‘Just Enough’ documentation in an Agile Project

Agile poses many challenges to the development team, most of them pertaining to time. Teams are perpetually under pressure to deliver working software at a fast pace, leaving minimum time for anything else. When testing on an agile project, learning how to write lean documentation can save precious time. Furthermore writing lean documentation can help rework efforts by focusing only on what’s really necessary.

The Agile Manifesto emphasizes working software over comprehensive documentation, but most agile teams interpret this wrong and treat documentation as something to be avoided, owing to time constraints. The manifesto states a lesser focus on comprehensive documentation, but some documentation is still needed for the project and any related guidelines being followed. Attaining this balance is a challenge.

Documentation is a necessary evil. We may think of it as cumbersome and time-consuming, but the project cannot survive without it. For this reason, we need to find ways to do just enough documentation — no more, no less.

Read about how to focus on important areas like VALUE  , COMMUNICATION and  SUFFICIENCY when documenting in your agile project – in my article published at Gurock TestRail blog –> https://blog.gurock.com/lean-documentation-agile-project/

just enough

Click here to read the full article

For example, in a traditional test design document, we create columns for test case description, test steps, test data, expected results and actual results, along with preconditions and post-conditions for each test case. There may be a very detailed description of test steps, and varying test data may also be repeatedly documented. While this is needed in many contexts, agile testers may not have the time or the need to specify their tests in this much detail.

As an agile tester, I have worked on teams following a much leaner approach to sprint-level tests. We document the tests as high-level scenarios, with a one line description of the test and a column for details like any specific test data or the expected outcome. When executing these tests, the tester may add relevant information for future regression cycles, as well as document test results and any defects.

More examples and scenarios for learning leaner test document creation are included in the full article– Click here to read the full article

 

                 Are you interested in finding the right tool for your Agile processes? Here is a comprehensive assessment and comparison of the best agile tools available! 

https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/agile-tools/

Prepared by Ben Aston, this list may be a useful guide for finding and selecting the best tool to support your agile journey. Check it out!

 

Happy Testing!

Nishi

The 12 Agile Principles: What We Hear vs. What They Actually Mean

The Agile Manifesto gives us 12 principles to abide by in order to implement agility in our processes. These principles are the golden rules to refer to when we’re looking for the right agile mindset. But are we getting the right meaning out of them?

In my latest article for Gurock TestRail blog, I examine what we mistakenly hear when we’re told the 12 principles, what pain points the agile team face due to these misunderstandings, and what each principle truly means.

 

Principle 1: Our Highest Priority is to Satisfy the Customer Through Early and Continuous Delivery of Valuable Software

What we hear: Let’s have frequent releases to show the customer our agility, and if they don’t like the product, we can redo it.

The team’s pain points: Planning frequent releases that aren’t thought out well increases repetitive testing, reduces quality and gives more chances for defect leakage.

What it really means: Agile requires us to focus on quick and continuous delivery of useful software to customers in order to accelerate their time to market.

Principle 2:

Check out the complete post here —- Click Here to Read more–>

 

Do share your stories and understanding of the 12 Agile Principles!

Cheers

Nishi

Optimize Your Hardening Sprint for a Quality Advantage

A hardening sprint is an additional sprint that some teams run to stabilize the code and ensure that everything is ready just before release. Agile teams vary in their opinions on using hardening sprints in Scrum, but if your team does agree on having one before your release, there may be a lot to be done and varied expectations from the product owner, testers and developers. It may also lead to other work being delayed, leading to accumulation of technical debt.

In my article for Gurock TestRail Blog, I have discussed some tips on optimising the hardening sprint and achieving the maximum quality before release.

I talk in detail about some main points to focus on–

  • Plan Ahead
  • Perform End-to-End Testing
  • Perform Non-Functional Testing
  • Perform Tests on Other Platforms and Languages
  • Reduce Lower Priority Defect Counts
  • Use your sprint Wisely

Read the full article here — > https://blog.gurock.com/optimize-hardening-sprint/

Please share your thoughts!

Happy Testing!

Nishi

The Value of Risk-Based Testing from an Agile ViewPoint

When I first heard about risk-based testing, I interpreted it as an approach that could help devise a targeted test strategy. Back then I was working with a product-based research and development team. We were following Scrum and were perpetually working with tight deadlines. These short sprints had lots to test and deliver, in addition to the cross-environment and non-functional testing aspects.

Learning about risk-based testing gave me a new approach to our testing challenges. I believed that analyzing the product as well as each sprint for the impending risk areas and then following them through during test design and development, execution and reporting would help us in time crunches.

But before I could think about adopting this new found approach into our test planning, I had a challenge at hand: to convince my team.

In my recent article published at Gurock’s blog site , I have written about my experience on exploring risk based testing and convincing my agile team about its importance and relevance using their own sprints’ case study.

Using the analysis of a sprint’s user stories, calculating Risk Priority Number (RPN) and the Extent of Testing defined, I was able to showcase in my own team’s case study, ways our testing could benefit and better itself by following risk based approach in a simplified manner.

Risk Priority Number

To read the complete article, Click Here–> 

In the article I talk about–

  • Tackling the Agile Challenges
  • Benchmarking Risks and a Focused Approach
  • Improving Test Process and Results

Do share your thoughts on Risk Based Testing!

Cheers

Nishi

 

 

 

Guest Post- “5 Tips to manage your Outsourced testing”

Want to Outsource your testing? Here are my “5 tips to manage your outsourced testing”

I have begun collaborating with PractiTest and with the help of Rachel, my article has now been published @PractiTest Learning Center.

In this article I have discussed about the practical risks for teams that outsource their testing efforts. I have brought forward 5 key tips and tricks to manage their outsourced software testing along with team and people issues as follows:

  • Treat Them like your Team
  • Invest in training the Outsourced Team
  • Meet often, and also in person
  • Centralised System for Test Management
  • Account for Cultural Differences

Please give it a read and share your thoughts!

https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/thank-you/manage-your-outsourced-testing/

Thanks

Nishi

‘INVEST’ing in good User Stories

User stories are the requirement specifications in their simplest form. Methodologies like Scrum use User story format to express the functional requirements of the software to be developed as –

As a <user persona>, I want to <do the action> so that <need of function>

This creates a deeper understanding of the behavior from a user’s perspective along with the business need and reason for the function, thus making the development of software easier.

But writing effective user stories isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of questions to be answered, like which functionality is one user story and which is too big and needs splitting up; what is the true sense of the user story; how to best express the functionality in words; which user personas are to be considered etc.

Getting the user stories right is an essential step to success of the sprints in agile, and for the teams struggling with it we have the INVEST principal as a guideline to be followed. This principal gives the attributes of a user story to be considered when writing and defining them so that they can make a robust foundation to our product backlog. Let us look at the principle in depth –

I – Independent

Means that each user story must be Independent as a functionality and be deliverable

N – Negotiable

Means that the user story be negotiable in terms of implementation, which necessarily means that the implementation details or ‘how’ to do the functionality must not be specified in the user story. User story must be business need and customer experience story.

V – Valuable

Means that the user story must create value for the customer. We should be able to see the reason and way the function will be valuable to the customer and this can be gauged by direct communication with the stakeholders, and can also be quantified in terms of ‘business value’ that we can associate with each story.

E – Estimable

Means that the User story must be clear and concise enough so that we can estimate the amount of work required to achieve it with accuracy. Any unclear parts, missing information or discrepancies must be clarified before we can finalise a user story to be taken up for development.

S – Small

Means that each user story must be a small chunk or slice of work. The development of one user story must be doable within one sprint and hence anything bigger than that would need to be further split down.

T – Testable

Means that each user story must be testable as a feature and have a unique new function get added to the product.

Letter Meaning Description
I Independent The user story should be self-contained, in a way that there is no inherent dependency on another user story.
N Negotiable User stories, up until they are part of an iteration, can always be changed and rewritten.
V Valuable A user story must deliver value to the end user.
E Estimable You must always be able to estimate the size of a user story.
S Small User stories should not be so big as to become impossible to plan/task/prioritize with a certain level of certainty.
T Testable The user story or its related description must provide the necessary information to make test development possible.

Keeping these points in mind when designing and formalising our team’s user stories will ensure that the sprint runs smoothly without unforeseen scenarios, glitches in implementation due to unclear requirements and re-work due to frequent changes.

Have more questions? How to achieve this?

Stay tuned for the next article where we will look at the steps to achieve the best user stories.

Happy Testing!
Nishi

 

Pesticide Paradox in Software Testing

Pests and Bugs sound alike?? They act alike too!! 

Boris Beizer, in his book Software Testing Techniques (1990) coined the term pesticide paradox to describe the phenomenon that the more you test software, the more immune it becomes to your tests.

Just like, if you keep applying the same pesticide, the insects eventually build up resistance and the pesticide no longer works. Software undergoing the same repetitive tests build resistance to them, and they fail to catch more defects after that.

  • Software undergoing the same repetitive tests eventually builds up resistance to them.
  • As you run your tests multiple times, they stop being effective in catching bugs.
  • Moreover, part of the new defects introduced into the system will not be caught by your existing tests and will be released onto the field.

Solution: Refurnish and Revise Test Materials regularly

In order to overcome the pesticide paradox, testers must regularly develop newer tests exercising the various parts of the system and their inter-connections to find additional defects.

Also, testers cannot forever rely on existing test techniques or methods and must be on the look out to continually improve upon existing methods to make testing more effective.

It is suggested to keep revisiting the test cases regularly and revising them. Though agile teams provide little spare time for such activities, but the testing team is bound to keep planning these exercises within the team in order to keep the best performance coming. A few ideas to achieve this:

  • Brainstorming sessions – to think of more ideas around the same component testing
  • Buddy Reviews – New joinees to the team are encouraged to give their fresh perspective to the existing test scenarios for the product, which might get some new cases added.
  • Strike out older tests on functionalities that are changed / removed
  • Build new tests from scratch if a major change is made in a component – to open a fresh perspective

 

UPDATE–

This article has been recommended and used as a reference by HANNES LINDBLOM in his blog at https://konsultbolag1.se/bloggen/veckans-testartips-15-tur-genom-variation