Welcome to the latest edition of the Mitrais Newsletter.
As we enter the second half of 2022, we know many of our customers and partners get shorter of time as sales deadlines loom, finances need to be sorted and strategic plans are put in place for business in the rest of the year. Despite this being an unusually busy time of the year, we hope you will take a moment for yourself, to pause and read our Q2 newsletter, full of insightful stories into the world of Mitrais.
In this edition of the Mitrais Newsletter, we are focussing in on our ability to develop long-term partnerships, not only with our amazing clients but also with our incredible staff across the Mitrais business. We hope you enjoy this newsletter, and of course if there is any way we can help you with your software development requirements, you only need to get in touch.
At the core of what we do, Mitrais augments existing software development teams for businesses across Asia Pacific, allowing them to be more flexible, faster and more innovative. The Altrad Services Australian entity chose to partner with Mitrais to do exactly that, augmenting their in-house team with experienced developers from Mitrais to allow them to deliver quickly on technology projects. We are proud to act as a team within their team, providing in-depth knowledge of both technology and your business, to help you grow and thrive in a fast-paced market. Read more about the success Altrad has seen in their partnership with Mitrais.
Those of us in software development are aware that Scrum is the most commonly followed methodology for Agile teams, and this is supported by the recently published State of Agile report. What isn’t as clear, is how to implement key functionality, such as software testing, into this rather formulaic model for development teams. Our whitepaper discusses the challenges of implementing a robust software testing practice into the Scrum framework, and the roles and plans required to make sure that your software is deployed with as few bugs as possible. Of course, if you’re struggling with building out your Agile team, our specially trained, highly competent, and dedicated software developers are available to ensure you deliver a fantastic product every time.
Finally, Hendrawan Taufik, one of our Engagement Managers here at Mitrais, has truly developed a career with us. With more than 15 years’ experience across a wide range of roles at Mitrais, from Systems Engineer roles to .NET programming and then onto Customer Engagement, Hendrawans’s personal motto of ‘Less Talk, More Actions’ is evident in his career here at Mitrais. He is proof that the opportunities to grow, evolve and change are yours at Mitrais, and we are proud to share his story with you this month.
Enjoy this edition of the Mitrais newsletter.
Augmenting the Altrad Services Software Development Team in Australia
A flexible, fast and innovative software development team can be challenging to build – and so, the Altrad Services Australian entity chose to augment their local team with experts from Mitrais to give them the scaling capability required.
Altrad Services is a global entity specialising in industrial services, equipment, and products. They work in partnership with their clients to build, protect and extend the life of industrial assets, including things like scaffolding, rope access and protective coatings – all key elements in the industrial, construction and operations industries.
Mitrais is proud to have assisted the Altrad Services Australian entity in providing excellence across their emerging software development team.
In 2019, Altrad’s Australian entity began to foster an internal software development capability, which introduced some scaling issue and delivery timeframe challenges. As a business whose core business is not software development, there are times when Altrad’s internal software engineering unit need to fulfil technology requirements in a very short time span to assist in the complex resource planning of their projects.
The complexities of software development and the ability to deliver quickly on technology projects led them to an augmented software development model. A model that Mitrais prides itself on providing.
We act as a team within your team, allowing you to work with the same developers, with in-depth knowledge of your product and business, to ensure consistency of work and a quality output every time. “We keep a lean [local] software development team that can be scaled up by adding members to deliver on time-sensitive targets” says Asfar Sadewa, the Regional Business Systems Manager APAC.
Armed with the knowledge that Southeast Asia produces a significant number of quality developers, and having scanned the market carefully, Asfar was able to confidently choose Mitrais as the right company to augment his existing software development team. Our extensive experience with companies in APAC was the defining decision point on the choice of Mitrais as their trusted partner in software development for the Altrad Australian entity.
On their working relationship with Mitrais, Asfar states “It allows our company to maintain a lean software development team while being able to target larger deliverables which usually involves a much larger unit”.
While creating an expanded team seamlessly is not the simplest of tasks, Mitrais is able to make it look easy. We provide a range of tools and channels to allow teams to collaborate remotely, allowing the augmented software development team to have control and oversight over the entire build.
Mitrais offers Altrad Services the expertise of our wide talent pool of developers across Southeast Asia, which continues to bring out the best in their local team. “A large expertise pool with very broad industrial coverage allows us to learn best practices and adapt to improve our internal teams” says Asfar. By allowing Altrad to tackle larger deliverables and work on their continuous pipeline of innovative work in engineering and asset services, Mitrais is the perfect partner and complement the existing Altrad team perfectly.
By aligning our goals and expertise and being able to work flexibly with Altrad based on scope, requirement, and deliverables, Mitrais offers an agile approach to software development and team augmentation for Altrad. We look forward to continuing our partnership, innovation, and outputs for Altrad.
The Challenges to Implementing Software Testing in Scrum
Based on the State of Agile report in 2021, Scrum was found to be the most commonly-followed methodology for agile teams. Scrum is an iterative-based agile methodology introduced by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, who developed The Scrum Guide to create a definition around the idea of Scrum and its processes.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the challenges and the solution for implementing a robust Software Testing practice in Scrum, ensuring that your team is producing a quality product every time they deploy.
1. There is no Software Tester Role in a Scrum Team
According to The Scrum Guide, the scrum team is a cross-functional team, and in this structure, there is no specifically defined Software Tester role. All the team members, other than the Scrum Master and Product Owners, are considered as Developers. In resourcing a specific Scrum team, some organisations would opt to include a dedicated software tester in the Developers team, while some will not and may expect the developers to be the ones to take on the software testing role. If software developers are not equipped with software testing skills and specific experience in this field, then this could quickly become an issue, particularly for teams building complex products.
While ideally, we would like to have a software tester be included in the team, if we are utilising Software Developers as testers, then there are several options we have to reduce the impact of inexperienced software testers:
a. Define product back log items really specifically, including adopting the User Story format, using the “As a…” “I want to…” “So That…” format.
This format defines the software requirement purely from the user perspective. By using this format, we are also forcing the Product Owner to state on why the required feature is needed (or tracing the feature to the user requirement). This format will make it easier for the Scrum team member to design test scenarios and ensure that they are testing for a real-life use case rather than for a hypothetical, ensuring that any functionality is as per the user's expectations.
User Story Example:
As a car owner, I want to complete my user registration, so that I can post a free advertisement for selling my car.
As a homeowner, I want to simulate my mortgage payment, so that I can determine what my mortgage repayments will be.
b. Define acceptance criteria in the product back log by using the “Given-When-Then” format. Known as the Gherkin format, where the acceptance criteria has been defined using “Give -When-Then”, allows developers to understand the testing requirements and use cases to ensure that developers can test features based on a real-world user scenario.
Acceptance Criteria Example:
Given the visitor has accessed their user registration through the main page, when the visitor submits their user id, password, name and last name, then the visitor can login to the system using the newly created user id.
Given the loan term is 60 months, home value is $50k USD, down payment is $10k USD and interest rate is at 12% annually, when the user simulates the monthly payment, then the system will provide a calculation of the estimated mortgage repayment. (example updated, so it made sense with the one above)
c. Train the Developers team in software testing. There are free training courses available online, such as the BBST training material provided by Cem Kaner. The basic content, designed for beginners including the fundamentals of testing, bug reporting and some basic test design, can be covered in just a few days of training with some supervision.
2. Pressure to deliver in short time frames
The length of a Sprint in a Scrum is usually two weeks, although The Scrum Guide states that the maximum Sprint duration can be up to a month. This puts pressure on the development team to get things done quickly to satisfy all of the ‘Definition of Done’ requirements and quality measures for each individual Product Backlog committed to in that Sprint.
Specifically related to testing, there are some issues that usually come with this frenetic page:
a. Regression Testing takes time
As the developed product grows more in size, to do complete regression testing (and bug fix for any bugs found in that process) may take more effort and could cause delay for a sprint with a short duration.
To mitigate this risk, we can usually rely on more Test Automation for the repetitive testing that needed to be done throughout the product. However, not all organisation are equipped with the skill set and resourcing to do this properly.
Test automation is usually applied at various parts of a system, such as:
Test automation often focuses on testing the functionality and performance of a single part of the system. Penetration testing and installation testing can also be done through Test Automation, although again, appropriate skills and resourcing is key for this to be successful.
Not all kinds of regression testing are best performed through test automation, and there are some tests that may be better to be done manually. Test Automation is not a catch-all for testing, and needs to be applied carefully in your testing phase.
b. Testing (and bug fixing) the Product Backlog committed for the Sprint takes time
To properly develop, test and bug fix a feature or requirement may take more than two weeks; this is a challenge if the Sprint duration is also only two weeks!
To manage this, you need to ensure the size of the Sprint Backlog has been broken down to small manageable pieces so that proper testing and bug fix can be done prior to the Sprint Review. By working off smaller testing parts, you reduce the amount of time taken per test and per bug, allowing you to resolve issues more quickly than if you were testing a whole feature each time.
3. Tracking Bugs in Scrum
Most agile project management tools can be configured to act as a Scrum board, Kanban board, or bug tracking board; however, usually there is no option for the Scrum board to be integrated with bug tracking, even though there are often bugs found during the Sprint phase.
To mitigate this, it is best if the bug related to the Sprint Backlog item is tracked as a task from within the Backlog item, allowing you to keep all notes and requirements for a Backlog item in a single location. If the bug is not related to a current Sprint Backlog Item, we can create a new Backlog Item for this task in the Scrum Board.
4. No Test Plan required in a Scrum Project
While it seems there is no formal requirement to come up with Test Plan based on The Scrum Guide, it is important to find its equivalent within Scrum Methodology.
In Scrum Methodology, Definition of Done is defined for a group of product backlog items (or an increment) as the quality plan for the product increment.
To achieve ‘Definition of Done’ in Scrum, not just for coding activities, the Scrum Team must perform testing and bug fixing activities to ensure the items detailed in the ‘Definition of Done’ can be finalised. As therenot much guideline from The Scrum Guide on the type testing that we need to do across Agile projects, we can instead add and adopt the Agile Testing Quadrant as a guideline to plan for testing in Scrum projects. The Agile Testing Quadrant was created by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory based on Brian Marick’s post on the Agile Testing Matrix.
According to Scrum Methodology, by default only some of Q2 and Q3 tests are covered during the Sprint Backlog items ‘Definition of Done’, and during the Sprint Review and product presentation. Q1 tests can be missed if not included in the ‘Definition of Done’, and Q4 tests are usually just an afterthought during the development process. By considering the product release plan, we can use the Agile Testing Quadrant to remind us of the type of testing appropriate across the project so that these tests can be properly planned and incorporated into the Scrum process.
Q1 tests are usually automated, while Q2 tests can be automated. Q3 tests are executed manually by experienced tester and product owner. Q4 tests are usually automated and completed using special tools and reporting dashboards. When tests can be automated, we can combine them with the Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Deployment (CD) solution.
5. Utilizing Dedicated Testers in Scrum
Fully utilizing dedicated testers in scrum team sometimes can be a challenge especially in the early development where the testing tasks could still be limited and not much regression testing needed.
To mitigate this issue, we can utilize the testers as the following:
1) Assist product owner to improve the backlog items definition and acceptance criteria.
2) Automate test (API test, mock up test, Test through UI)
3) Perform non functional testing
4) Assisting scrum master in scrum and agile practices
So that software testers can be more effective in the scrum team they can be equipped with skills in Scrum Process, Agile Practices, Test Automation, DevOps and Software Requirement.
We can also add more testers to the scrum team at the later sprints as there are more testing tasks especially for regression testing that are needed to be done within the sprint.
Mitrais Software Testing Service
At Mitrais, we have adopted Scrum as the default software development methodology, and our Software Tester and Software Developer roles within a Scrum Team are trained in performing a wide range of software testing activities, despite their exclusion from the standard Scrum Methodology. We work with organisations across Asia Pacific to expand and augment their local teams with specially trained, highly competent, and dedicated Software Developers who are conversant in the latest methodologies and technologies, to ensure you deliver a fantastic product every time. If you need any assistance in performing testing in agile projects, you can contact us through our website.
Developing a Career at Mitrais – Hendrawan Taufik, Engagement Manager.
With more than 15 years experience across a range of different roles at Mitrais, Hendrawan Taufik is proof that opportunities to grow, evolve and change are available to you at Mitrais. Learn more about how Hendrawan has developed his career, founded on a passion for tech, through different roles, development languages, and job titles at Mitrais.
Born in 1985 and raised in Surabaya, Hendrawan is one of 3 kids and refers to himself as ‘the perfectionist’ amongst his siblings. This character trait has certainly held Hendrawan in good stead in his work as an Engagement Manager at Mitrais! He was always interested in playing video games, and it was these games that started him thinking about how the games worked and flowed, all good foundational thoughts for those working in programming of any kind. “I loved following gadgets news too at that time. I was quite up-to-date with handphones at that time” says Hendrawan. Sometimes, a passion for tech is developed early.
In 4th grade he moved to Banjarmasin, a more suburban area, and the hometown of his grandfather. It was here, at the young age of 10, that he in fact met his future wife, who had also just moved to the area. The two were inseparable at that age, from elementary through to university, even completing the same degree in IT. In 2007, they then both applied for jobs at Mitrais through the university Job Fair Expo and conducted the Job Test, supervised by Pak Andreanto. ‘The Three Musketeers’ (Hendrawan, his now wife and a good friend of theirs), were all accepted, and relocated to Bali to begin their careers at Mitrais. Hendrawan has been a valued employee of Mitrais ever since.
Hendrawan’s career at Mitrais has progressed steadily, working through System Engineer roles, and gathering additional training offered through the Mitrais Competency stream to transform from a COBOL developer through to a .NET programmer. “I have grown a lot at Mitrais,” says Hendrawan. “I have gained so much knowledge here, and I have many friends and colleagues across the professions within the company. Thanks to my seniors, managers, colleagues, and support staff who helped me reach the stage of my career that I’m at now.”
Hendrawan is still passionate about video games and technology and spends his downtime and holiday time on these hobbies while spending time with his family. “Most people say ‘every day is a holiday in Bali’, especially if you have your loved one beside you”, and so a stay-cation is one of his favourite things to do, capturing beautiful photos of the incredible Balinese landscape and Yogyakarta, where Hendrawan and his family now call home.
Hendrawan’s personal motto of “Less Talk, More Actions” is evident in his career trajectory at Mitrais. Growing from software engineering through new languages and into a management position shows that Hendrawans actions have truly helped him build a career to be proud of. “In my position now as Engagement Manager, I am still in awe that I can reach this point, where Mitrais gave me trust to be in this position” says Hendrawan. “I know I will still make mistakes, but I believe from mistakes we can learn something new, and we can grow to be a better version of ourselves.”
We love having you as part of our Mitrais Family Hendrawan, and we can’t wait to see you continue to grow and evolve.