TestCon Europe 2019

Torstein Skarra

Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), Norway


Head of Test Centre of Excellence


From Waterfall to Agile: 7 tips for Transforming Test Organization

NAV is the conglomerate for governmental services in Norway, handling by itself what neighbouring countries has set up 12 different government institutions or more to handle. One third of Norway’s BNP flows through our IT systems. 19 000 employees and several million citizens use our systems every day. Moving from project based waterfall and six releases per year, to agile cross functions autonomous teams with several releases per day, per team, is a story worth telling. This story takes on the perspective of the testers and the test managers, as well as the whole Test Centre of Excellence.

When changing how we work, its all about envisioning the goals, focus on success factors and then surviving the transit. Some “truths” are left behind, together with skills, methods and tools, and new truths are created as agile skills grow. This talk is about the 7 most important success factors we focus on, and their corresponding truths. It also addresses a few irresolvable paradoxes, like: should we have testers or not, is test a distributed capability or is it a cross-company function, are the teams fully autonomous in choosing tools for testing or do we need some centralised governance.

Takeaways from this talk:
-7 important focus areas for succeeding with moving to agile in large organizations
-How the Test Centre of Excellency at NAV worked to transform skillset and employees to handle the transition without loosing staff
-Reflections on handling some of the paradoxes one faces when in this transition

For the TestCon evaluation:
Detailed points for the slides:
–Risk=probability*consequence. Small frequent releases focus on reducing consequence. That triggers new thinking in test. It has taken two years to shift business personnel towards accepting a reduction of the massive AT end RT, some graphs and mathematics can help shift their mindset.
–Continous testing means shifting both left and right. What we test early and how we involve Business, and what we test after deployment. Tools for early quality assurance and how the involvement has changed involvement from product owners creating higher quality.
–Small teams with high transparency and Kanban ways of working. Some teams have three steps, some teams have 11. Pros and cons of these build pipeline strategies.
–reducing test-dependencies. Strategies for test environments, how to generate synthetic testdata for such a large organization and new strategies of testing system integration
–Agile teams are build on a completely different culture mindset than a process organization. Reflecting what must die what must evolve in our culture, and how we alter our relationship with our sub-contractors
–Transforming skills in our pool of testers and testmanagers. Creating the role Test Engineer / Technical tester based on profiles already in our organization. What skills and profiles we looked for, and how we trained.
–Gartner groups “layered pacing” with the bottom layer being “Layer of records” is not a target. Believing in the model proved to be a root cause for bogus plans. The test center became schizophrenic. New strategies for legacy was developed.

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