Sunday, 11 January 2009

Move Test Teams to Agile?

In the LinkedIn group "Senior Testing Professionals" a question was asked about how to move testers who are used to Heavyweight approaches to a more agile test approach.

It rather depends on how agile is being implemented in your organisation. Moving to agile is likely to mean an approach of either; Agile = SCRUM, agile = SCRUM + XP, agile = SCRUM + XP + TDD. How is it happening in your organisation? Process and Technical changes? Have you already begun, if so what’s the current situation?

Obviously this is another topic we could write a book on so I had a think what would be my top three changes the team would have to take on board.

Irrespective of what agile means as described above, here’s three key considerations I’d suggest for moving a team that’s been delivering in a heavyweight development environment to a lightweight (agile) one.

Firstly they need to adjust from focusing on the bulk up-front analysis and test case authoring they may be used to. Remember the documents they’ve been expecting may simply not be ready up-front of each Sprint / development phase. They need to plan, analyse and design based on what they know now and in a way that’s flexible enough to accommodate what’s to come.

Secondly, test execution has to be effective. Effective means finding bugs early and quickly then proving stability near the end of the development phase. This may mean they need to learn new approaches such as Exploratory and be much stronger on analytical techniques, domain knowledge, test case design, bug reporting and near-cause analysis. There’s no room for tic-toc testing.

Thirdly, they must maintain and develop frequent high-bandwidth communication, relationships with the other project team members and focus on interaction and not communication by proxy (documents).

Scratching the surface, but I've seen the above ignored and it's painful to see!