Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Agile Testing Realities

Today I participated in an Agile Testing Realities live Q&A discussion with Elisabeth Hendrickson, Tauseef Kahn and Tom Wissink. It was fun and interesting, especially hearing Tom's experiences working on huge government projects (how fun would it be to work on the Hubble Telescope?)

I was frustrated, though, because there were so many excellent questions being posted, and we only got to a fraction of them. So, I've decided to start addressing some of the question areas here. If you posted a question in the session today and didn't get it answered, feel free to send it directly to me. Another good forum is the agile-testing Yahoo group.

Test automation is a big challenge for everyone and I noticed questions related to "How can I get tests automated with back-to-back, short iterations? I don't have time". Obviously, I can write whole book chapters on this subject, but here are a few key points for a successful automation strategy:

  • The whole development team, not only the testers, needs to tackle test automation.
  • Start by implementing a continuous integration and build process so you have a way to run your tests automatically, and get quick feedback from them.
  • Unit tests have the best ROI, so start test automation efforts there. For legacy code, try a lightweight automation tool and do simple smoke tests that don't have a lot of logic in them and are easy to maintain. You'll be surprised how many regression bugs they find.
  • Cut down the scope of work your development team commits to in each iteration so you make sure there is time to finish all test automation tasks. Don't put them off until the next iteration - that's the road to perdition.
  • Repeat this mantra, write it on your story board or whiteboard: No story is done until it's tested! This includes automating regression tests for it too!
Test automation obviously has many more facets. What about exploratory testing, what about non-functional tests such as performance and security testing? We'll need more blog posts for those.

No comments: