Read Along- ‘Agile Testing’ Chapter-3

“Cultural Challenges”

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-

Read Along- ‘Agile Testing’ Chapter-2

“The Principles for agile testers”

Points to remember and Quotable Quotes

Definition of Agile Tester-

“A professional tester who embraces change, collaborates well with both technical and businesspeople, and understands the concept of using tests to document requirements and drive development.”

  • Skills are important, but attitude counts more
  • An agile tester does not see herself as a quality police officer, protecting her customers from inadequate code.
  • Agile testers don’t limit themselves to solving only testing issues.
  • Creativity, openness to ideas, willingness to take on any task or role, focus on the customer and a constant view of the big picture – are some components of the agile testing mindset.
  • A team that guides itself with agile values and principles will have higher team morale and better velocity than a poorly functioning team of talented individuals.
  • The principles important for agile testers are –
    • Provide continuous feedback
    • Deliver value to customer
    • Enable face-to-face communication
    • Have courage
    • Keep it Simple
    • Practice continuous improvement
    • Respond to change
    • Self-organize
    • Focus on people
    • Enjoy
  • AATD “Agile Attention Deficit Disorder” – Anything not learned quickly might be deemed useless!
  • Automating tests is hard, but it is much easier when you have the whole team working together.
  • Agile development rewards the agile tester’s passion for her work!

I had written an article about differences between Agile and Traditional testing approaches a few years back. Though I had not read this book at the time, I now feel how many of the points were similar and resonate the same even now. You can read my article here – https://testwithnishi.com/2016/10/20/5-ways-agile-testing-is-different-from-traditional-testing/

***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!

*************

Read Along- ‘Agile Testing’ Chapter-1

“What is Agile Testing, Anyway?”

Points to remember and Quotable Quotes:

  • “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.”

Wanna Read along? Get your copy of the book at

https://www.flipkart.com/agile-testing/p/itmdytt85fzashud?pid=9788131730683

OR find a paperback or ebook version!

Read Along- ‘Agile Testing’ by Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory

Book Read Blogs Series

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.

“Agile Testing” by Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory

I will begin by reading the book I had bought last year. “Agile Testing” by Lisa & Janet is a coveted read for all agile enthusiasts & testers and is also featured in the best books for testers at https://continuoustesting.blog/2020/01/17/most-recommended-software-testing-books-to-read-in-2020-and-beyond/

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!

Here are links to the posts for this book-

Chapter-1

Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams

Communication is the foundation of success for an agile team. Agile teams need to set up effective communication channels and have a culture of constant communication for complete transparency.

However, there are often several challenges that act as barriers to productive communication and may lead to people problems as well as delayed or failed projects. In my article for TestRail https://blog.gurock.com/agile-barrier-communication/ , I have discussed some of the most common barriers to effective communication for agile teams, as well as how you can overcome them.

  • Physical Barriers
  • Cultural and Language Barriers
  • Emotional Barriers
  • Perceptual Barriers

Read the complete article here ->

Agile teams require constant communication, so it immensely benefits the team to recognize their barriers to effective communication and take some measures to overcome these barriers. Every step taken in this regard leads the team farther down their path to true agility.

3 ways Agile testers can use Walkthroughs

A walkthrough is a great review technique that can be used for sharing knowledge, gathering feedback and building a consensus. Typically, walkthroughs take place when the author of a work item explains it in a brief review meeting — effectively walking the team through the work — and gathers people’s feedback and ideas about it. These meetings may be as formal or as informal as needed and may also be used as a knowledge-sharing session with many relevant stakeholders at once.

In my article published at https://blog.gurock.com/tester-agile-walkthrough/ , I have discussed three ways agile testers can make use of this type of review for their sprint- and release-level test plans and test cases to get the entire team involved in the quest for quality.

I have also discussed how I have used walkthroughs in my agile team as a mechanism to review our sprint test scenarios with the entire Scrum team. The main areas of application are-

  • Defining Scope
  • Generating Test Ideas
  • Building a Consensus

Click here to read the complete article–>

Walkthroughs are a quick and easy review technique to adopt, and they can be especially useful for testers on an agile team to get reviews on their test plans, test cases, and scripts. Give this technique a try, even if in an informal sense, and see how beneficial it can be!

I am speaking at ‘Targeting Quality 2019’ , Canada

I am super excited to be speaking at this grand event TQ2019 being organised by KWSQA on 23-24 Sep in Canada!

On top of that I get to present not one but 2 talks!! My topics are

“The What, When & How of Test Automation” 45 mins

In this I will talk about preparing robust automation strategies. Agile means pace and agile means change. With frequent time boxed releases and flexible requirements, test automation faces numerous challenges. Haven’t we all asked what to automate and how to go about the daily tasks with the automation cloud looming over our heads. Here we’ll discuss answers to some of these questions and try to outline a number of approaches that agile teams can take in their selection of what to automate, how to go about their automation and whom to involve, and when to schedule these tasks so that the releases are debt free and of best quality.

“Gamify your Agile workplace”    15 mins

In this I’ll present live some innovation games and have audience volunteers engage and play games based on known scenarios. Let’s Play and learn some useful Innovation Games that can help you gamify your agile team and workplace, making the team meetings shorter and communication more fun!

Both these topics are close to my heart and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with a wider audience.

I am also excited to meet all the awesome speakers at the event , as well as get to know the fantastic team of organizers behind this event!

Check out the detailed agenda here – https://kwsqa.org/tq2019/schedule/

Follow me at @testwithnishi, @KWSQA and #TQ2019 on twitter for more updates on the event!

Also check out & support other initiatives by KWSQA at https://kwsqa.org/kwalitytalks/

Wish me luck! 🙂