Don’t Get Testy with Me, Bernaise!

My Fellow Qualitarians,

Why is it that testing seems to be the common Achilles’ Heel for many *agile* organizations and teams?  Is it because of a shortage of literature?  A shortage of expertise?  Does it just not make sense?  I think not.

What many organizations set out to do when they decide to ‘go agile’, is speed up the delivery process.  This, in most people’s minds is comprised of two general ideas.

  1. Don’t spend forever creating requirements up front
  2. Develop product as quickly as possible

Wait a minute.  Don’t we still need to test?  Of course we do.  Right?  Isn’t #3 above supposed to be ‘ensure the customer gets what they asked for’?

I presume that QA started as an afterthought.  An afterthought?  How can that be in our software intensive world?  Apps here, Apps there, Apps, Apps Everywhere!  Forgive my Seuss-ism.  Assuming for a moment that you are on the brink of adopting / migrating / transforming or what have you to agile, what would you proactively want to build into your testing practices?  (Don’t worry- this isn’t a Covey rip-off.  I already did that)

1)  Test First, Test Last, Test All The Time, Sir!  Seriously, building your process so that you can get started before code is delivered is key.  So is a constant quality presence. Requirements.  Design.  Build.  Deliver.  No better way to do that, than to Automate First.

2)  Risk-Based Testing Approaches.  Whatever risk means to you, set yourself up to tackle this first.  Complexity.  High-Traffic Pathways.  Money.  Get used to doing a licked-finger in the wind analysis- often.

3)  Put Your Customer Specs On.  If you aren’t looking at things from the perspective of your customer, then you aren’t using the right lens.  Responsiveness.  Intuitiveness.  Flow.  Function.  And yes, Form.  I know what you’re thinking.  Not my job.  Tune in next time for the article, “It’s Everyone’s Job”.

4)  Flex.  Things change, and QA (if we’re being honest) is notorious for being too rigid.  Requirements change.  The customer’s ‘wants’ change.  Technology/Approaches change.  If we don’t flex with it and show value- something else is going to flex.  (Did you get that?)

Thank you, and good night.


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