Read Along- ‘Agile Testing’ Chapter-9

“Toolkit for Business-Facing Tests that Support the Team”

  • As agile development has gained in popularity, we have more and more tools to help us capture and use them to write executable tests.
  • Your strategy for selecting the tools you need should be based on your team’s skill set, the technology your application uses, your team’s automation priorities, time, and budget constraints. Your strategy should NOT be based on the latest and coolest tool in the market.
  • In agile, simple solutions are usually best.
    • Some tools that can help us illustrate desired behavior with examples, brainstorm potential implementations and ripple effects and create requirements we can turn into tests are—
      • Checklists
      • Mind maps
      • Spreadsheets
      • Mockups
      • Flow diagrams
      • Software based tools
  • A picture is worth a thousand words, even in agile teams. Mock-ups show the customer’s desires more clearly than a narrative possibly could. They provide a good focal point to discussing the desired code behavior.
    • Visuals such as flow diagrams and mind maps are good ways to describe an overview of a story’s implementation, especially if it is created by a group of customers, programmers, and testers.
    • Tools such as Fit (Framework for Integrated Tests) and FitNesse were designed to facilitate collaboration and communication between the customer and development teams.
    • Finding the right electronic tools is particularly vital for distributed teams (chat, screensharing, video conferencing, calling, task boards etc.)
    • Selenium, Watir and WebTest are some examples of many open source tools available for GUI testing.
  • Home-Brewed Test Automation Tools
    • Bret Pettichord (2004) coined the term ‘home-brewed’ for tools agile teams create to meet their own unique testing needs. This allows even more customisation than an open source tool. They provide a way for non technical customer team members to write tests that are actually executable by the automated tool. Home-brewed tools are tailored to their needs, designed to minimize the total cost of ownership and often built on top of existing open source tools.

The best tools in the world won’t help if you don’t use them wisely. Test tools might make it very easy to specify tests, but whether you are specifying the right tests at the right time is up to you.

Writing detailed test cases that communicate desired behavior is both art and science.

Whenever a test fails in Continuous Integration (CI) and build process, the team’s highest priority should be to get the build passing again. Everyone should stop what they are doing and make sure that the build goes ‘green’ again. Determine if a bug has been introduced, or if the test simply needs to be updated to accommodate intentionally changed behavior. Fix the problem, check it in, and make sure all tests pass!

Experiment – so that you can find the right level of detail and the right test design for each story.

  • Keep your tests current and maintainable through refactoring.
  • Not all code is testable using automation but work with programmers to find alternative solutions to your problems.
  • Manual test scenarios can also drive programming if you share them with the programmers early. The earlier you turn them into automated tests, the faster you will realise the benefit.

Start with a simple approach, see how it works, and build on it. The important thing is to get going writing business-facing tests to support the team as you develop your product.

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