So, What Is Process? Agile Testing

A process seeks to identify and reuse common elements of some particular approach to achieving a task, and to apply those common elements to other, related tasks.Without these common reusable elements,a process will struggle to provide an effective and efficient means of achieving those tasks, and find it difficult to achieve acceptance and use by other practitioners working in that field.Test process is no different; we have many different tasks that need to be achieved to deliver effective and efficient testing,and at a variety of different levels of testing from component/unit/developer testing, through integration/module testing, on into systems testing, and through to acceptance testing[4]. Even before testing process was “invented”, good testers have done things in aparticular way to achieve good results – such as the best way to find the most defects,to complete testing more quickly or more cheaply, to save time by reusing things they had produced in earlier testing projects (such as a template for a test plan or a test script),or to ensure consistent nomenclature (such as common terms for testing phases).

Such enlightened practitioners were even known to share such best practices with their colleagues,passing on or swapping reusable templates,publishing papers on testing techniques,or mentoring other staff on test management approaches,for example.As the IT industry matured,with customers demanding increasingly complex systems,of ever higher quality,in shorter timescales and with lower cost.

The Waterfall Phases and Risk Profile (dotted line).

Waterfall Phases and Risk Profile (dotted line)

resulting commercial pressures forced those organizations developing software to seek methods to ensure their software development was as effective and efficientas possible.If they did not find the means to deliver software faster,cheaper,and with better quality,their competitors would.Successive waves of newtechnologies,such as procedural programming,fourth generation languages,and object orientation, all promised to ensure reductions in the occurrence of defects, to accelerate development times,and to reduce the cost of development. Interestingly,it was observed that it was still possible to write poor quality software that failed to achieve its purpose and performed poorly or included defects,no matter what technologies were used!As with so many instances of a new technology failing to solve a particular problem, the issue actually turns out to be a people problem.Human beings need guidance, they need to build upon the knowledge and experiences of others,they need to understand what works and what doesn’t work,and they need to avoid wasting time reinventing things that other practitioners have already successfully produced and used.Project chaos,where each project and practitioner uses different techniques, employs different terminology, or uses (or worse, reinvents from scratch)different documentation,was increasingly considered to be unacceptable. The following sections review a number of the early approaches to software development and testing that sought to avoid such project chaos.

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