Assurance Leadership Forum NORTH - 13 September 2018

The SECOND Assurance Leadership Forum NORTH will take place on Thursday 13 September 2018 at The Studio in Manchester.

Hosted by ROQ

Eventbrite - Assurance Leadership Forum - Wednesday 31 January 2018


13:30 Tea/Coffee
14:00 Introductions
14:15 Session A Session B

Ash Winter: Shift Testability

Mark Bargh: Seven Ingredients to Successful Software Releases
15:30 Tea/Coffee/Networking
16:00 Session C Session D

Simon Holland: In an uncertain world, what should we do to survive?

Duncan Nisbet: Surviving SAFe – Strategies for working within the Scaled Agile framework
17:15 Drinks Reception


Abstracts and Speaker Bios


Ash Winter: Shift Testability

Testers. Always worried about something. How will I survive an agile transformation? Almost fended that off and I have to survive "devops" somehow. You've shifted left and right so many times I imagine its hard to remember where you started from. The most effective direction of shift was always within a testers gift, but wasn't obvious to them. Usually struggling with hard to test systems and deploying the same tactics to cope:

  • Doing more testing?
  • Hiring more testers?
  • Bringing in SDETS to do automation?
  • Firing and hoping to forget into Production?

Time to shift our roles towards testability. Testable systems are easier to support and maintain. Being able to observe, control and understand systems is a unifying force across disciplines, from those who build to those who operate systems. So many testers talk about whole team approaches to testing but do not talk about testability. Without addressing testability, hard to test often defeats your desire for a whole team approach. 


Ash Winter is a consulting tester, conference speaker, with an eye for an untested assumption or claim. Veteran of various roles encompassing testing, performance engineering and automation. As a team member delivering mobile apps and web services or a leader of teams and change, he helps teams think about testing problems, asking questions and coaching when invited. 

@northern_tester |


Duncan Nisbet: Surviving SAFe – Strategies for working within the Scaled Agile framework

To bastardise a quote from Joi Ito’s fabulous TED Talk Want to innovate? Be a “now-ist”

“SAFe is what people do to you, safety is what you do for yourself”

In this session, we’ll look at strategies & techniques that you as a developer or their leader can use to make the most of your organisation’s decision to adopt SAFe.

Whether you’re experienced with or completely new to Lean & Agile ideas, transitioning to SAFe is going to disrupt your daily life as the entire organisation strives to come in sync & harness the systems thinking approach to product delivery.

Key Takeaways

  • A high level introduction to SAFe
  • How it should help your organisation
  • Typical challenges you’ll face transitioning to SAFe
  • Strategies for overcoming those challenges (& embrace the opportunities SAFe provides)


Duncan Nisbet is a tester who believes development teams & the larger business can be smarter at  working together. He coaches Testers, Programmers & Business folk on how they can help each other communicate & collaborate in order to deliver software which will actually help to solve the problem. His efforts are focussed both during the everyday development or in team workshops which he facilitates. Duncan also blogs at & lurks on Twitter @duncnisbet.


Mark Bargh: Seven Ingredients to Successful Software Releases

Too many software projects fail.

As testing professionals we constantly struggle to gain backing for some types of testing.

By creating a go-live checklist and seven areas of focus for the whole team I’m hoping they can be used as a driving force for stakeholders and the wider project team to understand the link between these go live criteria and transparent testing to inform them.

It empowers testing professionals move from peripheral and being regarded as somewhat irrelevant to key ,trusted advisers that help guide those critical decisions.

I want to discuss these seven areas in detail, to understand what the experiences that everyone has had with each area and where things can be missed. As well as opening up the debate on what hasn’t been consider or what we don’t need.


Mark Bargh is a founding director of ROQ and has more than 25 years of experience in the software industry. He has witnessed first-hand the myriad changes that have taken place as this dynamic sector has grown and become more complex. With a background covering the full project life cycle, Mark has performed numerous roles including project sponsor, project manager and programme test manager – giving him the broad perspective often needed to ensure programme success. Having also held strategic business roles within software testing consultancies, Mark currently oversees the operational and delivery aspects of ROQ, including the development of its methods, processes and services.


Simon Holland: In an uncertain world, what should we do to survive?

We live in uncertain times.

This is impacting the work we are doing as much as the world we are living in. In this position it’s hard to know what we should be turning in terms of how we move ourselves forward as QA and Test community

  • Should we become automation testers, is this where the future lies?
  • Do I need to learn how to code, do I need to be a developer as well as a tester?
  • Is the Test Manager role no longer required, should I become a Delivery Manager?
  • If I’m a tester in  an Agile skills then what are the skills I should be learning
  • Should I be a Test Coach, but what is a Test Coach

These are the type of questions that are causing uncertainty in my QA & Test team, and I hear it questioned both internally and externally as to whether we still need ‘testing’ as a separate discipline, “is this something that developers can do via automation”

In our transformation a key thing I have come to realise is that the value that testing brings is around the information we provide to stakeholders, not how we did our job, but what we discovered, and how we conveyed that information. Understanding the ‘why’ will then drive the ‘how’

In these uncertain times it is imperative that we focus on the value of information we provide to our stakeholders. We enable them to make the right decisions. Our value is in our communication and influencing ability.


  • How do we understand the value we bring in the SDLC
  • Where should we put our focus
  • How do we build a structure and process that ensures that the value that testing brings doesn’t get lost

Eventbrite - Assurance Leadership Forum - Wednesday 31 January 2018

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