Diary of an Agile Tester

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Summary:

This fictional diary looks at the experience of an agile QA during a single iteration, sharing some of the scenarios, questions, queries, and successes typically encountered by an agile test team. Some of the issues touched on in this first part include estimations, TDD, exploratory testing, team size, tester-developer ratios, relationships with other team members, and sign-offs.

Wednesday–Day 35–Iteration 9
Started the new iteration today although we're still testing stories and raising defects from Iteration 8. However, in Iteration 9 planning I finally convinced Lindsay, the Iteration manager, to factor defects into the estimates. I've been asking for approximately 15% of the dev pairs time to be assigned to defect fixing for bugs found during the iteration that are urgent and high priority. Now we've had a few iterations we've been able to we put together some metrics for the average number of defects raised in an iteration. From that we extrapolated that 15% of dev time was a reasonable figure. We'll keep monitoring it over the forthcoming iterations and adjust as necessary.

Had an enjoyable afternoon doing some exploratory testing of the new discovery widget. Lots of data to look at so Josh, my fellow tester, joined me and suggested we start off with some blink testing. Never tried this technique before–was surprised when we found two defects straight away. If we had spent an hour thoroughly checking each line I may well have missed them.

Friday–Day 37–Iteration
This mornings 9.15 am 'stand up' is way too long. It really is getting too unwieldy. We're supposed to be sticking to the short, sharp scrum format of three questions but some people in the team feel the need to go into a soliloquy. With nearly 50 people in the team it takes too long at the best of times. One of the technical leads suggested we break off with an optional, separate scrum afterwards for those that wish to share technical issues with the project.

Spent part of the morning trying to get my local environment working after it failed to compile. I'm fairly sure I only updated the code on my machine from the latest working version but I seem to be getting some memory leakage problems. The devs on the team are too busy to give a hand at the moment as they start their new stories today. Which means I'm going to be involved in lots of story huddles. Also the Continuous Integration (CI) build has been red since the final code check in last night. Right now the skull and crossbones flag is sitting on one dev pairs desk as they try to figure out why their check in broke the build. Someone has also bought a singing parrot (which can be switched from a singing to a curse mode!) to leave on the offending devs desk. It helps keep the humour factor high and it does serve a purpose–we certainly know who is working on fixing the broken build.

Afternoon
Mahmesh had a look at my build at the end of the day (the developers finish their core pairing hours at 5pm). Looks as though my machine may need upgrading at some point but for now he made some changes to a system environment variable and kicked the build off again. Feel a bit guilty leaving my machine on overnight but I'll check to see if it's gone through ok in the morning.

Saturday–Day 38–Iteration 9
Morning
Yes it's a Saturday and I'm working overtime for the second time. The release at the end of this iteration will be demo’ed to the client, so we need all the stories tested, passed and then signed off by Patrice the product owner as soon as possible. As we already have a bit of a test backlog from the previous iteration it was 'suggested' that we came in at the weekend. So much for the agile belief in sustainable pace.

Still, my local build went

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