Unfortunately it was just Miquel and me at this meeting to discuss testing and how testers fit into an agile project. The discussions were based around Agile Testing by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory. I’d managed to read about half of it, while Miquel had managed a little less.
Miquel started off by saying that he found the book quite hard to read a possibly and little repetitive. I agreed that it seemed to be longer than it needed to be. Miquel did like the mind maps that appeared at the start of each chapter though.
We talked about the idea of having the tester be a bridge between the customer and the developers. I liked this alternative approach to the traditional idea of having testers simply being the last line in the chain before software goes into production.
For me, the most important part of the book was the idea of the testing quadrants. They act as a checklist which make it easy to consider what kinds of testing you are or are not doing and if you are doing enough. There are 4 quadrants, along 2 axes. Tests are either business or technology-facing and either support the team or critique the product. There is a diagram in this blog posting which describes it a little more.
Other things which I found interesting were “Wizard of Oz” testing (p138), Ripple Effects (p143) and Exploratory Testing (p197).
Wizard of Oz usability testing is a prototyping technique where a paper mock up is animated by testers simply using pieces of paper. So it is like traditional prototyping but with the addition of a limited amount of interactivity rather than just a static picture.
The idea of “Ripple Effects” is to try to avoid unexpected knock-on effects of changes made to a system. The idea is to explicitly run through a checklist of existing areas of functionality and consider any impacts. This very simple thing is done to avoid the shortsightedness that can sometimes arise when an agile project focusses on each story as it comes up without considering the larger picture.
Finally, I liked the comparison between Exploratory Testing and the Agile Manifesto as explained by Michael Bolton. Since I didn’t know too much about Exploratory Testing before reading this, it was intriguing to see the parallels. There is an article by James Bach at Stickyminds that explains the concepts quite well.