Wednesday, November 12 dawned very nicely in Potsdam.  A soft, gentle morning.  Not too cool, very gentle weather.  Not that many participants were up and going at the same time I was – it was an excellent reception last night and may people continued the festivities into the wee hours. 

The theme of the party was “Carnival” recognizing the German Carnival celebrations that start regionally in early November.  Costumes and dancing – to tie in with Carnival in Brazil, there were Brazilian dancers, drummers entertaining the group – the party grew louder with the announcement of the winners of the Software Testing World Cup finals contest (held Monday evening.)

The third place winners were the team from Romania – the Army Ants, European winners.  The second place team was The Annunciation from New Zeeland, the Oceana winners.  The winning, first place team was Cesar Brazil, from Brazil – the South American winners.

I spent time yesterday afternoon talking with Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory and (ahem) Joe Justice – from Scrum Inc (yeah, Jeff Sutherland’s company)


Joe Justice is presenting his keynote on How Test First Saved the World.  He works fro Scrum Inc.,and runs his own 501-C-3 – WikiSpeed.  Wikispeed is a cool company focused on making ultra-high efficiency, ultra-low emission, road legal, practical purposes.

Joe put together an entry for the X-Car prize – and the results were astounding.  They landed at the Detroit Auto Show, and then were contacted by other manufacturers.  They are now capable of producing cars – and have 1 in Germany (arrived last night) to be assembled at the conference.

This started by Joe setting up some stories – targets such as “build a car that is low emissions”, “build a car that is ultra-efficient” and “build a car that is road legal.”  He modeled components, such as the body designed in foam, then built the car that went on display at the Detroit Auto Show – and a fan saw the picture – mocked up some variations – and THAT is what is now available.

Wikispeed calls these techniques “XM” – Extreme Manufacturing.  They employ the core principles of Extreme Programming – Joe was a Java developer and Scrum coach before he turned into a car designer.

Using these techniques, SAAB is building combat aircraft at a fraction of the cost of the comparable combat aircraft in the US – the F35.  Which, by the way, still is not in production because of “software errors.”

These techniques are now in use at Lockheed Martin to fix the problems with the F35, and also at Boeing – and now at John Deere.

Tomes Law: Team Velocity+Portfolio Velocity = Transition Velocity – named for an embedded Scrum coach with John Deere.

What has been found in these organizations is that teams of 4-5 people make highly efficient teams.  Other companies, such as Raytheon and Tom Tom (the GPS folks) have applied these techniques and significantly reduced their backlog.

Joe was brought in to advise Unesco on stabilizing EU troubled economies.  Explaining how  Scrum worked, short iterations, short delivery and quick review – and now are looking at the way to revamp their company recovery plan – which used to require a 5 year plan with penalties for deviation from the plan – to an iterative approach for recovery.  Except now this needs to be tested.

The testers need to be able to support people by asking the right questions at the right time.

That is what we are supposed to do anyway, right?

Now – There are companies and organizations and countries that are working poorly that can work better.  Using Agile techniques in general and Scrum in particular can help people do better work and get those companies, organizations and countries out of trouble.

(Umm – Joe is going really fast – I hope that the someone else is catching stuff I’m missing)

Using Test First techniques wikispeed began building their cars using these approaches.  By using these techniques they can speed cycles and determine results of efforts faster.

Agile/Scrum – Reduces the cost to make change
Lean – Use less stuff
TDD – Build just enough stuff to save the world

That was the end of the keynote – perhaps a pretty good evaluation came from Huib Schoots – “That was an awesome keynote.”