September 10, 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

Jon Kern, one of the original signers of the Agile Manifesto and a personal friend of mine, writes in his Technical Debt blog about being Agile with an entirely geographically distributed team. He and I are thinking alike; I’m currently working on a paper and conference proposal on the same topic. Kent Beck, also an Agile Manifesto signer and inventor of Extreme Programming, claims that we all say we want feedback, but we’re also afraid of it. I’m afraid he’s right. When does an Agile team plateau? Clinton Keith discusses four plateauing patterns found in Agile teams. My favorite is micromanaging the sprint backlog, where he notes that the backlog must derive from quality.

Testing Philosophy

Impact Mapping notes that the cost of IT failures in the EU in one year alone was equivalent to the cost of six moon landings. While the article goes on to talk up relating features to business goals, it’s a worthwhile reminder that what we do is expensive. Paul Dolman-Darrall takes issue with using “agile” or “waterfall” as nouns rather than adjectives. He believes that a team saying “We do Agile” has more problems than just being an Agile team. I think he’s got a good point. We’ve all heard of exploratory testing, but how many of us have given any thought to what it really means, and what it purports to accomplish? (Okay, James Marcus Bach, you can put your hand down now.) Paul Carvalho tries to answer those questions for us in an introductory post to that topic. Speaking of James Marcus Bach, he uses his father’s recent aircraft accident as a teaching moment, describing how we evaluate risks in our daily lives, and our testing processes. But his brother Jon Bach’s take on that same accident is better and more thoughtful. He opines that testing, like knowing whether or not a loved on lived through an accident, is the pursuit of truth. Elisabeth Hendrickson’s (a.k.a. “TestObsessed”) new book on exploratory testing is available from my friends at Pragmatic Publishing.

Seapine View

My colleague Matt Harp courageously takes to drawing his own figures in explaining the business analyst productivity black hole. I’ve attempted to put together a requirements document the first way Matt describes, and it’s enormously time-consuming and error-prone.

Testing Events

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