Let the ‘Agile Manifesto’ guide your testing efforts!

Hello readers

My article on the relationship of Agile Manifesto to the efforts and dilemmas of software testing has been published at stickyminds.com

Here are excerpts from the article – Please visit https://www.stickyminds.com/article/let-agile-manifesto-guide-your-software-testing and share your views too!


 

The Agile Manifesto is the basis of the agile process framework for software development. It sums up the thought process of the agile mind-set over the traditional waterfall methodology, and it’s the first thing we learn about when we set out to embrace an agile transition.

The Agile Manifesto applies to all things agile: Different frameworks like Scrum, DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery), SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), and Crystal all stem from the same principles.

Although its values are commonly associated with agile development, they apply to all people and teams following the agile mind-set, including testers. Let’s examine the four main values of the Agile Manifesto and find out how they can bring agility to teams’ test efforts.

agile-manifesto

Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

Agile as a development process values the team members and their interactions more than elaborate processes and tools.

This value also applies to testers. Agile testing bases itself in testers’ continuous interaction and communication with the rest of the team throughout the software lifecycle, instead of a one-way flow of information from the developers or business analysts on specific milestones on the project. Agile testers are involved in the requirements, design, and development of the project and have constant interaction with the entire team. They are co-owners of the user stories, and their input helps build quality into the product instead of checking for quality in the end. Tools are used on a necessary basis to help support the cause and the processes.

For example, like most test teams, a team I worked on had a test management system in place, and testers added their test cases to the central repository for each user story. But it was left up to the team when in the sprint they wanted testers to do that. While some teams added and wrote their test scenarios directly on the portal, other teams found it easier to write and consolidate test cases in a shared sheet, get them reviewed, and then add them all to the repository portal all at one go.

While we did have a process and a tool in place to have all test cases in a common repository for each sprint, we relied on the team to decide what the best way for them was to do that. All processes and tools are only used to help make life easier for the agile team, rather than to complicate or over formalize the process.

Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation

With this value, the Agile Manifesto states the importance of having functioning software over exhaustively thorough documents for the project.

Similarly, agile testers embrace the importance of spending more time actually testing the system and finding new ways to exercise it, rather than documenting test cases in a detailed fashion.

Different test teams will use different techniques to achieve a balance between testing and documentation, such as using one-liner scenarios, exploratory testing sessions, risk-based testing, or error checklists instead of test cases to cover testing, while creating and working with “just enough” documentation in the project, be it through requirements, designs, or testing-related documents.

I worked on an agile project for a product where we followed Scrum and worked with user stories. Our approach was to create test scenarios (one-liners with just enough information for execution) based on the specified requirements in the user story. These scenarios were easily understood by all testers, and even by the developers to whom they were sent for review.

Execution of test scenarios was typically done by the same person who wrote them, because we had owners for each user story. Senior testers were free to buddy test or review the user story in order to provide their input for improvements before finalizing the tests and adding them into the common repository.

Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation

This is the core value that provides the business outlook for agile. Customer satisfaction supersedes all else. Agile values the customer’s needs and constant communication with them for complete transparency, rather than hiding behind contract clauses, to deliver what is best for them.

Agile testing takes the same value to heart, looking out for the customer’s needs and wishes at all points of delivery. What is delivered in a single user story or in a single sprint to an internal release passes under the scrutiny of a tester acting as the advocate for the customer.

Because there is no detailed document for each requirement, agile testers are bound to question everything based on their perception of what needs to be. They have no contract or document to hide behind if the user is not satisfied at the end of the delivery, so they constantly think with their “user glasses” on.

As an agile tester, when I saw a feature working fine, I would question whether it was placed where a user would find it. Even when the user story had no performance-related criteria, I would debate over whether the page load time of six seconds would be acceptable. After I saw that an application was functionally fine, I still explored and found that the open background task threads were not getting closed, leading to the user’s machine getting hung up after few hours of operation. None of these duties were a part of any specification, but they were all valuable to the user and needed correction.

Responding to Change over Following a Plan

Agile welcomes change, even late in development. The whole purpose of agile is to be flexible and able to incorporate change. So, unlike the traditional software development approaches that are resistant to change, agile has to respond to change and teams should expect to replan their plans.

In turn, such is the case for agile testing. Agile testing faces the burden of continuous regression overload, and topped with frequent changes to requirements, rework may double itself, leading to testing and retesting the same functionalities over and over again.

But agile testing teams are built to accommodate that, and they should have the ability to plan in advance for such situations. They can follow approaches like implementing thorough white-box testing, continuously automating tested features, having acceptance test suites in place, and relying on more API-level tests rather than UI tests, especially in the initial stages of development when the user interface may change a lot.

These techniques lighten the testing team’s burden so that they can save their creative energies to find better user scenarios, defects, and new ways to exercise the system under test.

 

Let the Agile Manifesto Guide Your Testing

When agile testers have dilemmas and practical problems, they can look to the Agile Manifesto for answers. Keep it in mind when designing and implementing test efforts; the Agile Manifesto’s values will guide you to the best choice for your team and your customers.


 

Hope you liked my write-up, please share your views too!

Happy Testing!

Nishi

 

ATA 12th Meetup @Moolya software, Bangalore

I organised and hosted the ATA 12th Meetup last Saturday 25th March 2017 @Moolya software, Bangalore. The event saw good participation from many enthusiastic testers and some insightful talks by great speakers. We had talk on

>>Problem solving techniques: An attempt to apply ideas across disciplines — by Ajay Balamurugadas, Tyto Software (Creators of Sahi)-

>>Behavior Driven Development – What, Why and How – from a tester’s perspective — by Mr. Vinay Krishna, Agile Technology Coach

>>Challenges of Agile for a Manager — by Preeth Pandalay, Techno Agilist, Agile Coach, Trainer

>>Create 100 mindmaps in 1 minute (demo) — by Dharamalingam K – Moolya Software

The event was a great success owing to the awesome speakers and the amazing discussions and questions by the participants. We hope to continue these meetups and bring the community together with more such open events!

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Happy Testing!

Nishi

Talk at the UNICOM World Quality Summit 2017, Bangalore

Hello Friends,

I was recently invited to speak at the World Quality Summit 2017 organised by UNICOM at The Leela Palace, Bangalore. The event saw attendees from many teams from Pune, Gurgaon and the city itself who participated in the Quality Olympiad. It was a good mix of audience and lots of interesting talks and discussions during the sessions.

I spoke on the Practical risks in Agile teams and Ways how testers can help build-in continuous quality in Agile projects.It was a great experience, met some great people and enthusiastic teams and got awarded the Thought leadership Certificate by UNICOM!

Check it out!

 

Cheers

Nishi

The first ever uTest Meetup @Bangalore!

uTest is the most wonderful community of testers from across the globe where passionate testers connect, network, discuss, learn and of course – Test!

uTest recently initiated a drive to have meetups across the globe and a result of that was the first ever uMeet organised at Bangalore. It was a fun and wonderful event where utesters shared their stories and journeys with uTest. I too got a chance to speak on my favorite topic of Agile testing and discussing practical agile testing challenges.

Thanks a lot to the organiser Yamini and her friends who chipped in with the setup. It was great meeting the people we know in the community, some of whom are really rising the ranks in uTest. I sure hope to continue my journey with uTest and now Applause.com writing for the forums and also doing some happy testing!

Here’s a sneak peak for you!

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Cheers!

Nishi

 

11th ATA Meetup – Feb’17 @Epsilon, Bangalore

ATA strives to spread knowledge about agile testing and aims to create and nurture a community of agile testers by organising events like conferences, contests and meetups. ATA meetups are free open events which bring testers together for thought provoking talks, discussions and networking opportunities to passionate testers in the area.

18th February 2017 was a great day with the 11th ATA meetup organised in Bangalore courtesy the wonderful team at Epsilon. ATA community got together at the Epsilon venue for some good discussions and talks, one of them being mine!- on the topic “Agile vs Traditional Testing”. Other speakers who graced the occasion were Shanthala and her team from Epsilon talking about “Campaign Testing” and Amit Vyas from Moolya talking about “Client side Performance Testing”.

Here are some pictures from the day-

Stay updated at www.agiletestingalliance.org for upcoming meetups and events. We are looking for volunteers and organisers for our next events, and also reach me in case you have ideas to present on our next meetup!

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Cheers,

Nishi

Awesome day at NFTCon 2016- Great Event and being Awarded by UNICOM!

I had the chance to partner with UNICOM recently to help plan out a new event called NFTCon 2016 (Bangalore)- i.e.Non Functional Testing Conference 2016.

It was a niche idea for a one-of-its kind event catering specifically to non-functional testing, with main focus on Performance , Security & Usability testing along with Accessibility and Reliability testing. It was designed to be a 2-day event with 2 tracks on each day, with many great speakers, some wonderful round table talks and a zealous audience.

I was also felicitated by the nice team at UNICOM for my contribution to the event and chairing one of the tracks. It was such a nice gesture and kind words, I thank the team for their efforts and I look forward to our next association pretty soon! 🙂

Here is a peek into the event —

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Cheers

Nishi