How to make life easier for product owners.

kreuzwerker provided Room49 GmbH DevOps and test management services for the development of Celepedia (a Wiki/news platform about celebrities).

Room49 GmbH was a subsidiary company of Axel Springer SE. Their first product is a community platform to share knowledge and gossip about celebrities.

The Project

kreuzwerker supported the Room49 GmbH with DevOps and Test Management Services. This case study deals with the ramp-up of the test management. The project was divided into two teams. One team was responsible for developing the software, the other for content and editorials.

The Problem

Problems emerged at an early stage. There was no dedicated product owner role, no common sense of how a user story should be structured and no clear goal for the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Both teams were busy with ramping up the technology stack and their editorial strategy respectively. The software developing team had already hired a software test engineer, but a fitting test strategy could not be applied due to the missing requirements base.

The Solution

The project teams introduced a product owner. This person was responsible for transforming the requirements of the stakeholder into user stories and mapping them in a backlog. The backlog got reworked, prioritised and shaped into a minimal viable product. A scrum process with 2-week iterations was introduced. The software test engineer worked closely with the developer and collaborated with our test manager. The test strategy was defined as a mash-up of various elements: Automated user acceptance tests with Cucumber combined with manual test management that supports the product owner and translates user stories into user scenarios and test cases using Gherkin.

Our Contribution

Our test manager supported the product owner on a daily basis by reviewing and rewriting the user stories. In a second step, we expanded the user stories by adding acceptance criteria and user stories written in Gherkin. Those user scenarios were the base for the software test engineer to automate user acceptance using the Cucumber framework.

We introduced user-story-grooming to create a heads-up for the upcoming iteration and buy time to prepare the user stories for backlog grooming with the whole development team. Product owner and test manager or software engineer would do the business check together and prepare the iteration review. On-top-edge cases and hard-to-automate test cases were structured and documented in the test management tool TestRail. TestRail itself offers a Jira integration, making bugs easy to reproduce using the steps of a test case.

The Benefit

The key benefit was to reduce the work load for the product owner and allowing the whole team to keep focus. Our test manager collaborated with the product owner and stakeholder so that knowledge gaps got reduced to a minimum. One side effect was a test-driven user-story-creation process that helped to improve the quality of the backlog and the outcome with each iteration. The team was able to test the environment by releasing continuously. The prepared Gherkin user scenarios enabled a fast developing process of test automation scripts. The running tests were visible on a team monitor and understandable for people with a non-technical background.

The whole team, product owner and stakeholder included, evolved a quality mindset. This benefits the product, both in terms of content and software.