What will happen after “fat”?

I think most development teams probably describe themselves as “agile” and probably most development teams have standups and meetings called retrospectives.There is also a lot of talk about “fat”, a lot has been written about “fat”, and there are many performances about “fat”. A frequently asked question is what comes after “fat”. Many testers work in “agile” teams, so this question is important to us.

Before we can think about what comes after agile, we need to think about what agile is. Agile is an iterative and incremental development methodology. Agile teams develop software in iterations, and each iteration builds toward the team’s goal. An agile team may decide after a time or two that the goal they are working towards needs to change and start working on a new goal. Iterative work makes a team flexible because it can change direction quickly and easily. There are several agile methodologies and one of the most widely used is scrum.

What is agile?

When we think about how to define what agile is, we tend to gravitate towards the Agile Manifesto, which was created in 2001, but before the Agile Manifesto there were agile ways of working. The earliest iterative and incremental development I found was at Bell Telephone labs in the 1930s. Walter Schuhart was an engineer at Bell Telephone Labs in his lectures in the 1930s, he introduced the concept of a straight-line, three-step scientific process of specification, production, and verification.[1]. He continued to revisit this idea in a cycle[2]. The creation of this cycle has been described as part of the evolution of the scientific method[3] and it became known as the Shewhart cycle. The cycle is shown in the diagram below.

The cycle is sometimes known as the Plan-Do-Study-Act-Cycle. A team using the Shewhart cycle plans a change or test, then the team will do, which means execute the change or test. The team will then examine the results of the change or experiment to take into account what they have learned before acting on what they have learned. The team will then repeat the cycle and move on.

V. Edwards Deming said that the cycle is a useful procedure to follow to improve something in the production phase. He also said that at the end of the cycle, the team can tear up the work they’ve done before and start over with fresh ideas, and that doing so is “a sign of progress.”

Deming said the reason for research was to “try to learn how to improve tomorrow’s products.” [4] The Deming Cycle is sometimes called the Plan Do Check Act. Deming did not like replacing the word study with the word verify because learning is an important part of the cycle. He felt that the word check was inaccurate because it meant “to restrain.” [3]

The “Shewhart Cycle” was included by Deming in his lectures to senior management in Japan in 1950, and the cycle was used in Japan as the Deming Cycle. [4]

What is the Deming Cycle?

The Deming cycle has also been described as the Deming wheel because it simply turns without a beginning or end. All four parts of the Deming cycle can be drawn inside the circle as below. This means that the four parts of the cycle are related to each other and that there is no hierarchy, as can be seen in the diagram below:

Deming cycle

Scrum is one of the most widely used agile methodologies, and Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-creators of scrum, has written that the Deming Cycle is how scrum development is done.[5] He also says that retrospectives are the “check-in” part of the Plan-Do-Revise-Act cycle, and says it’s important to get the team to change and improve their process by moving into the action part of the cycle. . It’s helpful for software testers that retrospectives are designed to be used this way, because we want to help the teams we work with improve quality. Testers can use retrospectives to raise issues that help improve quality. Sutherland says that he teaches people to use Scrum by asking them to use the Deming cycle to build paper airplanes, and that the third time they make much better paper airplanes.

The Deming Cycle is the heart of agile because it is the cycle that enables teams to change and improve quickly. A loop allows you to make changes on each iteration of the loop. However, is this how resilience is understood? Do we sometimes work in teams that describe themselves as “agile” but don’t use the “Deming Cycle”? Is “flexible” sometimes described by its ceremonies rather than using the cycle? Are teams using “agile” for continuous improvement as recommended by Deming and Sutherland?

New ideas such as “Jobs must be done” continue to be influenced by the Deming cycle. Alan Clement describes the Jobs to be Done progression system as a cycle and says that his cycle is not an original idea because it comes from the Deming cycle.[6]

Lin was also influenced by the Deming cycle. Lean is the American description of Japanese manufacturing systems and stems from MIT research[7]. Of particular interest in the study was the Toyota Production System. Deming worked in Japan after World War II, where he helped rebuild the Japanese economy. Jeffrey C. Liker says, “The Deming cycle embodies the learning cycle in the Toyota production system.” [8]

Teams and testers can develop their understanding of the cycle by reading the books referenced below, using Deming Institute resources, and using the Deming Cycle.

Teams can learn to use the cycle by planning an initiative, then executing the planned work or test, then examining the results of their work, and then acting on what they’ve learned before repeating the cycle.

Testers can help their teams understand the Deming cycle by using plan-do-study-act for testing. When we test, we plan the test, for example, we write a test charter, then perform software testing, then examine the test result, and then act on the result, as shown in the diagram below:

software testing

Teams should not be put off by the Deming cycle of creating a new structure for their team. The Deming Cycle creates a new structure for the team, as a team using the Deming Cycle must first plan, then execute the work or test they have planned, then study the effect of the work or test, and then act on what the team has. to learn Using the Deming cycle can seem demanding because it imposes a new structure on the team. However, all teams have structures that place limitations on them. If the team always schedules its meeting on a certain day of the week, this practice limits the team. How often a team releases their work also constrains the team. If a team releases once a month, that monthly release will cause the team to work towards that release. If the team is releasing multiple times a day with continuous delivery, then this will create a different limit for the team. All teams want to improve their work and improve their products, and they will find that using the Deming cycle will help them improve their processes and products.

Undoubtedly, something will happen after “fat”. It will have a new name and I think it should have new “ceremonies”. However, will the Deming cycle be replaced by what replaces agile?

The Deming Cycle is a profound philosophical insight that has been used by engineering teams to improve quality for nearly a hundred years and continues to influence new ideas. It seems unlikely that the Deming cycle will be replaced after agile because it was so innovative, so useful, and still in use all these years later.

It would be great if the new way of working that comes after agile creates a deeper understanding of the Deming cycle, as it helps teams learn, improve how they work, and improve the products they produce.

Links:
[1] Walter Shewhart Statistical Method From a Quality Control Perspective
[2] Craig Larman and Victor R. Repeated and incremental development of Basil. brief history”
[3] Ronald D. Moen and Clifford L. Norman comes back, debunking the myths about the Deming Cycle and seeing how it continues to evolve.”
[4] W. Edwards Deming to get out of the crisis
[5] Jeff Sutherland “The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time”.
[6] Alan Clement When coffee and cabbage compete
[7] Alan Altshuler, Martin Anderson, Daniel Jones, Daniel Ross, and James P. The future of Womack Automotive
[8] Jeffrey K. Liker The Toyota Way

Additional training.
deming The next eLearning
W. Edwards Deming to get out of the crisis
W. Edwards Deming New Economics

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