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Agile Teams: Advocating Quality When Collaboration Becomes Groupthink

Gerie Owen    
Eversource Energy - USA

Presentation abstract

Does your agile team overestimate its velocity and capacity? Is the team consistently in agreement with little discussion during daily standups, iteration planning or review meetings?  Is silence perceived as acceptance?   If so, collaboration may have become groupthink.  Advocating for quality can be  challenging for testers in this situation.  Aspects of the agile team that are meant to foster collaboration including self-organization and physical insulation may also set the stage for groupthink.  Groupthink is the tendency of groups to minimize conflict and reach consensus without fully analyzing all aspects of their ideas.  One way to mitigate groupthink is by using CDE.  Container Difference and Exchange are factors that influence how a team self-organizes, thinks and acts as a group. 

In this presentation, I’ll review the factors leading to groupthink, show how to recognize the symptoms and develop some ways of preventing it.  Then using CDE theory, I’ll show what managers can do to positively influence the agile team without interfering in its self-direction.  You will learn how to apply these concepts to their own teams and use them become high performing teams and testers will learn how to manage groupthink in their pursuit of quality.

Speakers information

Gerie Owen is a Test Architect, Certified Scrum Master, Conference Presenter and Author on Testing and Test management topics. She is developing a test center of excellence and consults on test processes and tools.  She has implemented the offshore model, developed and trained new teams.  Gerie manages large, complex projects involving multiple applications, coordinates test teams across multiple time zones and delivers high quality projects on time and within budget. She enjoys mentoring new QA Leads and brings a cohesive team approach to testing.  Gerie chooses her presentation topics based on her testing and test management experiences, what she has learned from them and what she would like to learn to improve them. Gerie’s website is, her blog, Testing in the Trenches, and @GerieOwen on Twitter.

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