‘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

How To Convince Your Boss to adopt a Test Management Tool

Tips to Convince your Manager to Adopt a Test Management Tool

Working as a tester in today’s fast paced software delivery can be taxing. The advent of agile and DevOps has brought with it the need for faster and continuous testing, hence leaving no time for test content and management tasks. If you are a tester today then you may know what I mean and may already be bearing the brunt of manually creating, mapping, managing and tracking things like test documents, release versions, defects and their history, run reports and results and system health status at all times. You are craving for a solution and you know that will be a proper test management system. But you know the feeling when you are sure about something but your boss doesn’t seem to notice or care?

This happens often with test management tools, mainly because they are a part of process improvement and bosses may not care about ‘how’ the job is getting done as long as it is getting done! Most of the times your manager may not be aware of the features of the tool, the benefits it brings and its impact on your performance.

I recently wrote about the same in my guest post for PractiTest! Here is the link to my article for PractiTest QA Learning Centre  where I discuss ways you can convince your manager to adopt a test management tool using reasons he/she won’t be able to ignore!

  • Consider the manager’s goals
    tool image
  • Think of their pain points
  • Get your co-workers on board
  • Organise a Case Study
  • Really know the tool you want
  • Highlight additional integrations, features and value of the  tool
  • Take a Friendly approach

 

To read the complete article Click Here–>

I do hope that these tips help you convince your boss to get you the shiny new tool you need to make your life easier, you tests more manageable and your work more fun!

Please comment on the article and share your experiences!

-Nishi

P.S.

Image source – https://kendis.io/tag/scaled-agile-framework-tool/

 

The crucial guide to Software Testing for Project Managers

Being a Project manager you often need to take on new challenges and create guidelines for projects in a field you are not always familiar with.

You might have some experience working with a team of software developers, which gives you insight into the relevant testing disciplines. Or you may have directly come in as a project manager and need to begin understanding the process from scratch. Whatever the case may be, we are sure you already have enough on your plate. That is why I have gathered a few basic guidelines – both technical and methodological – to help you succeed in your new assignment as a test project leader!

My guest post for PractiTest is now up on the QA Learning Centre-

Dedicated to all PMs – here I discuss the Software Testing 101 making this a guide to all PMs to all things crucial in test process management. Read More..

https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/thank-you/software-testing-guide-project-managers/

state of mind

Do give it a read and share your thoughts!
-Nishi

 

Is Excel holding back your testing?

My guest post @PractiTest QA Learning center

As testers, we all worked with Excel at some point in our career. If you are using
excel now this article is for you 🙂 Excel is used as test management, documentation
and reporting tool by many test teams. At early stages, most teams rely on excel
spreadsheets for planning and documenting tests, as well as reporting test
results. As teams grow, sharing information using excel sheets becomes problematic.
What used to be easy and intuitive, becomes very challenging. Encountering
difficult work scenarios like the below, becomes a day-to-day reality:

  • The simple task of figuring out which excel has the test cases you need to run, takes longer and longer.
  • Gathering the status of the testing tasks and your project can only be done by going to each desk one by one and asking them.
  • A tester mistakenly spent 6 hours running wrong tests in the wrong environment because of an incorrect excel sheet which was not the updated copy.
  • Tester’s routinely lose their work or test results because of saving/ overwriting or losing their excel sheets.
  • Most test activities are not being documented or accounted for because writing tests is considered a luxury.

excel--img

If one or more of these scenarios sound familiar to you, you are being held back in
your testing efforts by excel!

In my latest guest post for PractiTest, I have written about how excel can be a roadblock instead of a useful tool for your testing. To read the complete article, click here—->

In here I talk about issues related with use of excel in relation to

  • Visibility within the test team
  • Configuration Management of test items
  • Test Planning and Execution
  • Test Status and Reporting

Please give it a read and share your thoughts!

Cheers!

Nishi

 

Conducting a Webinar on “Strengthening your Agility using BDD” – with ATA

As a part of the webinar series by Agile Testing Alliance (ATA) , I will be conducting a webinar on the topic  “Strengthening your Agility with BDD – A Demo using Cucumber”. Here I will discuss the practical issues in agile teams and the use of Behavior Driven Development to overcome them. I shall also demo a basic BDD framework using Cucumber as a tool and showcase a practical test scenario.

The webinar will cover –

  • Practical issues faced by Agile teams
  • QA issues in fast paced agile
  • Behavior Driven Development – the definition and need
  • Extending the Agile User stories and acceptance criteria in BDD scenarios
  • Demo using Cucumber
  • Usage and Benefits of BDD In agile

Find more details about the webinar at https://www.townscript.com/e/webinar-on-bdd and register soon!

—-UPDATE—

The recorded session is now available at ATA Youtube channel at

 

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