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Derivco Case Study - Agile Training & Certification

By Planit Software Testing

INSIGHTS // Case Studies

2 Jul 2015

#Agile|#Gaming|#Training

INSIGHTS // Case Studies

#Agile|#Gaming|#Training

By Planit Software Testing

2 Jul 2015

Derivco is a Gaming Company built around a core value that people are at the heart of their success, and investment in those people is the foundation for their reputation for excellence. They have a deep understanding of the importance of quality, as a key area of focus in the organisation.

As part of their commitment to quality and career development, Derivco engaged Planit in providing Agile training for their team, becoming the first in South Africa to adopt the international accreditation. Due to the overwhelming success of this course, Planit was engaged for further training, delivering a total of 6 Agile courses over the space of 3 years, training in excess of 60 Derivco staff.

"I am pleased and impressed with the Agile course, as it lived up to my expectations.  Now 3 months after the course, I can see how my test teams have implemented changes that have come directly from the course, which has made us more efficient and effectiveI can clearly see the ROI from this investment and I intend on sending more people for Agile training.”

Neil Sukran, Head of Testing, IQ Lab, Derivco
(Participant in inaugural Agile introductory course)

Background

Having identified the need to strengthen their Agile testing practices and move towards greater efficiencies across teams, Derivco matched their learning objectives with the Agile course.

Derivco chose Planit as their training provider, with the first course being delivered on South African soil on 5-9 September 2011, training 12 of their team members. The instructor for this course was Planit’s experienced Agile Practices Consultant, Leanne Howard.

One year later, with interest in Agile rising, Planit joined with iSQI to explain this new course in a roadshow of events, presenting to an audience of over 250 attendees across Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. This also provided an excellent opportunity for Derivco and Planit to provide a retrospective on what lessons and practices had been implemented from the course.

”Our dedicated testing teams are essential to ensuring that every product Derivco releases has been stringently tested to eliminate defects and inconsistencies.”
Derivco Website

The Objective

Like many businesses, Derivco had a growing appetite for Agility, with shortened time-to-market business cycles. Meanwhile, they were being affected by a tough economic climate that dictated doing more with less. In such an environment, adopting Agile processes was seen as the way forward but how to get there was not as easy as it looked.

Derivco had started the transition to Agile but progress was inconsistent and depended on too many individual factors. More was needed to uplift the Agile testing capabilities and set in place a foundation from which to support their core values of Ownership, Passion and Care.

By strictly adhering to international ISO standards and extensively leveraging test automation, Derivco are able to successfully deliver on a significant numbers of complex projects every day.  These processes were complemented and testing efficiency enhanced by following the Agile Manifesto and Principles.

The Solution

The introductory Agile course is unique in that 75% is conducted in a practical, hands-on or a team-based workshop atmosphere. 

The course is structured to replicate the real world, from Release Planning through to the Retrospective and all activities and ceremonies in-between.

It gives testers the toolkit that they need in order to contribute significantly to successful team outcomes, based on four key building blocks:

  • Clear structures
  • Discipline
  • A common language
  • Methodology 

The course’s value is reflected in attendee feedback, with their takeaways including:

  • Understanding the principles behind the Agile approach to software development
  • Differentiating between the role of testers in Agile projects compared with the role of testers in non-Agile projects
  • Positively contributing as an Agile team member focused on testing
  • Appreciating the challenges and difficulties associated with the non-testing activities performed in an Agile team
  • Demonstrating a range of soft skills required by Agile team members

“At the heart of our reputation for excellence is our investment in our people.”
Derivco Website

Outcomes

Derivco’s decision to pursue the Agile course proved to be an effective investment in their people, building participants’ skills and knowledge while challenging them to reach their full potential.

According to Alan Prawlall’s feedback a few short weeks after the training, some of the most successful initiatives that were implemented post course included:

  • Planning Poker – People are no longer being influenced, rather using the cards to guide estimates and the related discussions.  We are getting better each time we use it!  We now know that with around 80 points we we can agree what will be included and completed within a Sprint.
  • Teamwork – We have already passed the ‘norming’ stage and will be reaching the ‘performing’ stage shortly.
  • Team – The barriers that existed are changing one piece at a time. We now refer to Developers, Testers and Project Manager’s as ‘the team’ which actually helps in the way the people begin to think as there is NO more “them and us”.
  • Processes – We have reworked the priority boards and are using stand ups far more efficiently, making use of what was done yesterday, discussing what we aim to achieve today and addressing any impediments.

Derivco were exceptionally pleased with the Agile training given by Planit.

“This is one of the most challenging courses I have been on to date, yet once passed, gave me a feeling of accomplishment that no other course had provided.”
David Williams, Derivco

Conclusion

The on-going support that Planit has provided Derivco post training has built a strong relationship between the organisations. As Derivco's Agile training partner of choice, Planit has now run six Agile courses for them over the space of 3 years.

The value of the introductory Agile course lies in how easily the ideas and concepts can be translated into the day-to-day activities, helping to get high quality software out the door. This value has been realised by Derivco and many other organisations across the globe.

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