This presentation will show how agile techniques can be applied to testing complex systems, in this instance testing automotive electronics subsystems and system.  The selected project method for development of the entire vehicle project was stage gate. The system developed consisted of many electronic control units many of which were stage gate developed though not all. 

The test and verification of the entire system was handled using an agile approach including an adaptation of some of the artifacts.  The product backlog was the more than 100 system definition documents. 

We will show how agile can do more than develop the product but be used to test a product or system that was itself built using stage gate.  We will demonstrate the prioritization scheme as well as daily tracking of the rate of accomplishment per a fixed amount of time as well as information regarding the defects reported.  

Since this was a regulatory project, communications with the conventional project manager and executive needed to be succinct and unambiguous.  We will show these metrics and how these were generated by the team with little burden.


  • See how the sprint backlog is the prioritized list of tests required of the product - prioritized by need and failure consequences for the stage gate project
  • See how scrum can easily interface into a stage gate project through short increments and objectives in this case defined by the test objectives
  • Learn how the results from the daily sprint meeting provide information that connects the sprint to the stage gate project objectives
  • Learn about the focus that time boxing brings as we conduct our work in the service of stage gate with a sprint is a 6 week period
  • See how the burndown chart is adapted to provide progress reporting to the stage gate project
  • Demonstration of the power of a largely self-directed work team
  • A demonstration of the ability to quickly adapt to the situation on the ground through informal communications
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Outline/structure of the Session

  1. Situation
    1. project description / objective
    2. describe the system
    3. scope of testing
  2. Objective
    1. verify software and communication changes to system (many electronic control units)
    2. quickly report issues (fault reports to various global and vendor development departments)
  3. Approach
    1. iterations and prioritization (function growth)
    2. team and assignment distributions
    3. burn up chart
    4. actual performance
    5. rate of defects
  4. Results
    1. iteration results
    2. test coverage percentage
    3. fault reports over iterations
    4. team learning
  5. Aftermath
    1. description of the system quality
    2. post launch failures compared to previous comparable projec

Learning Outcome

There are many ways to set about testing the product.  We can apply agile approach to testing even when our organization employs a stage gate approach.  The group will also gain some insight into test metrics that can be used no matter the approach that will enable clear and concise articulation with project management, line management and executive staff.

Target Audience

Testers and Test Planning people

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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