Testers on agile teams feel very strongly about their role as customer advocate and also feel they can influence the rest of the team with their quality thinking.
Testers also need training on pair testing, working with incomplete and changing requirements, automation and all of the other new skills that are required.
Programmers also might need coaching to understand the importance of business-facing tests and the whole-team approach to writing and automating tests.
The pairing of programmers and testers can only improve communication about the quality of the product.
“One major advantage of an integrated project team is that there’s only one budget and one schedule.”
The difference between a traditional cross-functional team and an agile team is the approach to the whole-team effort. Members are not just “representing” their functions in the team but are becoming true members of the team for as long as the project or permanent team exists.
The best teams are those that have learned to work together and have developed trust with one another.
Teams work better when they have ready access to all team members, easy visibility of all progress charts and an environment that fosters communication.
Teams make the best progress when they’re empowered to identify and solve their own problems. If you’re a manager, resist the temptation to impose all your good ideas on the team.
Make sure testers are involved in all meetings! If you are a tester and someone forgets to invite you to a meeting, invite yourself!
“Courage is especially important. Get up and go talk to people; ask how you can help. Reach out to team members and other teams for direct communication. Notice impediments ad ask the team to help remove them.”
Agile development works because it gets obstacles out of our path and lets us do our best work.
This chapter is dedicated to talking about organisational problems with agile adoption, mostly from a cultural point of view- how people perceive changes, how they work, giving up control and also taking charge. It is a very comprehensive description of many problems we see on a daily basis at our work and in teams struggling with agile transformation.
Points to remember and Quotable Quotes
Agile teams are best suites for organisations that allow independent thinking.
Fear is a powerful emotion, and if not addressed, it can jeopardize the transition into agile
Testers who don’t change their approach to testing have a hard time working closely with the rest of the development team
If the organisation culture is to push towards release without caring for quality, the teams will face an uphill battle in working in agile
Companies where testers assume the role of ‘Quality Police’ will also have a challenge since teams will not buy-into the idea of building quality in, as they are accustomed to badgering it in later.
If your organisation focuses on learning, it will encourage continuous process improvement and will likely adopt agile much more quickly.
Testers need time and training, like everyone else learning to work in agile
To help testers adjust, you may need to bring in an experienced agile testing coach to act as a mentor and a teacher.
Agile focuses on working at a sustainable pace, all the time. In contrast to the ‘fast and furious’ testing done at the end of release cycles in traditional projects (often amounting to overtime). In agile, if overtime is required, it is an exception, and that too for the whole team and not just the testers.
In agile, the relationship between the customer and the development team is more a partnership than a vendor-supplier relationship.
Even if an entire company adopts agile, some teams make the transition more successfully than others.
About Introducing Change-
“Expect and Accept Chaos as you implement Agile Processes.”
Find the areas of most pain, determine what practices will solve the problem so that you can get some immediate progress out of the chaos.
The critical success factor is whether the team takes ownership and has the ability to customise its approach
Celebrate success- Acknowledgement is important if you want a change to stick.
Rather than managing the team’s activities at a low level, managers of agile teams focus on removing obstacles so that team members can do their best work
“Agile development might seem fast-paced, but the change can seem glacial”
“Beware of the Quality Police mentality— Be a collaborator, not an enforcer“
The highlight of this chapter for me was reading the ‘Testers Bill of Rights’
I had not heard about this before , so reading this was pretty cool, and for sure fundamental to any tester’s life. Check it out-
***Update **About face-to-face communication** during Covid-19 ***
As I am reading this book during this bizarre time of social-distancing, working remotely and entire nations on lockdown, the part about ‘face-to-face’ communication has a new meaning now. As Janet Gregory also pointed out in response to this article, our definition of face-to-face has changed over the last few weeks over the entire world! We are lucky to have technology that helps us continue effective communication within our teams, have conversations, video calls, screen shares, continue learning over webinars and continue working, feeling useful and being productive.
Hoping things change soon and we can go back to having fun, productive discussions with our team mates over coffee. Until then — Happy social distancing!
Reduced awareness or unintended ignorance of certain aspects can lead to inattentional blindness, or the failure to notice something that should have been visible because our attention was engaged elsewhere. As a human psychological concept, inattentional blindness also plagues testers and their mindset when testing. In my latest article for Testrail blog, I look at some steps we can take to overcome this challenge and avoid blind spots in our testing work.
It is a natural response of our brain to avoid getting overloaded with information. It automatically focuses on information that is most important while avoiding unnecessary details and noise.
In many situations, this manifests in our focus on the task at hand and its context so much that we neglect surrounding details. This is true for day-to-day activities like bumping into a pillar while looking at our phones, failing to see a swerving car when watching the road ahead… or not noticing a takeaway coffee cup in the middle of a popular television show set in ancient times!
Let’s say you are browsing through a website with the intention of looking at the layouts that must match provided mockups. While you are doing that, you may miss the following:
The homepage of the website has an older logo of the company that should have been replaced by the newer version.
The login box has username and password fields but the login button is missing.
The URL structure of the website is all wonky and the individual page URLs are not named correctly.
Testers often execute tests that have defined steps and expected results, so we frequently overlook anything that is not defined and only check for the results we’re looking for. The tester’s mind is attuned to looking for specified errors, while other information or defects may tend to get missed, even though they may be right in front of our eyes. Pick up any passed test case and try to re-execute it, but this time keep an open eye and an open mind for any new information surrounding the test. More often than not, you will find that many more defects, risk areas or questions can be found in the same area, despite the test having passed.
The use of advanced technology in business environments can sometimes be jarring. Adjustments can be difficult, and on top of that many employees across a range of industries worry that technology can make them obsolete. These can be legitimate concerns in some cases. But, more often than not, technology serves instead to simplify processes and, ultimately, make life easier on people as they go about performing their jobs. This is certainly proving to be the case where project management is concerned.
Project management demands and processes vary across different businesses and industries, which means that not all teams in this category can implement modern technology in exactly the same ways. Here we’ll examine a few key ways in which tech can and has changed project management for the better.
Communication & File Sharing
Maybe the biggest change that technology has brought about for project management teams is a simplification of communication among groups in a work setting. In 2019, our post on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams’ touched on the idea that various barriers to regular communication can negatively impact productivity. And the same is absolutely true for project management teams of all kinds.
Now, however, there are several different communications platforms that are being used in professional environments to streamline collaboration. Often enough, they’re used to simplify digital communications in office environments in general, providing a space where everyone from a manager to a part-time freelancer can log in, see shared information, engage in relevant chats, and generally stay up to speed. These platforms can also be invaluable for project management teams.
For instance, think about a fairly common project such as developing a website or an app for a business. These are projects that involve contributions from people with different skills in conjunction with one another. A page design can’t be completed without understanding of the content layout; content layout can’t be finalized without a thoroughly developed visual aesthetic, and so on. On these modern communication platforms, these matters can easily be discussed between relevant parties such that the greater project can move forward. Updates and examples can be shared, and people can easily work with relevant collaborators whenever they need to.
In the past, one issue that plagued some project management teams is how to get everyone on the same page in more multi-faceted projects. There haven’t always been structured ways for different aspects of one overarching project to be addressed in a cohesive manner. This is changing, however, thanks in large part to both abstract and specific software.
“Several core practices used by agile teams relate to testing.”
Programmers using TDD, code integration tests being written contribute to a successful project.
“Agile Testing just doesn’t mean testing on an agile project.”
Some testing approaches like exploratory testing are inherently agile, whether done in an agile project or not.
Testers are integral members of the customer team as well as development team
The best part of this chapter is Lisa and Janet’s wonderful stories on beginning with their first agile projects, and a realization by Janet’s co-worker, a developer in a team following XP on how they saw Janet’s contribution to the project.
“Testers don’t sit & wait for work; they get up and look for ways to contribute throughout the development cycle and beyond.”
Traditional vs Agile Testing
In Traditional approach – “Testing gets “squished” because coding takes longer than expected, and because teams get into a code-and-fix cycle at the end.
In Agile – “As an agile team member, you will need to be adaptive to the team’s needs
“Participants, tests, and tools need to be adaptive.”
“An Agile team is a wonderful place to be a tester”
The Whole-Team Approach –
“Everyone on an agile team gets “test-infected.”
“An agile team must possess all the skills needed to produce quality code that delivers the features required by the organization.”
“The whole team approach involves constant collaboration”
“On an agile team, anyone can ask for and receive help”
“The fact is, it’s all about quality – and if it’s not, we question whether it’s really an ‘agile’ team.”
I used to love books, reading was a fun and satisfying hobby for the introverted teen I was. But lately I may have gotten away from it for known and unknown reasons. I want to pursue the passion again and hold myself accountable too. So, this year I am starting a ‘Read Along’ series on my blog.
I have learnt agile testing by doing it, learning it hands-on, training & running courses on agile testing for professionals. I wanted to enhance my knowledge by reading the professional work by these awesome ladies.
So, I will be reading the book and will post about learnings, things to remember & quotable quotes from each chapter as I progress. This is to hold myself accountable, as well as to help people looking for good reads or learnings. Hope this helps you. Have you read this book? Do share your thoughts & learnings too!
Learning is an ongoing process, and hopefully a lifelong one. Being a professional in any field requires you to constantly update your knowledge and continue to learn.
Software testing is a very in-demand role, so many people aspire to get into this line of work — but they may not know where to begin.
If you are fresh out of college or looking to switch careers, even if you are not from a computing or engineering background at all, you can jump-start your career in testing. In my article published at TestRail blog, I have given some tips and advice on how to become a self-taught software tester this year.
Books provide a world of knowledge, and despite shifting trends, books can never be outdated, as older ideas can give you a foundation for new information. Reading a book allows you to delve deeper into a topic of your choice at your own pace.
Begin by searching for books on software testing, quality assurance practices, and industry leaders.
Then seek books that can help you start applying the knowledge.
If picking up a physical book is not your cup of tea, read online — there are many great portals with awesome content, articles, and ideas.
Diversify Your Knowledge
Software testing is not a singular skill; it requires a number of skills, both technical and non-technical. When beginning your quest to learn about software testing, delve into various areas of the domain and look for what interests you the most.
Welcome to a place where you can find the best content related to software testing, test automation and agile space.
Difference Between Human Testing & Test Automation
Human Testing is a craft that is more than executing a bunch of tests, performing clicks and actions. A tester has a unique understanding of the system and ways to critique it. Over time, the tester develops a deeper comprehension of the application and its intricacies, integrations, weak points, and history. This makes them the best judge to find out the failure points of the system and comment on its health.
While automated checks can help in determining problems in what we know (and have scripted as checks), it may not help as much in the risk areas of what we do not know about the product. That requires exploration, creativity, intuition and domain knowledge. This is the human aspect of testing.
Testers find defects and raise awareness about quality. What happens after the bugs are found can be any tester’s guess, though. Bugs may get delayed, postponed, go unnoticed or linger on due to lack of information.
In my article for Ranorex blog, I talk about how Testers need to champion the cause of their bugs in order to avoid unneeded delays in fixing defects that are important. At the same time, testers should maintain a distance to make it an impersonal and impartial experience. Testers need to master the art of bug advocacy!
Why is advocacy important?
Advocacy is basically pleading the case for a bug to be fixed. The testers who find the bugs are the ones who need to advocate for their bugs. It is important that they take a stand and voice their opinions.
Some bugs may not be deemed important from a business perspective, as they seem too small. But in reality, they may be blocking an important feature for a particular user group. On the other hand, some bugs may seem more critical than they truly are, and while fixing them may be important, it may not be the highest of priority.
Whatever the case, testers must aim to present the facts and data in such a way that decision-makers are able to make well-informed resolutions about the issue.
Communication is key
Advocating for anything is not a one-way street. It takes discussion, debate and reaching a consensus on key points to make a collective decision. This is where testers’ communication skill plays a key role. Testers need to have good communication, both verbal and written.