Agile testing - how we get it to work

Posted by Marcus Hammarberg on November 6, 2008

This week I have made two discoveries that really has made me happy. They are not news by any means but I has been like they have clicked into place in my brain.

The first one is surrounding the subject of testing in agile projects, which a lot of people seems to have opinions about - but I haven't heard anyone go: "Do like this!". I suspect that it has to do with current testing process are rigid on many companies and there is a reluctantancy towards changing the quality assurance process. Also the amount of regression testing increases for each sprint.

We have had some trouble to get testing to work smoothly in our projects, but we are closing in on a solution. I do not claim to have the answerer or not even know much about the theories behind this big subject - but this works fine for us. And the solution have two trademarks that I like:

  • it simple (KISS)
  • I haven't invented anything (don't think - steal)

OK - finally. Here is how we make testing in our Scrum project work:

  • we add a column to our sprint backlog items stating "How to test (this sprint backlog item)"
  • we have a definition of done that includes:
    • unit tests to cover all code
    • tested according to the "How to test" in a separate test environment. These tests are made by a tester in order to challenge the functionality as well as how it's working.
    • integrationtest created/updated to test the sprint backlog item. These test are not written by the same developer that wrote the code

There are some other things in our definition of done also (maybe another post) of course.

I think that combining manual testing of each sprint backlog item and keeping automated regression/integration tests in sync will give you a good quality assurance for things produced in the sprint.

Yes I know that Scrum dictates that you should take each "done" backlog item all the way to production, but I don't think that's feasible for large organizations. With our approach you at least can skip a large amount of system test and go directly to system integration test or acceptance test, in the normal test process.

As I said - this is my two cents. I really like the idea. Comments?

Published by Marcus Hammarberg on Last updated