Diary of an Agile Tester

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this morning. At that point a sea shanty could be heard from the middle of the project room–we looked up to the plasma screen hanging on the wall to see the build had gone red. Lindsay went off to the offending dev pair to find out what had broken. Saved by the parrot.

Monday–Day 44–Iteration 9
Morning
Its lunchtime and I've done zero testing so far today. After the morning stand up (when are we going to adopt the conciseness of scrum–it's so long it's driving me nuts) I had to attend two story huddles, one of which was with some of the offshore developers which meant it took twice as long. Helped Gupta the BA with some acceptance criteria for a story they want to play in the next iteration, then had to sort out some environmental issues with our QA machine with Derek the build configuration guy.

Afternoon
We're having a team retrospective. Lindsay wants to know why we are raising so many defects. Forty plus accusatory faces look my way.

'Actually I believe we’re raising far less than we would on a waterfall project as we testing closer to development completion and often. That way the defects we find are not likely to be propagated. TDD also means we get far better code onto our QA boxes.'

'Which is why we have fewer testers than we would on a waterfall project' she retorts. I mentally make a note to save the tester-developer ratio argument for another day. 'You help write the tests upfront yet you're still raising lots of defects on your QA environments.'

Pre-development tests, post-development testing, I seem to be getting the rap both ways.

'Actually', I respond, 'I would consider the automated unit and integration tests as checking rather than testing.' Before I can elaborate further there is uproar in the room particularly from the agile evangelists and TDD aficionados. I've just opened a can of worms. Order is called over the multitude of discussions and an agreement is made to discuss in more detail in a follow up meeting. At the end of the retrospective I feel lucky to get out alive but I'm glad I’ve put a renewed focus on our test strategy, particularly on what I feel are the complimentary practices of TDD and exploratory testing.

Tuesday–Day 45–last day of Iteration 9
Things are quite hectic. We have one eye on planning and preparing for the next iteration but at the same time we are trying to test as many stories as possible for this iteration. Lindsay is particularly concerned about how the velocity will look as none of the stories are counted as complete until they are through test and signed off.

Sign offs is an overhead that I could often do without. Gupta, the BA, with Patrice, our onsite stakeholder and product manager, pick up stories that have passed QA in order to give them a final stamp of approval. They're especially keen to get this done today as we have an external demo to our customers on Thursday. The problem for us is that at this early stage of the project many of the stories are quite technical or involve the resetting of a lot of test data and conditions. This onerous task often falls to the test team. Worse still they often want to use the QA environment during the sign off session which causes a fair few contention issues for us. Not an ideal situation and one I need to raise with Lindsay and my offsite Test manager asap.

Other than my 'contentious' testing versus checking’

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