Consequences of the Agile Approach - Agile Testing

The adoption and use of an agile approach to developing the Wiki proved to be very successful. In terms of the general success criteria for the project, I am able to provide the following information.

  • Budget – Although there was no explicit budget to meet(except for the implicit time I spent performing the work and that of my colleague, who provided ad hoc pair development and testing support across the later weeks of the project), I needed no additional effort or resources(aka money)to complete the project. Since I had planned to complete the work in four weeks, but actually took five, you might argue that I had overrun by 25%. However, in reality the additional week was an extension that I negotiated with the customer and project manager to allow the incorporation of further features that the customer requested after seeing what the system could do for them as they observed the development of the prototypes and full functionality of the evolving Wiki.
  • Timescales – As I described earlier, the initial four-week allocation for the project grew to five weeks. This is a difficult issue to deal with in this case study. For while I was delivering customer satisfaction by implementing additional features that they requested(and which I formally agreed with both the customer and my project manager), we were not really operating in a commercial environment. My time was in effect free to my boss(aka the project manager), the software I was developing was not a commercial bespoke system(in fact, it was only really intended for internal use by our team), and bottom line, was not commercially critical to the success of our company.
  • What I can say is that, if this had been a full-blown commercial project to deliver a business-critical system, with contractually binding budgets and timescales, I would have looked to agree the requested changes from the customer with my project manager and, if appropriate, would have proposed an additional charge to the customer to cover the additional work.
  • Quality – Overall, the quality of the delivered system has been good. So far there have been no serious defects identified, and five minor issues reported to me following final delivery, requiring trivial reworking and retesting of the system (about two hours in total, or about 1.85% of the total project time).
  • I can report that, in the initial iterations of the project(when there was no pair programming and test resource available), we identified about half a serious defect per week and some six minor issues. During the last two weeks, when I was able to implement pair development and test, this fell to an average of zero serious defects per week and three minor issues. Although the sample size is a little small for formal statistics, my feeling is that we “doubled the quality” by employing pair development and test–which is also my estimate for overall productivity(i.e., more than twice the productivity compared with single-person development).
  • Customer satisfaction – The delivered Wiki has been a great success, with not only my own team using the system, but with our project manager also providing links to the Wiki to the managers of other groups we work with within the organization. (There is definitely an element of showing off here, although my manager justifies sharing access to the other groups as “showcasing our capabilities.”) In formalterms:
  1. The system has been acceptance tested against all of the requirements in the requirements management tool and we can demonstrate 100% coverageagainst the requirements.
  2. En route to completing the project, the use of rapid prototyping meant that we kept closely to the needs of the users (who could provide rapid feedback on the direction we were taking).
  3. The formal weekly testing of the system(plus regression testing) meant that we started testing early and continued throughout the project. I am proud to say that this approach meant that, once a defect was identified, it was fixed quickly and with thorough regression testing did not reappear again in subsequent iterations.

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