we were doing things “right”, or so we thought. This is a story of how we got it wrong and how we incrementally improved the tools and processes in light of the lessons learned. We’ll also dive briefly into how the lack of BDD support on Android ultimately influenced how the backend team approached testing.


One Comment on “Experience Reports”

  1. […] last month’s XPDay 2013 (it wasn’t just about XP, it wasn’t a day, but it really was 2013) Joseph Pelrine […]


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