How to Prepare for Sprints and Other Agile Techniques: An Interview with André Dhondt


Write them down and after you do that maybe you spend five minutes on that. Maybe ten, but no more than ten. Get all those names written out and then we say, “All right, now spend fifteen minutes or an hour walking through each one of those personas and identifying what do they want from our system.” Write as much as you can. You're writing just the name of the functionality. We could do this whole thing in fifteen minutes but if we're really trying to plan out a full three months' worth of a release, then you probably need an hour to do this.

You have walked across all the names. Come up with things that you know they want. You look at the whole slate. You're going to find certain columns are very empty. That suggests maybe we don't know very much about this kind of user or this kind of stakeholder. Maybe we should go talk to them and say, “Hey, this is what we know that you want. Can you tell us what else is important to you?” Very simple technique. Got it from Dan Messick. I love it. It's very fast.

JV: Yeah, it seems like it would speed up a lot of the work. Given that a lot of our readers are testers, how's the rise of agile affected testers and their work? What have you seen over the years?

AD: It's hard to say and give any blanket statement about it. I do see a lot of testers being pulled into agile teams. I see org changes where testers are being invited to look at what's coming down the pipeline at the design discussion stage. I think that it's really positive that the testers are really excited about this. They're like, “Oh finally, I get to know what's coming down the pipeline.”

JV: They're a little more connected now than before.

AD: They can then say, “Wait, if you build it that way it's going to be impossible to test.” They're there by influencing the design in addition to being aware of it, and this is really, really good for quality.

JV: It's a little bit more of an empowerment of the tester's role, you think? They get a little bit more input and everything.

AD: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

JV: Finally, any New Year's resolutions for you?

AD: I'm a very goal-seeking person. My resolution is no more goals.

JV: No more goals. Very good.

AD: Just be. Just be agile.


AndreFor over a decade, André has led agile adoptions, providing guidance to teams and organizations seeking shorter development cycles, higher quality, and more effective discovery of customer value. Playing various roles, from developer, manager, product owner and scrum master, he’s done everything from hiring and building teams in startup environments to coaching teams for an organization with over 100k employees.

About the author

Jonathan Vanian's picture Jonathan Vanian

Jonathan Vanian is an online editor who edits, writes, interviews, and helps turn the many cranks at StickyMinds, TechWell, AgileConnection, and CMCrossroads. He has worked for newspapers, websites, and a magazine, and is not as scared of the demise of the written word as others may appear to be. Software and high technology never cease to amaze him.

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