Agile Testing Challenges Faced by Agile Teams
Agile Testing-Software Delivery: Common Testing Challenges
I attend a lot of webinars and sessions at conferences, and like to highlight the ones I find particularly useful. I recently sat in on an HP presentation that was clear, concise, and yet deep enough to be interesting and offer value: “Agile Software Delivery — Get Speed Without Sacrificing Quality.”
The presenters, Michael Cooper (@QACooper) and Jon Bailey, walked through common testing challenges faced by agile teams, which in general is useful for DW/BI teams to understand they aren’t alone in dealing with:
- Lack of a good testing approach that fits with the agile development method
- Inability to apply test automation at appropriate levels
- Difficult in identifying the right areas on which test should focus
- Lack of the right test tools to create re-usable test sets
- Lack of professional test expertise in agile teams
- Difficulty in re-using and repeating tests across sprints/iterations
- No real difficulties with testing in agile
These challenges are tracked in the annual “World Quality Report” survey, which is an interesting resource on agile testing trends.
The presenters discussed several agile goals and related challenges, then presented their solutions based on HP’s agile transformation experience with over 6,000 developers world-wide. Of course, many of the solutions were related to HP products, but they did a good job of explaining the concept of the solution then identifying the HP product that they used. This did not come across as a product sales pitch, believe it or not!
They used a rather famous quote to explain the need for test automation on an agile team:
Any tests that can be scripted should be automated. We don’t need humans doing something that a machine can do. What we do want the human testers doing is exploratory testing. Exploratory testing is a creative endeavor in which human testers explore the behavior of the system in an attempt to characterize its behaviors, both documented and undocumented. – Dr. Robert C. (“Uncle Bob”) Martin
What I found interesting about this is that DW/BI teams have been relying, for the most part, on exploratory testing for a lot of our testing history… which means we are already really good at doing something that no automation tool can replace. An interesting option to consider is that there are tools out there that can track your explorations, and when you find something that’s not right the tool already knows how to repeat the steps you took to get there… so you can more easily tell a developer how you found the issue, and can automate the unit test on the fix (assuming a steady data set, of course). This could save developers, testers and business SMEs lots of time on figuring out how to repeat the exact sequence of steps an exploratory tester has taken to discover an issue.
The questions asked by the audience after the presentation were interesting too, for the most part. If you’ve got 30 minutes, view the presentation… and if you like what you see then listen to the Q&A as well!