Agile Testing

Some authors are good at presenting theories but unable to connect them to practice. Other are good at telling stories from the trenches, but without being able to produce an analysis of the situation and propose some solutions. On the less examined domain of agile testing, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory are, luckily for us, presenting a book that covers both the personal experience of being a tester in agile projects and a conceptual vision of the place of quality assurance in software projects. Thus you will find in this book “stories” that comes from past projects and “mind maps” that helps to have a high-level vision of the material of each chapter.

The book offers resource to organize the quality assurance and testing activities in an agile project. It explains also the relationship between test automation and agility. It provides also a part dedicated to the chronicle of the agile testing activities during project life, showing how every member of the team could contribute to quality.

I think however that the more interesting contribution of the book is Testing Quadrants. This concept classifies testing activities depending on their focus (technology or business) and their intent (supporting the team or validating the product). Adding an agile perspective to the original work of Brian Marick, the authors provide resources and examples for each quadrant to make sure that you will cover all the aspects of testing for your project.

This book is certainly a very valuable resource for every people involved in software testing, even if this is not in an agile project. It will also be valuable for ScrumMasters and project managers that have to think on how to integrate the testing activities in their projects.

Disclaimer: Lisa Crispin has been a (valuable) contributor to Methods & Tools since 2003

Reference: “Agile Testing”, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, Addison Wesley, 533 pages, ISBN 978-0-321-53446-0

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“We define an agile tester this way: a professional tester who embraces change, collaborates well with both technical and business people, and understands the concept of using tests to document requirements and drive development. Agile testers tend to have good technical skills, know how to collaborate with others to automate tests, and are also experienced exploratory testers. They’re willing to learn what customers do so that they can better understand the customers’ software requirements.”

“Testers cling to the concept of an independent QA team for many reasons, but the main reason is fear, specifically:

* Fear that they will lose their QA identity

* Fear that if they report to a development manager, they will loose support and programmers will get priority

* Fear that they lack the skills to work in an agile team and will lose their jobs

* Fear that when they’re dispersed into development teams they won’t get the support they need

* Fear that they, and their managers, will get lost in the new organizations

We often hear of QA managers asking questions such as “My company is implementing agile development. How does my role fit in?”. This is directly related to the “loss of identity” fears.”

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