A short spiel on Agile

As always I keep hearing people talking about Agile ‘methodology’. Many of them do it because of ignorance. They have heard about the word, have read someone’s article or LinkedIn post and now they seem to know Agile. Whether it is Agile with a capital ‘a’ or not, they don’t know; or don’t care. After all they know about ‘agile methodology’.
Methodology or not?
Let’s look at the definitions. We are not studying etymology, but understanding the meaning of the word will guide this discussion. I looked at dictionary meanings as well as Wikipedia ones. Wikipedia is a good source of information, but we should be aware that it is not an utmost authentic source of knowledge. The reason I looked at Wikipedia definition is because it provides what we call common knowledge. Unless you are a (good) tester, chances are that you wouldn’t complain or question the definition. If you do, then you would probably investigate and hopefully change the definition in Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia definition of methodology:
Methodology is the systematic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. It comprises the theoretical analysis of the body of methods and principles associated with a branch of knowledge. Typically, it encompasses concepts such as paradigm, theoretical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative techniques. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodology)

In other words, a methodology is a way of doing certain things that is widely accepted.
Agile does not define a specific way or custom for doing things, especially developing software. It does not prescribe anything. It is a widely accepted word, mostly mistaken for a methodology, but it is not a particular way of doing things.
Framework
When I typed ‘framework’ in Google, the definition that I saw was: “a basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text.” 

Wikipedia definition of software framework is a complicated one and hence I decided not to discuss that here. I did not see value in that. Instead, I offer an easy definition:

A framework is a structure around an idea or concept that provides enough details so that it can either be reused as-is or be further developed by different people in different shapes.
The above definition makes SCRUM is a framework because it prescribes a way of doing things. If you do not do Sprints, you don’t do SCRUM.  Even XP ‘practice’ is somewhat prescriptive with its values. 

Agile has no structure of its own. It is a like an ice cream parlor where you go and ask for a specific flavor but do not ask that you would like to eat the parlor. (I have read this analogy before, but not sure where).
Agile as a Value Center:
‘Agile is a set of values.’ Partially correct. But Agile is not just a set of values.
Agile guides other methods, frameworks, approaches and practices through its values and principles. Different frameworks follow different values but they still follow the Agile principles. I mentioned XP values (the mnemonic I use for this is SCCRF). SCRUM or DSDM may follow different values than XP, but their values still fit well into those core values and principles. Same applies to all other flavors, methods and approaches of Agile. They all sit under the same umbrella, the Value Center.

Test Engineering Alliance Melbourne (TEAM)- Connecting Testers!


Any profession or skill grows when it gets support from community. I have been part of various testing and IT communities across the world. So when I moved to Melbourne, I started looking for testing communities which were doing good work. I found few groups which were more ad-hoc in nature. Some of them were set up as part of the marketing strategy of their parent organisations. After searching for few months, I approached Erik Petersen and 
Lee Hawkins in the beginning of 2015. 
We had many discussions among us and with others in the CDT community of Australia about launching a meetup group. Everyone in the community supported the idea of having a meetup in Melbourne as it lacked a solid group that was focussed on the advancement of testing. AST supported us through the Grant program.
We had our first meeting on July 03. The event was sold out and there were about 17 people in the waiting list until last minute. We had limited the number to 35 due to space constraints and we expected 20-25 people to arrive. For our surprise, almost everyone who RSVPd for the event, arrived. I must thank Colin Cherry for his support while we were busy organizing the event even after his personal commitments and travel to Europe.
The event started with me introducing the meetup, the motivation behind commencing it, how we derived the name, about our CDT inclination and benefits of becoming part of a group like this. I acknowledged AST and other sponsors like Chandler Macleod and Test Insane for their support.
After my introduction, Lee presented about his experience of attending and presenting at the Nordic Testing Days conference. He gave some background on the conference, showed pictures of beautiful Estonia, told audience about the NTD attendees and renowned speakers at the event. The important part of Lee’s presentation was about telling our audience the benefits of attending conferences and how to convince bosses for conference attendance approval.  At this point, Lee rightly introduced SpeakEasy programme to all.
The next up were the Lightning talks. Before the event we had asked meetup attendees to submit proposals for their topics and there were two volunteers interested in giving talks. Erik had agreed to MC the lightning talks and he also volunteered for giving a talk himself. So we had three lightning talks lined up. Erik gave his talk first and explained the Heuristics Testing Table that Test Insane had sent us. We also gave away the tables as a reward to the speakers. Erik also talked about a little puzzle game to illustrate the use of testing heuristics which got everyone interested. Next came Pavan with his very interesting slideshow which used some cool graphics. He spoke on “The Age of the Divergent Tester”, an interesting topic around psychology and how we think as testers. Last, my colleague Paul Crimmins gave his talk and shared his experience of undertaking the BBST Foundations course, run by the AST. Both Paul and Pavan were first time speakers and it was great to see them volunteering to give a lightning talk.
After the lightning talks, we decided to have a 10 minute networking break. It was good to see people chatting and networking over drinks and food. The event was after work hours and it was important to arrange for some food to keep energy going for dice games which were planned after the networking session. When I spoke to Lee about dice games when we were planning for the event, we assumed that there will be a lot of interested people participating in the Dice game. Considering that I bought a lot of dice of various designs which gave Lee an opportunity to laugh because there were so many of them. Anyway, the game proved to be blockbuster and if I hadn’t stopped the two groups playing, the games would have continued overnight.  A simple game, but it’s amazing to see how it challenges the critical thinking.  I got feedback from meetup attendees afterwards who want the Dice game to be part of all next events.
When we chose the date of this event I was a bit concerned that being a Friday not many people may show up. I was indeed excited to see so many passionate testers who gathered to talk about testing, learn more about it and network with others. Our main motto behind starting this meetup was for Connecting Testers, which this meetup proved right.
The pictures from the event can be seen at:
The blog post from Lee about the meetup is here:
For all those who would be interested in learning more about this meetup and even in joining it, below are the details:
TEAM Twitter handle: @AussieTesters
TEAM LinkedIn group: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=6968269