Hardening sprints in SAFe
Blog

Hardening sprints in SAFe: how to add value to the project without coding and testing

Hardening sprints are regular activities in SAFe. Check out this blog post to learn how our QA team used them to the project’s advantage. 
17 April 2017
Agile
Quality assurance
The article by Vitaly Prus
Head of testing department at a1qa

As we mentioned earlier, SAFe divides the development timeline into a set of five sprints within a Program Increment (PI). However, that is not 100 percent true. There are four full-fledged sprints and a HIP sprint at the tail end of the series.

In this article, we’ll outline the HIP sprint purposes, values, and prospects from the point of view of QA.

What does NOT happen during the HIP sprint?

Ideally, coding and testing should be terminated before the HIP sprint kicks off. So there should be no developing and testing activities during the HIP sprint.

Then what?

The sprint title stands for hardening, innovation, and planning. Each of the components gives us a hint about the purposes of the HIP sprint.

HIP sprints
  • Hardening: Ensures that all PI objectives are achieved, and technical debt is reduced. Time is given to go through checklists again and demonstrate Potentially Shippable Increment (PSI) to stakeholders.
  • Innovation: Provides time for teams to turn up to a hackathon, pitch new ideas, or introduce some innovations.
  • Planning: Conducts Retrospective and completes the planning of the next PI.

HIP sprints in QA: no time for innovation. Why?

No doubt, HIP sprints provide great opportunities for creative guys to offer any new ideas and even try to put it in place. However, as for QA, reality is a bit different.

Most often, we use this time to finalize all tests that were left behind in the fourth sprint. The reasons why the tests weren’t complete in time vary: features delivery was halted, the number of defects grew, or there might arise one blocking defect that prevented the team from doing their job.

If the product release is around the corner, the QA team will be busy running final performance and integration tests that couldn’t be conducted before as every team was committed to their own user story.

It goes without saying that developers do enjoy greater opportunities during the HIP sprint.

But nothing is impossible, and we also managed to make time and think about the future. Developing automated scripts with the client’s data is what we were engaged in during the HIP sprint. These tests were launched every time before the service pack was delivered to the production.

Test automation enabled us to save about 30 hours of manual testing every two weeks. Moreover, automated tests help to increase test coverage: now we could apply them for every client, not for the single ones, as we did before.

That’s it! As you see, the HIP sprint is not a myth, but quite a real thing in SAFe. And while there’s no new functionality delivered, it brings great value to the project.

Now it’s your turn to speak up! Have you tried HIP sprints in SAFe? If using Scrum, how do you allow time for hardening and innovation activities? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More Posts

qa-trends-in-telecom
30 September 2022,
by a1qa
5 min read
4 telecom trends for 2023 and how to painlessly implement them with QA
It’s time to explore the telecom trends for the upcoming year. Let’s look at them together and also see the value that QA brings for their smooth deployment.
Cybersecurity testing
Migration testing
QA trends
Quality assurance
Test automation
why-do-bugs-get-missed
31 August 2022,
by a1qa
4 min read
Why do bugs get missed? Learn the problems and tips to avoid them
Still, finding overlooked bugs after the app goes live? Let’s find out why this happens and how to fix it.
Quality assurance
Test automation
Test automation in Agile
20 May 2022,
by a1qa
5 min read
Test automation in Agile and DevOps: Maximizing flexibility and speed
Global market tendencies and user behavior are changing rapidly, if not talking about the software itself. Familiar situation? Find out how to get ahead of the curve with test automation in Agile and DevOps.
Agile
Test automation
21 February 2022,
by a1qa
5 min read
Continuous testing 101: a comprehensive guide
So many companies take a chance to introduce continuous testing. What is it like, and how to smartly implement it? Let’s get to know in the article.
Quality assurance
Agile and DevOps in eCommerce QA_mini
30 September 2021,
by a1qa
5 min read
Agile and DevOps: Boosting the quality of eCommerce apps
What benefits do Agile and DevOps bring to eCommerce business, and how QA helps with that? Find it out in the article.
Agile
Quality assurance
AR/VR testing infographics mini
30 August 2021,
by a1qa
< 1 min read
AR/VR testing in retail: turning challenges into opportunities
Welcome to read the infographic on AR/VR in retail: new shopping experiences, issues, and how to address them with QA.
Quality assurance
Agile article mini
15 July 2021,
by a1qa
4 min read
How to handle the uncertainty with Agile: three-phase game plan
With the instability taking place even now, we are highlighting 3 steps to address uncertainty issues through Agile and deliver high-quality software.
Agile
12 April 2021,
by a1qa
5 min read
Watch out for 6 telecom trends and QA tips to implement them
In our article, we unleash the upcoming telecom trends and reveal how to be certain in introducing them correctly by applying QA practices.
Agile
Test automation
18 December 2020,
by a1qa
4 min read
Top 5 QA and software testing trends in 2021: responding to a global situation with ease
Rapidly approaching 2021, a1qa proposes to have a closer look at the most influential trends empowering QA teams to perform even more effectively.
Agile
QA trends
Test automation

Get in touch

Please fill in the required field.
Email address seems invalid.
Please fill in the required field.
We use cookies on our website to improve its functionality and to enhance your user experience. We also use cookies for analytics. If you continue to browse this website, we will assume you agree that we can place cookies on your device. For more details, please read our Privacy and Cookies Policy.