Meet the Speaker: Lisa Crispin


Meet the Speaker: Lisa Crispin.

What’s your session topic?

We’re going to explore how to question requirements for each story, ways to elaborate and build shared understanding among the whole delivery team. Participants will get a chance to take a one-line user story and practice the types of questions that help the team discover the story’s value. We start by asking why. What’s the purpose of the story, what is the goal? How can we measure whether the story achieves that goal once it’s released to production? Who benefits from the story? There are several useful frameworks to help guide these conversations, we will try out a couple of them.

Why is your topic important?

If you’ve ever been a “customer” needing software, you’ve experienced this: it’s hard to know what you want until you get your hands on the keyboard and try it! We humans have a tendency to ask for an implementation, rather than start with a specific, measurable goal and leave it up to the team to decide the best way to implement. If the whole team, including testers, developers, product owners, analysts, operations and others understands the purpose of each feature and each story that is part of that feature, we can save a lot of churn and wasted effort.

What are the prerequisites should the audience have for attending your session?

Curiosity! This is about asking good questions. As Pete Walen has said, “QA” stands for “Question Asker”. Testers are especially good at thinking of questions that others don’t think of. But this is something everyone on the team can learn to do better.

How long have you been in this industry?

Lisa started out her first programming job in 1982! She moved into testing in the early 1990s and joined her first Extreme Programming team in 2000.

What is one of those things you wish you knew when you started out in this industry?

Lisa wishes she had realized what a great approach her team was using back in 1982. It anticipated the “agile” principles that would come out 20 years later, collaborating with everyone on the team and working directly with the customers. Instead, Lisa got sucked into the waterfall world. Waterfall can work fine if the teams follow good technical practices such as continuous integration and TDD. But, in today’s world, customers expect products that respond to change and they want new value delivered frequently.

Have you spoken at or attended SwanseaCon before?

It’s our first year!

What made you want to speak at SwanseaCon this year?

Lisa heard so many people talking about it last year, she was keen to participate this year.

Are there any sessions other than your own which you are looking forward to?

It’s one of those conferences where there are multiple sessions at the same time that all sound compelling. Lisa is keen to see Gem Hill’s “Anxiety under Test” talk. She’s a fan of both of Gem’s podcasts. Lisa also looks forward to Lisi’s report from her pair testing journey, that is so inspiring!

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