Context-Driven Testing in Agile – Neotys Testing Roundup

1. Agile Research

Agile development methods that spread in the software development industry attract academic and corporate researchers that try to pin down the social processes that characterize the agile teams and the impact of these processes on the teams’ performance.

We have asked ourselves whether the application of the Agile principles may benefit the researchers that investigate the Agile development methods and teams (or any other research community).

No researcher has yet, to our best knowledge, suggest a method for conducting research “the agile way”; in other words, no “academic agile process” has yet been laid out. Click here to see the agile research table.

2. Context-Driven Testing in an Agile Context

Testing is an agile environment is different many people say. But what is agile testing? I rather say testing in an agile context instead of agile testing. Agile is different in every project. Excellent testing in an agile context is done by looking at the details of the specific situation first. Remember the 7th principle of context-driven testing: “Only through judgment and skill, exercised cooperatively throughout the entire project, are we able to do the right things at the right times to effectively test our products.”

Agile comes with a bunch of cool new methods like TDD, ATDD and BDD. There is a lot of focus on automating testing. There is nothing wrong with these methods and automating … if done right. This talk zooms in on the difference between testing and checking coined by Michael Bolton. Checking can be automated and I claim that in an agile context this should be taken care of by a programmer. It is not a good strategy to assign these tasks to the tester.

3. Distributed Agile: 8 Ways to Get More from Your Distributed Team by Keith Richards

Over the last few years I have been fortunate to have had several agile consulting opportunities in India. I find India the most fascinating of places and it is great fun to meet so many people who are passionate about their work. Not only are they passionate but they are good at it too.

After my most recent trip, there were two things I thought were quite striking in an agile context. Firstly, I came to the conclusion that if agile is to thrive over the next 10 years then it not only has to work in a distributed environment (i.e. an environment where we do not all work in the same place), but it has to work well in order to deliver the most value to an organization.

The second thing that struck me was that, perhaps, most of us are missing something obvious, namely, that in some form or another, aren’t most things in our normal way of working ‘distributed’. Therefore can we all learn something from looking to improve this way of working?

4. Managements for High Performing Agile Teams by Eric Jacobson

Last night, at the Atlanta Scrum Users Group, I saw Peter Saddington’s talk, “The New Role of Management for High-Performance Teams.” Peter has three master’s degrees and claims to be Atlanta’s only Certified Scrum Trainer.

Here are some highlights from my notes:

  • Managers should see themselves as “managers of inspiration”. Don’t manage issues. Instead, manage inspiration. Help people love what they do first, then you don’t need to manage them.
  • Everyone can improve their job performance by taking time to reflect. Few bother to, because they think they are too busy.
  • Stop creating processes. Instead, change the rules as you go. The problem with process is that some people will thrive under it and others will die. There are no “best practices”; (Context-driven testers have been saying this for years).
  • The most important question you can ask your directs is “Are you having fun?”. Happier employees are more productive.

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