Agile Testing through Gaming: An Interview with Nate Oster


Nate: At “Concurrent Testing Games: Devs and Testers Working Together,” we're going to play a tabletop simulation of the dysfunctions that occur with testing, even on agile teams. It turns out that when we treat testing as a verification process and depend on testers to test out the bugs, it creates all kinds of bad incentives that actually reduce our quality and productivity! People are so focused on the false efficiency of their job (developing or testing) that they lose sight of the real goal, which is producing a high-quality product. I'll walk through the agile practice of concurrent testing and share what I think are the persistent issues with testing on agile teams. Then we'll play the simulation again based on what we've learned.

In my experience, people walk out with a deeper appreciation of how bad incentives can sabotage an agile team's best intentions. They also experience how changing the way we collaborate with concurrent testing aligns our incentives to our real goal: frequently delivering high-quality software. By learning the five most common agile testing dysfunctions, attendees can explain the root causes of these behaviors on their own teams and design experiments for improvement.

Participants are also welcome to take the game and slides back to their own teams. Better yet, bring your team members to the session!

An agile player-coach and founder of CodeSquads, Nate Oster helps clients adopt lean and agile methods. Nate builds high-performance teams that adapt to change, embrace a pragmatic philosophy of continuous improvement, measure progress with new features, and deliver high-quality software that delights customers. As a coach, he inspires adopters with hands-on mentoring and simulations that provide a safe learning environment for new ideas. Contact Nate through his LinkedIn profile, here.

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