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Friday, August 18 • 4:15pm - 5:15pm
From 6 to 60: Our Scaled Agile Testing Journey

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When the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Program Management Information System Generation 2 (G2) project launched in 2007, our executive sponsor stood in front of the project team and stated what we already knew: “I’m a very demanding customer. I know what I want. I wanted it yesterday. And I reserve the right to change my mind.” This talk will share our experiences in establishing testing as an integral part of the development process, how we focus testing on what matters and how we have come to think about processes.

Since the beginning of the G2 project, testers have come from one company and developers have come from at least three different companies, all working to server customers located at DOE headquarters, about 500 miles away. How did we set up testing and testers to help the project succeed? First, it’s the relationships. Good relationships meant we needed to spend time with customers and our developer teammates. We needed to understand their different worlds and find ways to bridge them. Second, it’s what we set out to do. We defined our role on the team. We wanted to know whether the end product really solved the business problem, and we wanted the customer to be able to make good business decisions. Testing is not the gate keeper; it’s a partner in the overall quality of the product and the end-user experience. Third, it’s about a process that lets people focus on what’s important and protects them from rash reactions under pressure. We learned that processes can be our friend. We devised processes to facilitate communication and build in transparency so we could deliver the highest-quality product for the longest sustained time. People are accountable to the process, and the process protects people. We can break the rules, but the process requires we do it with our eyes open. When the process stops working, we change it.

In 2007, the G2 project launched with one scrum team of six people serving one NNSA program: the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI). Over the past ten years, the project has grown into an enterprise solution developed by a team of over 60 people divided into six scrum teams serving six NNSA programs. The original application helped the GTRI program to grow from approximately $95M of nuclear non-proliferation projects to nearly $400M in less than three years without adding any additional federal staff. Today, the G2 system integrates existing Headquarters and Laboratory scope, schedule, more than $2B of annual budget and metrics information at the project level, creating a single repository of participating program data and providing execution-level modules for management oversight, data collection, analysis and tracking. Users can access the massive data set collected through GIS graphical representations, on-demand reports and business intelligence capabilities. Throughout the G2 project’s entire life, Acato has served as the sole independent test team. In 2010, the project was the first federal project to be recognized by the Project Management Institute as Project of the Year, and the Acato team’s approach to software quality was cited as a key reason for the award. The project was more recently recognized by the National Defense and Industrial Association (NDIA) for Enterprise Information with a 2015 Excellence in Information Award, and by NNSA with a 2015 Excellence Award from NA-50.

Our talk will share the history of this project, the challenges we faced and our current processes.

avatar for Cathy Toth

Cathy Toth

Acato Information Management
For more than 20 years, I’ve combined engineering and analysis skills with innovative approaches and attention to detail to help my customers succeed. I started Acato Information Management, LLC in 2010, a company specializing in Software Quality Assurance in an effort to provide... Read More →

Friday August 18, 2017 4:15pm - 5:15pm CDT
Canal A