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Left flank is falling! Continuous communication in the heat of battle

Imagine facing a horde of Viking men and women, armed to the teeth. Next to you are your brothers and sisters in arms, ready for combat. As your captain shouts ‘FORWARD!’ you move, a single line of fighters, to meet your opponent in battle. This is what Veerle’s weekends have looked like since she started doing Viking-age battle reenactment a few years ago. When she’s not out fighting, she works for Dutch Railways, first as a software tester, now as a scrum master. Getting more into team dynamics in her new role, she noticed a parallel between battle and software development: the winning teams aren’t the ones with the strongest individuals, but those that communicate the most effectively.


This talk will be all about the practicalities of communication within and between teams. Do you feel like you need to wait for the retro to bring up something that bothers you, only to then feel it isn’t important enough anymore? Do you think “I’m about to get fired” when your manager asks if you’ve got a minute? Do you hate receiving slack messages that just say ‘Hello’, to then get ghosted after you reply? Have you ever been extra motivated to finish a task because someone said how much it would mean to them, even though you already knew it was important? All of these are common experiences. Let’s talk about how to manage these. That, and we’ll talk a little bit of battle tactics.

What you’ll learn

From this talk you will learn:

Addressing some typical communication anti-patterns in Agile teams, such as limiting communication to scrum ceremonies.

Why setting expectations matters, and how you can do this through communication Making written communication clear and to the point, and helping others do this.

The power of encouragement and personal motivation - using communication to set and achieve goals as a team Continuous communication - keeping people in the loop even when there is nothing to update

Session details

Track 1

14:15h - 15:05h · May 30th

50 min keynote + 5 min Q&A

Topic: Testers and Teams

General Level

Keynote in English, Translated to Spanish


Veerle Verhagen

Veerle Verhagen is a former software tester, current scrum master with Dutch Railways. She is interested in agile testing, the human beings behind software, core skills for IT professionals, and tech ethics. When she’s not testing, she likes to put her background in education to use by creating and facilitating workshops. Ask her about: early medieval combat sports, her motorbike, her hopes to one day sail to the Channel Islands in a 6.5m sailboat.