SwanseaCon was kicked off with this fun, yet enlightening, opening keynote by Kim van Wilgen and Sander Hoogendoorn, who introduced a new methodology – Flow.

Nothing is perfect. There are so many software development methodologies out there. When a new methodology is developed, it is usually to address an issue with the previous one. Unfortunately this often results in new problems.

Flow takes the worst principles and practices of other methodologies. After all, it works for one company, so it must work for others.

Extensive Certification over Hands on Experience

We all love ISTQB (a software test certification). Only true software test professionals have this qualifications. Anyone without this cannot be a good tester – right?

Now, we much keep this qualification simple – training only needs to be a couple of days. Too long? Ok, let’s make it 1 day…fine, 1 hour – perfect, easy money for the exam providers.

Test shouldn’t be too difficult either, keep it multiple choice. This will be a clear indicator of the testers knowledge.

People are resources

People are resources. They don’t need a quiet space to work, they don’t need to make decisions. We need as many resources as possible, its the only way to increase productivity – all this extra resource needs to go somewhere.

Open plan offices are great for communication. We can fit more resources into the office – and they can communicate better if they are in the same room.

Except all this talking is distracting, we should give everyone noise cancelling headphones. Some might find it hard to communicate with headphones on – that’s ok, we have slack or emails.

Actually, all conversations must be in an email – a rule enforced by an agile coach, so that everyone knows what is going on. Everyone needs to be CC’d and are expected to read through the entire email chain.

Gamification, Tool selections and meetings – Remove All Autonomy

Make everything like a game. It makes everything understandable to stake holders. They need to know everything so they can tell the resources what to do. Resources don’t need to make decisions. In fact, they don’t even get a say about what tool they use. It works for one team/company, it will work for us. There is no point in going any differently.

And meetings, we should have loads of them. Keeps everyone informed about what is going on, and it breaks up the flow. Can’t have resources working hard all day.

What we should be doing?

Doesn’t sound very good does it.

All these ideas are not bad ones. Some might work really well for some organisation.

Certifications can be a good way to learn, but should be backed up with experience and further learning.

Open plan offices can work for some, but I’ve been in a situation where the office noise has made it difficult to work.

Meetings are a great way to keep everyone informed about the team goals, but too many of them can affect people’s ability to focus.

Just because it works for one company, doesn’t mean it will work for yours.

Here’s what we should be considering:

  • Personal communication is just as essential as slack and email.
  • Qualifications are good, but experience is better. There should also be emphasis on continuous learning.
  • Hierarchy removes context and understanding. Instead of having a manager run the teams, give teams autonomy and freedom to make their own decisions. They know what is best for them. They should develop and approach that fits the team best (don’t just follow the Spotify model because it worked for Spotify).
  • Software is built by people not resources. We should be treating them with respect. Provide them with what they need so that they can get the work done effectively. Also, allow them to have fun occasionally.