Extreme Programming - Agile Testing

In the early 1990s, Kent Beck, a practitioner in the field of software development, had begun to consider how the process of developing software could be made simpler and more efficient. In March 1996 Kent embarked upon a project with a major automotive customer that would employ a number of the software development and testing concepts that he had been considering; the result was the genesis of Extreme Programming (XP ).

XP emphasizes customer satisfaction as one of its key drivers; the methodology aims to deliver the software the customer needs when they need it.XP seeks to improve project success in four important areas:

  1. Communication – XP encourages the team developing and testing the software to maintain effective and frequent communication both with the other members of the team and with the customer.
  2. Simplicity – XP promotes the ideal of simple, clear, and understandable design, translated into similarly clear and understandable code. Even though the customer may not get to see the source code, XP encourages programmers to develop elegant and effective software solutions of which they can be proud.
  3. Feedback – throughout the development project,the programmers obtain feedback on their work from other programmers and, crucially, the customer, who is exposed to early deliverables as soon in the project as possible.
  4. Courage – programmers are empowered to respond positively and proactively to changing customer requirements and changes in the development environment (such as availability of new technologies).

By embracing these four principles, development projects are more agile and responsive;better communication across the team means that the developing system is integrated more easily and with fewer errors,plus the improved communication with the customer combined with good feedback ensures that the delivered software more closely matches the users’ needs.

From a software quality perspective, XP emphasizes the importance of effective and efficient testing.An important goal of testing in XP is that test development should begin even before any code has been written, continuing throughout the coding process, and following code completion. As defects are found, new tests are developed and are added to the growing test suite to prevent the same bug from reappearing later and getting through to the delivered software.

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