September 3, 2012

Perspectives on Testing

Test Management
Welcome to Seapine’s Perspectives on Testing. Every week I’m going to look at articles, blog posts, tweets, and other testing and quality content, and provide some perspective on the news or commentary. Enjoy, and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Agile Point of View

There were a lot of Agile postings over the last week. First, the Flowchainsensi (a.k.a. Bob Marshall) offers an opinion on why Agile works. He points out that we really don’t know why, and seems to wonder if we just like being thought of as Agile. More depressingly, he points out that Agile doesn’t work fairly often, too. Perhaps more definitively, Alan Shalloway offers an opinion of why Scrum works – queue management. It seems that a cross-functional team effort to detect errors and make decisions as quickly as possible, rather than to let them accumulate, optimizes team resources. Monday’s Wall Street Journal includes short feature on Kent Beck and the practice of paired programming, concluding that the relationship between the two paired together is as fraught as a marriage. I would feel better about this feature if it weren’t in the space normally used by WSJ for offbeat stories. Satish Thatte takes a close look at Sprint retrospectives and how to make them more meaningful and effective. He provides a table and roadmap of areas to cover and topics to decide upon. Doing Agile versus being Agile. This illustration says it all. Matt Heusser defines the role of the Agile project manager for my old friends at (my previous role was editorial director of this group at TechTarget). Registration required.

Testing Philosophy

Who’s the bigger quality risk-taker – NASA or Wall Street? Mark Tomlinson says Wall Street, because NASA actually does testing, and understands their risk. Some testing groups are making use of crowdsourcing to help with testing software, especially for common mobile devices. MIT News discusses a new database being developed at the MIT AI Laboratory that purports to make crowdsourcing easier. Have you attempted to crowdsource any testing activities? Reply in the comments. User experience testing requires designers and testers to do the best with what they have to work with. According to Pete Whalen, there is no system that can’t be improved upon, but the rules for doing so are highly contextual, and depend upon the user community. I’m not particularly good at modeling my own practices after those of others, but it’s often interesting to read about how people spend their time. Fast Company has an article on what successful people do in the first hour of every workday, and it is thought-provoking.

Testing Events

Scott Barber provides a summary of his mini-track of load testing performance tools and tips at the online Software Test Professionals Summit last week. If you’re looking for a tool, or an approach to evaluating tools, check this out.