Anne DiSimone and Robert Sabourin

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Title: Gauging Software Health: Applying the “Apgar” score model to Software Testing

Overview: A baby is born. Within 10 seconds an “Apgar” appraisal has been done. Healthcare professionals embark upon a well-lit path. They know right away where further medical testing and interventions are required without having to sweat the small stuff.

“Apgar” is a medical heuristic. “Apgar” saves lives and helps medical teams direct and focus scarce resources. There are many software testing lessons which can be derived from Labor and Delivery Room Nursing, but one of the most valuable is the ability to perform really, really, early health assessments of a new born infant literally seconds after the delivery. Agile teams can apply “Apgar” methods to early stories, in early sprints, to help them learn what matters, what to focus on and to swiftly redirect a team’s development approach.

The medical “Apgar” score was originally developed in 1952 by Virginia Apgar, and has been a widely accepted heuristic guiding medical professionals in health care at the earliest stages of a patient’s life.

In software testing early, meaningful, assessments can help teams decide if they should dive deeper or accept the risks at hand. Traditional smoke testing and DEVOP release acceptance testing (RAT) challenge a products integrity before detailed or more involved testing takes place.

“Apgar” considers a simple rubric which asks practical questions from five dimension. Each dimension has three possible alternatives. In software engineering, pragmatic “Apgar” tests can open stakeholder’s eyes to simple but critical risks. “Apgar” applies whenever an object changes hands. In this presentation we look at a several examples of “Apgar” including Functional acceptance simple testing (FAST) provides a wide yet shallow view of a build instance; Layered testing (Onion skin) which can be directed to deeper levels as a result of assaying earlier risks; targeted quick stress testing; user experience lightning tests and others.

Husband and wife team Anne DeSimone, and Robert Sabourin, will present this highly entertaining, energized, talk filled with many examples and plenty of case studies drawn from Anne’s 35 plus years of OBGYN delivery room nursing and Rob’s 35 plus years of engineering software to get quality products to market quickly focusing on what matters when. They will even throw in a couple of group exercises to spice things up! Learn how “Apgar” helps team gauge software health early, effectively and efficiently.

Bio: Anne Sabourin, BScN, RN, has been caring for newborn parents at the Royal Victoria Hospital for more than twenty years. A tenured delivery room and surgical baccalaureate nurse, Anne has been involved in some of the most important pre-term and multiple birth deliveries in the history of McGill Teaching Hospitals including the successful birth of twins born thirty-nine days apart and children born at twenty-four weeks gestation. Anne pioneered telephone support for expectant parents in Quebec when she hosted Info Grossess, which was the two-year pilot project leading to the current Info Santé system in Quebec. When Anne is not working or taking care of her three adult children and three grandchildren, she enjoys painting, cooking, and gardening. Contact Anne at

Robert Sabourin, P. Eng., has more than thirty-five years of management experience leading teams of software development professionals. A well-respected member of the software engineering community, Robert has managed, trained, mentored, and coached hundreds of top professionals in the field. He frequently speaks at conferences and writes on software engineering, SQA, testing, management, and internationalization. Robert is the author of I am a Bug!, the popular software testing children’s book; an adjunct professor of software engineering at McGill University; and the principle consultant (and president/janitor) of AmiBug.Com, Inc. Contact Robert at Robert and Anne have developed Heart2Heart, a popular pre-natal course for expectant couples.