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Grip on your Test maturity using the Ambition chart

Derk-Jan de Grood    
Valori - The Netherlands

Presentation abstract

Agile test teams access their effectiveness every sprint. The power of retrospectives is that they, when done well, focus on improving in small achievable steps. This ensures that progress is being made and is more than just a far away dream.

Despite the above, I experienced that in and around teams the proposed improvements are measured and valued against the maturity of the agile adoption. I noticed that in several situations people were judging the performance of the team and the proposed improvements against an implicit blueprint; small improvements were fine “for just now” and regarded as a “good first step”. The implication of the above struck me! We all had our own plan and expectations, but these were implicit and not transparent. In reaction I developed the ambition chart. It is a graphical one-pager that gives insight in the current state, the collective ambition and describes the next step to be taken.

The ambition chart can be used to:


  • Discus and align expectations and ambition that individual team members have and create a team goal.
  • To break big goals into smaller steps
  • To prioritize improvement suggestions made in the retrospective
  • To manage dependencies between different area’s of improvement
  • To focus on the next step that needs to be taken, without being distracted by the end goal
  • Manage expectations that management and stakeholders have, e.g. by clarifying that the team does a lot of things very well, but address that it has identified some improvements that are not yet on the agenda.
  • To visualize progress and tell success stories to the rest of the organization 


In this presentation I will explain how to make and use an ambition chart. I will explain situations in which it can be beneficial and share some examples of focus areas.


Speakers information

Derk-Jan de Grood works for Valori as senior test manager and agile transition coach. As consultant he helps originations with their Scrum adoptions and embedding the quality strategy. He is an experienced trainer, workshop host and a regular speaker at conference like Agile Testing Days, the Seoul Testing Conference, EXPO:QA, Freetest and the STAR conferences in Europe and America. He wrote several successful books on software testing and frequently publishes articles and columns for the major magazines. On his own blog he shares his knowledge and experience for everyone to benefit. In 2014 he won the EuroSTAR testing excellence award. In 2016 he published a new book: Agile in the real world, starting with Scrum.