The output - Agile Testing

Be pragmatic and business focussed. Recognize and respect what is important.

The most surprising results of this experience were how we overcame the initial skepticism of new processes, converted the unbelievers, opened their minds to the benefits of testing, and made them hungry for other ways to get quality information that is timely, relevant, self-evident, and helpful.

For other teams embarking on this journey, these are the main lessons that we would share.

  • It’s OK to be agile about your agile adoption.You don’t have to take on allthe practices at once. Starting with the fundamentals(short iterations, simple design)will get your team into a steady rhythm, and supporting practices will follow naturally. Understand and prioritize other practices, then fold them into your process gradually. However, do keep the bigger picture in view: read books to learn how the method works holistically and how the individual practices support each other. Don’t expect being “half-agile” to work in the long run.
  • Start from a position of trust. If most of the team are new to agile development and testing, ensure that the team members who are experienced also have the people skills to understand the challenges and concerns the others will face, and the patience to help them come up to speed. If the whole team is new to agile,create an atmosphere of mutual respect and safety by getting some kind of teambonding activity scheduled as soon as possible. Train the team together. Make it clear to all that having doubts and asking “stupid” questions is OK. In the long run this is much better than allowing people to carry on with misconceptions. In all cases, allow extra time for pairing and agile retrospectives to enable the team to “own” their process and feel comfortable with all aspects of it.
  • Respect the testers. Ensure testers are treated as equal members of the team, and remove any barriers that hinder fast and easy communication between customer, testers, and developers.
  • Respect the tests. Do not get into a mindset of “the code is the concern of the development team, the tests are the concern of the test team.” There is only one team. That team creates tested code. Tests and code are of equal value and both are the concerns of the whole team.
  • Respect the build. Use continuous integration and other automated testing processes to your advantage and have them provide fast feedback about code quality, either daily or on every check-in. But don’t squander the value of that information by failing to respond as quickly as it comes. A “broken” build, including any failing test that previously passed, should always be the top priority for the team to fix.
  • Respect the team. The people involved in any agile project are likely to work more closely than in nonagile projects. Remove impediments that prevent them from working well together. Encourage them to run their own retrospectives to improve their own practices. Be supportive of each other when occasionally life gets in the way. Don’t mess with a team that is already working well together – the economics of headcount rarely stand up against the power of good teamwork.

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